During his weekly Rumblings and Grumblings column, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported that a source has told him the Philadelphia Phillies could look to trade starting pitcher Joe Blanton this spring. The Phillies are reportedly looking to get under the luxury tax threshold and they could do so by shedding Blanton’s salary.
Philadelphia’s projected payroll for Opening Day 2012 is roughly $180 million. This would put them $2 million away from the $178 million luxury tax threshold. Rather than pay the tax, Stark believes Philadelphia could trade a player making $2 million or more.
According to an unnamed National League executive, the most likely Phillie to be moved this spring is Joe Blanton. This exec believes that, if Blanton proves healthy and the Phillies are comfortable with their other starting pitching options, Philadelphia could unload the right-hander.
The Phillies already figures to be without veteran starter Roy Oswalt next year, and trading Blanton would leave two holes in their starting five. Vance Worley made a strong impression last season (3.01 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 131 2/3 IP), and is likely to claim one rotation spot.
The other could go to young right-hander Kyle Kendrick, who was also solid in 2011. Though he’s struggled to sustain a rotation spot in the past, Kendrick maintained an ERA of 3.14 to go with a 1.16 WHIP over his 83 innings pitched as a starter last season.
Beyond Worley and Kendrick, the Phillies also signed veteran pitchers Dave Bush and Joel Pinero this offseason.
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