Phillies Rumors: Joe Blanton, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley


The Philadelphia Phillies have had an eventful spring to say the least, but not in a good-eventful kind of way.  More like in an ‘everyone and anyone is getting hurt’-eventful kind of way.  Despite reports that lineup staples Ryan Howard and Chase Utley could miss a significant amount of the season due to injury, Danny Knobler of is reporting that the Phillies remain “cautiously optimistic” and “hopeful” regarding the duo.  While they’ve been mentioned in several trade rumors involving potential replacement infielders, Knobler also reported that Philadelphia is currently less inclined to deal starting pitcher Joe Blanton due to a lack of rotation depth.

Lack of rotation depth?  This must sound crazy to someone that sees a rotation containing the big three of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee as well as promising young hurler Vance Worley.  This top three and four can match the Phillies up with the best of them.

However, Knobler tweeted that the Phillies now view Blanton as less expendable because of the options, or lack thereof, beyond him.  Sure, Philadelphia has the recently extended Kyle Kendrick.  But they were also counting on something from Joel Pineiro, even if it was only as an insurance policy.  Pineiro was another spring injury casualty who was eventually cut, leaving the Phillies feeling thin in the rotation depth department.

This will impact the way the club pursues infield replacements.  Entering the spring, several members of the media had Blanton pegged as likely to be traded by Opening Day.  Before concerns arose regarding the rotation depth and with the injuries to Utley, Placido Polanco and Michael Martinez, Blanton would have seemed a solid chip for acquiring a versatile infielder.

This could still happen, as the Los Angeles Angels have been tied to Blanton-like starters this offseason and have Maicer Izturis or Alberto Callaspo.  However, based on Knobler’s comments, it seems less likely that the Phils will make such a trade involving Blanton this spring.

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