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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On the Beat: Blanton Likely to Fill Fifth Rotation Spot

PBR - It seems that the chances of the Phillies trading Joe Blanton before the 2011 season keep getting smaller and smaller.

Following the Cliff Lee acquisition in December, there was much speculation that the Phillies would clear salary space as a result of the now extremely high payroll. Right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton, who is projected to receive $17 million this year in the would-be fifth starter's spot, was the most likely player to be traded.

The Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers, Nationals, and Brewers were all supposed interested bidders, however, all five teams have signed other pitchers this offseason. Meanwhile, the Phillies effort to find a reasonable fifth starter for a more affordable price has been ineffective.

Blanton, 30, went 9-6 with an ERA of 4.82 and 134 strikeouts in 28 games started last year. Although his contract is a little pricey, having him on the team will not seem like such a bad thing if any one of the Phillies' first four starters gets injured this season.

Right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley would likely compete for the fifth rotation spot if the Phils somehow manage to deal Blanton.

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