The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim signed starting pitcher Joe Blanton to a two-year 15-million dollar contract. The Angels seem to be out of the running to retain the services of Zach Grenke, so Blanton will fill a role towards the bottom of the rotation. Blanton was 10-13 with a 4.71 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 191 innings pitched last season for the Philadelphia Phillies (21 appearances, 20 starts) and Los Angeles Dodgers (10 starts). Blanton was drawing interest from other teams as well including the Minnesota Twins.
The Angels have a strong rotation with hurlers Jared Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Tommy Hanson, so Blanton should be slotted in the fourth spot in the rotation. The Angels decided to part ways with Dan Haren (now with the Washington Nationals), so Blanton comes at a discount to what Haren was scheduled to earn. Many feel the Angels aren’t done looking for pitching, but Blanton certainly fits a need within the organization. Look for the Halos to be in the market for relief pitching as well. Before losing Haren to free agency, the Angels worked out a deal with the Chicago Cubs for closer Carlos Marmol. Don’t be surprised if the Angels still try to acquire Mamol’s services.
With the MLB Winter Meetings still happening in Nashville, expect other dominoes to begin to fall. There’s still several other free agent pitchers on the market, so teams will continue looking to acquire valuable pitching. While Blanton isn’t a front-line starter, he fits a need for the Angels.