Even with free agent lefty Cliff Lee secured, the Phillies now seemingly have another tall task ahead of them in figuring out a way to make room on the payroll.
Unloading the salary of Joe Blanton is one avenue the team has reportedly been exploring as he’s set to earn $8.5 million over the next two years. The Phillies are seemingly also aware that they may have to assume some of that salary in order to move him before Opening Day.
It’s still fairly early though and the Phillies are in no rush to find an immediate suitor for Blanton, Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reported on Twitter. While his destination isn’t known, his agent Casey Close told SI.com’s Jon Heyman that he’s not staying in Philly.
As of Tuesday, though, there were several teams with reported interest in the versatile veteran. While initial reports indicated the Red Sox had been talking with the Phillies about a swap, others dismissed the potential deal as unlikely. The Brewers also reportedly have interest, but they would likely need Philly to assume a good amount of his salary.
Outside of the Lee deal and its aftermath, here’s a look at some of the other news around the league on Tuesday:
The Yankees did add another catching option
in free agent backstop Russell Martin
on Tuesday. In Martin, the Yankees get another possibility for behind the plate to compliment touted prospect Jesus Montero
, Francisco Cervelli
and Austin Romine
. Martin, who suffered a broken hip last season, does have to undergo a physical before the deal will become official. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Cardinals have secured Gerald Laird
with a one-year deal, to backup starter Yadier Molina, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Tuesday. Laird, who is regarded as a strong defensive catcher, fits the Cardinals mold for catch-and-throw backstops.
– The Nationals added some more depth to their bench on Tuesday, signing free agent Matt Stairs
to a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite. Stairs, who has served as a pinch hitter over the past few seasons, holds the Major League record with 23 career pinch-hit homers. Stairs will be 43 on Opening Day and could compete for the backup first base job as well as pinch hitting duties, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson.
– After losing out on Lee, the Rangers have reportedly expressed interest in free agent right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted. They would interested in a low-base, incentive type deal, according to Crasnick. Wang didn’t appear in a game in 2010 after undering shoulder surgery in 2009.
– The Pirates officially announced a one-year deal
with veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay on Monday. Overbay, who is expected to compete for the starting first base job, hit 20 home runs in 2010 for the Blue Jays. In addition to some pop, the Bucs also get a first baseman who ranked near the top of the league defensively last season, leading all AL first baseman in double plays (150) and assists (101).
– The Reds made Jay Bruce‘s six-year, $51 million extension official on Tuesday. Bruce will be under contract until 2016, longer than any other current Reds player.
“I’m a young guy, we have a very young nucleus,” Bruce said at Tuesday’s news conference. “Walt has put the pieces together to keep this thing rolling for a long time, and I’m really, really excited about that.”
– Hideki Matsui
will offically be wearing an Athletics uniform next season, the club announced on Tuesday. The move gives the Athletics the right-handed power bat they desired this offseason. Matsui’s one-year deal is reportedly worth $4.25 million, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney. Matsui, 36, batted .274 with 21 homers in Los Angeles last season.
-The Orioles could be heading toward a deal that would add another right-handed arm to their ‘pen as ESPN Boston.com reported Tuesday they are close to signing Kevin Gregg to a two-year deal, worth $12 million. The Red Sox and Nationals are also still in the mix, but Baltimore is at the head of the pack, according to the report. Later in the day, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported on Twitter that the Orioles do not feel any deal is imminent and have a two-year offer, worth between $8-10 million on the table.