Results tagged ‘ Joe Blanton ’

Angels lose Jason Vargas to Royals …

The Angels’ hopes of resigning free-agent starting pitcher Jason Vargas were squashed on Thursday, when the Royals announced they have signed the veteran left-hander to a four-year contract.

The average annual value of Vargas’ new deal, a reported $32 million, is $8 million. The Angels were willing to give him that much, but they weren’t willing to go four years (it would’ve been hard for them to even give him a third year).

And so, the Angels still have at least two holes to fill in their rotation.

Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards are returning, Tommy Hanson is likely to get non-tendered in December and Joe Blanton — if not released this offseason — will not go into the season as a guaranteed member of the rotation. General manager Jerry Dipoto did not tender the $14.1 million qualifying offer to Vargas because he was almost certain Vargas would accept it, and by accepting it the Angels would already be dangerously close to the luxury tax threshold of $189 million.

Vargas was acquired in a one-for-one deal with the Mariners that sent Kendrys Morales to Seattle last December. In his first year in Southern California, where he grew up and briefly attended Long Beach State University, Vargas went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 150 innings in a season that saw him miss two months with a blood clot.

The Angels are expected to use the trade market to bolster a rotation that ranked 11th in the American League in ERA last season, but they may also turn to other free agents to fill Vargas’ void. And while they aren’t expected to go after the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, Ricky Nolasco or Ervin Santana, names like Phil Hughes, Dan Haren, Bronson Arroyo, etc., etc., could be enticing.

Alden Gonzalez

Angels positioning themselves for big move?

UPDATE, 11:24 AM PT: Josh Hamilton is headed to the Angels, a source told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan. According to ESPNDallas.com, Hamilton signed a five-year deal.

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It seemed like the Angels were mostly done for the offseason, after acquiring two starting pitchers (Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton) and two back-end relievers (Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett) to push their payroll to about $140 million.

But maybe that has changed.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wrote via Twitter on Thursday that the Angels are “positioning themselves for a big strike in the market,” speculating that high-priced free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton could be the target. Joe McDonnell of FOXSportsWest.com attributed a Major League source in tweeting that the Angels are in serious negotiations with Hamilton.

On Wednesday, when the four new pitchers were introduced at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said: “I don’t feel like anything else is imminent, I don’t feel like anything else is pressing and I don’t think anything else is required.” And a source told MLB.com that if the Angels do make another signing, it’d probably be in January if the market dries up on a starting pitcher, prompting him to take much lower than expected.

But has owner Arte Moreno suddenly decided to stretch out the budget once more, like he did last offseason to acquire Albert Pujols? And is it a reaction to the big-ticket moves made by the Dodgers, as Olney speculated?

Perhaps.

– Alden Gonzalez

Dipoto satisfied with pitching staff after Meetings

Since they’re both pending physicals, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto couldn’t speak very candidly on the agreed-upon two-year deals for starter Joe Blanton and reliever Sean Burnett.

But speaking from the lobby of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel on Thursday morning, minutes after the Rule 5 Draft and just as he boarded a flight back to Southern California, the second-year GM sounded like a man who’s satisfied with the pitching depth and isn’t looking to make any other significant free-agent signings.

“Sometimes,” Dipoto said, “the smartest moves you can do is just make practical decisions.”

The likes of Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster, Edwin Jackson and Brandon McCarthy will probably sign elsewhere now. Dipoto wouldn’t flatly say that they’re out on Zack Greinke, who’s expected to command a $150 million contract, but of course they are. “We’re prepared to,” he said. “You have to make smart decisions.”

In fact, if the Angels do make any other addition to their Major League roster, it would probably be to one more low-tier free agent — probably a reliever, but perhaps another starter.

Dipoto talked all offseason about building “one-through-12 pitching depth.” With Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hanson, Blanton, Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams as starters, and Ryan Madson, Burnett, Ernesto Frieri, Kevin Jepsen and Scott Downs as relievers, he feels he has “11 men in place on our Major League pitching staff, and every one of the 11 guys, when they take the field, is a competitive Major League pitcher and the innings are going to grow.”

Asked if he’d be satisfied if this were the same pitching staff that arrives in Tempe, Ariz., this spring, Dipoto said, “Oh yeah.”

The Angels’ payroll was never expected to be at $159 million like it was last season. The most likely scenario was that it would be somewhere between $140 and $145 million. Right now, it’s at roughly $140 million — and it may not go much higher than that.

“We’ve made a handful of decisions that we think are best for the club,” Dipoto added. “I can tell you there’s not another move coming today; I can’t tell you that there won’t be an addition to the club at some point. You’re always looking to get better. But I think what we did in the last few days is we put ourselves in a position where we’re stable. We’re not going to have to make further additions to be a competitive club.

“Right now, on paper, we have 11 guys that slot into Major League roles, and if the chance exists to better our club in some way, that makes sense for the Angels, we’ll take a look at it. But we have nothing imminent, we have nothing that I think is a certainty – nothing we have to do.”

– Alden Gonzalez

Angels nearing a deal for Joe Blanton

UPDATE: Blanton’s deal is expected to be two years for $15 million, according to a source, with ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick reporting that it includes a third-year club option.

That all but squashes the Angels’ already-faint hopes to land Greinke, who many expect to command at least an average annual value of $25 million on a six-year deal. The likes of Anibal Sanchez, Kyle Lohse, Ryan Dempster and Shaun Marcum also don’t seem to be options, with the Angels’ payroll expected to be at least $10 to $15 million less than the $159 million they ended last season with.

But that’s still unclear, because the club hasn’t publicly commented on its 2013 payroll projections.

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Shortly after agreeing to terms on a two-year contract for lefty reliever Sean Burnett, the Angels were on the verge of signing free-agent starting pitcher Joe Blanton, sources confirmed to MLB.com.

Blanton, 31, went 10-13 with a 4.71 ERA in 31 games (30 starts) for the Phillies and Dodgers last season. From 2005-12, the right-hander went 83-75 with a 4.37 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.

How does it affect the Angels’ pursuit of Zack Greinke or others, like Anibal Sanchez, Edwin Jackson and Joe Saunders? Still unclear, but a source said Blanton is only “a piece” for the rotation and not necessarily the final piece.

– Alden Gonzalez

Padres in need of starting pitching

Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said Monday that the team can’t afford to take a flyer on a health-risk in its pursuit of landing two starting pitchers to bolster the rotation for 2013.

The Padres have few glaring holes to attend to this winter, though the rotation is a big one the team will seek to address before the start of Spring Training.

The Padres had only two starters — Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez — make 16 or more starts in 2012, as the rotation was ravaged by injuries to several key pitchers. Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland each had Tommy John surgery last season and won’t return until mid-2013 at the earliest.

So the Padres singular focus is starting pitching and are open to trades or free agency to tend to this need. Byrnes said Monday the team has had more talks on the trade front.

“We have focused most of our energy on starting pitching … with more of our energy on trades than free agency,” Byrnes said. “Now we have to bide our time and find the ones who fit.”

The Padres are looking for innings-eaters and pitchers like Joe Blanton and Shaun Marcum could be at or near the top of their wish list.

– Corey Brock

July 28 Late Night Roundup

  • The A’s will send right-handed reliever Fautino De Los Santos to the Brewers in exchange for catcher George Kottaras, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Kottaras was designated for assignment on Thursday, but no trade has officially be announced.
  • Zack Greinke is off the board, and the Braves might not be able to close a deal for Ryan Dempster either. That has led Atlanta to search elsewhere for starting pitching help while also taking a look at the market for relievers, reported our own Mark Bowman.
  • The Cardinals are looking to upgrade their starting pitching, according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. Francisco Liriano was one option, but the White Sox nabbed him on Saturday night. That could lead St. Louis to focus more heavily on the Rays’ James Shields, who is attracting interest from several clubs.
  • The race for Padres third baseman Chase Headley is hotly contested but apparently no longer includes the A’s, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • Should the struggling Phillies decide to sell, Shane Victorino could be at the front of the line heading out of Philadelphia. Talks regarding the veteran center fielder are “getting warm,” according to CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Outfielders Juan Pierre and Hunter Pence and starting pitcher Joe Blanton also could be trade bait.

– Andrew Simon

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