Last offseason, with the Angels looking to supplement their rotation behind C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver, they signed Joe Blanton to a two year, $15 Million contract. Blanton was no one’s idea of an ace, or even a top of the rotation pitcher, but he seemed like someone that could solidify the back end of the rotation. While it seemed as though the Angels may have overpaid for a pitcher that had produced a 10-13 record with a 4.71 ERA in 2012, Blanton was still expected to be a solid piece for the rotation.
Instead, last season was a disaster. Blanton was shelled virtually all season, eventually losing his spot in the rotation after a July 22nd start that saw him give up four earned runs in 3.2 innings, an outing that Blanton needed 90 pitches to get through. At that point, he was 2-13 with a 5.66 ERA. Finding himself banished to the bullpen, Blanton was even worse. In his eight ‘relief’ outings, Blanton produced a 8.64 ERA, giving up 17 runs in his final 10.2 innings of work. After giving up three runs in an inning on August 20th, Blanton made one other appearance for the rest of the season.
Now, with the Angels revamped pitching staff, Joe Blanton may find himself in the same position that Vernon Wells found himself in last year – an expensive player that the Angels just do not have room for. They acquired Tyler Skaggs and Hector Santiago in trades, seemingly filling out the rest of the rotation.
What, then, does the future hold for Blanton? Even if he pitches well in Spring Training, it may take an injury to one of the other starters for Blanton to break camp in the Angels rotation. It may be that, like Wells, the Angels pay some team to take Blanton off their hands, covering the majority of his salary just to be rid of a player that no longer fits their plans.
A year ago, Joe Blanton was someone that was expected to help solidify the Angels starting rotation. Now, he may not have a role with the team coming out of Spring Training.