According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated.com, the Red Sox have “a deal in place” with Philadelphia to acquire RHP Joe Blanton.
A source told the Globe just now, however, that the Red Sox have not completed any deal and only discussed the idea.
The Phillies immediately started looking to deal Blanton last night after signing Cliff Lee.
Blanton has two years and $17 million remaining on his contract and had a 4.96 ERA when he pitched for Oakland in 2008.
It’s uncertain at this point whether the Red Sox actually want Blanton or were just talking about possibilities. But as of right now, they have not made a trade for him.
More on this as it becomes available.
UPDATE, 8:50 a.m.: Yes, the Red Sox have five starters so it’s uncertain why they would try and obtain Blanton. He and Daisuke Matsuzaka are fairly similar. Blanton is more durable and walks fewer batters. But he would not represent a significant upgrade, particularly making the transition to the AL East.
Matsuzaka has a full no-trade clause in his deal and $20 million remaining in his contract.
UPDATE, 9:13 a.m.: It is conceivable that the Red Sox could have tried to help Philadelphia sign Lee (keeping him away from the Yankees and the Rangers) by taking Blanton off their hands.
But according to our sources, there is no deal as of right now and one was never in place.
More on this as the story develops.
UPDATE, 9:38 a.m.: Joe Blanton was 6-1 with a 3.48 ERA over 95.2 innings after the All-Star break last season. He allowed 103 hits, walked 25 and struck out 83 in that stretch.
His one start in the NLCS (4.2 IP, 3 ER) was nothing special.
The Bill James Handbook projects Blanton for a 4.22 ERA next season. It’s also worth noting that new Sox pitching coach Curt Young worked with Blanton when both were in Oakland.
Then again he had a 4.96 ERA in Oakland in 2008 before he was traded to Philadelphia.
Blanton vs. AL teams last season: 7.64 ERA, 1.698 WHIP. Hitters were .342/.375/.592 against him. Granted, it was only 17.2 innings, but that is is not a good sign.
Again, no deal is in place. We’ll keep you posted if anything changes.