With the best free agent relief pitchers off the board by now, Joe Blanton is probably the best bullpen arm remaining on the market. Looking for a team on the Western side of the map, it looks like Blanton will eventually get his wish, with the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks showing some interest.
The 36-year old who lives in Napa Valley during the offseason played for the Dodgers in 2016, posting a 2.48 ERA. It was his second consecutive season of a sub 3.00 ERA, with his career suddenly resurrected in 2015 after missing all of 2014 and doing worse and worse as a starter, finally bottoming out in 2013. In his last two seasons, playing for the Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Dodgers, Blanton has a 2.65 ERA through 156 innings, posting a 1.064 WHIP and striking out 9.2 batters per nine innings, 3.72 per each one he walked.
After making $4 million last season on the Dodgers, Blanton is looking for a multiyear deal, despite his age, and he’ll probably get one. He didn’t look like age affected him as he made the transition into less innings, something that seems to suit him at the last stretch of his career. He won’t be getting anything near the sums Aroldis Chapman and the rest of the elite relievers got, but Blanton seems to be in a good position, with his talent in high demand.
Blanton probably will go for someone who offers him two years or more, but he prefers staying on the West Coast, where he’s also played for the Angels and Raiders. The Dodgers, Giants and Mariners look like the best options for him and most interested sides. Both the Rockies and the Diamondbacks need help in their bullpen and have also shown interest, but it’ll be a surprise if he ends up playing for one of these two teams.
Blanton probably hopes that teams don’t take his performance against the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs too seriously. In 3 innings of work through 3 games, he posted a 21.00 ERA, giving up 3 home runs and 7 runs altogether.