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At first glance, you may wonder what appeal Joe Blanton or Raul Ibanez could have to other teams, but ultimately, there is value to be had for these players. Assuming that the Phillies would be willing to "eat" (or pay) a portion of their salaries, it is not far fetched to believe that they could find a landing spot for both men.
Blanton, 29, would be the easier of the two to move. In an off-season where starting pitching is hard to come by, it isn't impossible to imagine teams with interest in the big right hander. Any team looking to add a middle of the rotation arm would be willing to acquire him. The toughest selling point for Blanton is his contract. On January 21, 2010, Blanton signed a 3 year, $24 million extension with the Phillies. Though the contract appears to pay him $8 million a year, it is structured a bit differently. He received $1 million in 2010, and a $6 million signing bonus, meaning that he'll be owed $8.5 million over each of the next two seasons.
A contract that currently exists as 2 years and $17 million is not unbearable, but the Phillies won't find any legitimate offers unless they pay some of his salary. If the Phillies were to eat about $7 million dollars, and were willing to accept fringe prospects in return, 2 years and $10 million is close to a bargain for Blanton. Teams would be willing to deal for Blanton because there are no surprises. You know what you'll be getting. Blanton will throw right around 200 innings and have a FIP right around 4.30. He may not be the top of the rotation arm that he once was projected as, but any team craving starting pitching, like the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, or Minnesota Twins, for instance, could be a fit for Blanton, and the Phillies (assuming a previous scenario could play out), would be happy to save $10 million.
Ibanez, on the other hand, wouldn't be an easy sell.
Ibanez is no spring chicken. He'll be 38 when the season begins. However, those close to Ibanez says that age isn't a factor with him - but in reality, we all know it is. He isn't going to turn any heads with his defense, but he is an average defender out in left field. Unlike Blanton, however, it seems like the planets will need to align for the Phillies to be able to strike a deal.
Firstly, Ibanez was given a full no-trade clause when he signed his 3 year, $31.5 million deal with the Phillies in 2008. The only thing that will interest another team about that deal is that it's almost over. Ibanez will be paid $11.5 million in 2011, and the Phillies will need to eat at least half of that to get another team to bite. The Phillies should be able to sell a team on Ibanez's splits against right handers. Though his average is about the same against both right handed and left handed pitching, most of his power is generated against the former. In 2010, he hit .277 with 12 home runs against right handed pitching.
The most likely landing spot for Ibanez would appear to be in the American League, where a team that acquires him can put him in the outfield some days, and let him DH others. At first glance, the Oakland Athletics seem like a good fit. Recently losing out on the Lance Berkman sweepstakes and withdrawing their offer to free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre, Ibanez is hardly even a consolation prize, but teams could be interested in adding offense at whatever cost. Other likely destinations include Ibanez's former team, the Seattle Mariners, the Baltimore Orioles, and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Phillies appear to be stuck with Ibanez, however, as it is unlikely that he'd be willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to any of those places. The guarantee of a contract extension with said team may help, but that's even more unlikely than the planet's aligning.
The Phillies very likely will open up the 2011 campaign with both Joe Blanton and Raul Ibanez, but if they can save that money and distribute it elsewhere, they will. Sometimes, the Winter Meetings include addition by subtraction.