Joe Blanton is dangerously close to going into the new year without a new team, but it appears his market is heating up.
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Blanton Drawing Interest from Multiple Teams
Tuesday, Dec. 27
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported teams are expressing increased interest in Blanton with most elite relievers signed. He points to a return to the Los Angeles Dodgers as a possibility.
The 36-year-old converted starter posted a 2.48 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 75 appearances last season in Los Angeles. He struck out a batter per inning while converting 28 holds as a setup man for Kenley Jansen.
The Dodgers already reportedly re-signed longtime closer Jansen earlier this offseason, per Jim Bowden of ESPN and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Bringing back Blanton would solidify a back half that helped lead Los Angeles to within two games of a World Series berth.
The move to the pen, which began in 2015, gave Blanton a new lease on a career that appeared to be nearing an end. He retired from baseball in 2014 after failing to make the Oakland Athletics roster and following a four-year stretch of futility as a starter.
"I had my time starting. Now it's kind of my second career and I've really enjoyed it," Blanton said in August, per Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com. "I'm proud of what I did [starting]. A lot of people had better careers and a lot of people had worse careers. But I'm proud of what I did, I did it for a long time. I'm happy with where I'm at right now."
Blanton shouldn't have any trouble finding a market for his services, even if he doesn't return to Los Angeles. His underlying numbers were generally pretty solid, though he did have times where he struggled with command. If his walk rate returns to his career average, Blanton should enjoy as much if not more success in 2017 as an eighth-inning option.