Noms (Photo courtesy St. Pete Beach Photo)
Spring Training is not only a time to gauge player performances for the upcoming season, but also a time to recklessly speculate about potential trades. Today, the rumor mill churned with the possibility that Joe Blanton will be handed off to the Toronto Blue Jays. Phillies beat writer David Murphy mentioned that Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthropoulos visited Bright House Field in Clearwater to observe Blanton’s outing against the Orioles on Saturday.
Some may argue that by releasing Big Joe into the Canadian wilderness, the Phillies are compromising pitching depth. Others will hopefully rationalize that this trade may be part of a plan to strengthen offense and acquire Travis Snider, a 24-year-old outfielder who was once a highly-ranked prospect, but has had little Major League success in four season with the Blue Jays. That last bit was reported by the Toronto Sun on Sunday:
Anthopoulos wasn’t MIA (Missing In Action), but MFC (Missing From Camp) Sunday as the Jays hosted the Braves, one day after he drove six miles south to see Joe Blanton pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro has told executives from other teams he would pay $2 million on Blanton’s $8.5-million contract for this season.
And the Phillies like Travis Snider and have a need in left field.
Regardless of plausible outcomes, the popular debate of what weighs heavier, defense or offense, will play a large role in projecting where priorities lie in the Phillies 2012 season. Further still is the concern of who would be an effective number five in the event of Blanton’s departure. In the midst of speculation, it is unlikely that any big moves will be made right now.
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