With the trade deadline set for 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the Orioles appear to be narrowing in on Phillies starting pitcher Joe Blanton.
Multiple reports say Baltimore is on the verge of acquiring the 31-year-old starter if the sides can come to an agreement on the amount of money the Orioles would have to pick up. Blanton is owed approximately $3 million of his $8.5 million salary for the 2012 season. Signed to a three-year, $24 million contract prior to the 2010 season, he is set to become a free agent after the season.
Enduring a miserable season after high expectations, the Phillies are looking to dump salary after awarding starting pitcher Cole Hamels a $144 contract extension last week.
Blanton is 8-9 with a 4.59 earned run average in 20 starts and one relief appearance this season. He has allowed 22 home runs, which is tied for first in the National League.
Over his nine-year career, Blaton has an 81-71 mark with a 4.35 ERA in 218 career starts.
A Philadelphia Inquirer report said the Phillies are seeking to acquire infield prospect Jonathan Schoop, but it would seem farfetched that the 20-year-old would be on the table for a back-of-the-rotation starter with an expiring contract. Schoop was the 2011 Brooks Robinson Player of the Year, an award bestowed upon the organization’s top positional player in the minor leagues.
The Orioles are looking to improve their starting rotation, but they are unwilling to part with top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy and top infield prospect Manny Machado. Young pitchers Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz have drawn some interest from opposing clubs, but their struggles have hurt their overall value, meaning the Orioles would likely be selling low on either pitcher.