Following the Phillies' five-year deal with Cliff Lee, rumors started swirling early Tuesday morning that Philadelphia was set to ship pitcher Joe Blanton and the $17 million owed to him over the next two years to the Boston Red Sox. But nearly as quickly as Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal tweeted that news, a handful of reporters shot down the report, beginning with WEEI's Rob Bradford.
Now CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam has quoted a source who said of the Blanton rumors that they "Don't know where this is coming from.'' The Herald's Scott Lauber has added that sources from both the Phillies and Red Sox say the talk "never was serious."
And for the complete reversal, Rosenthal is now saying that "Some with Phillies want to keep Blanton."
Some with #Phillies want to keep Blanton. 2 yrs left. Safety valve in event of injury or Oswalt exit after '11. Payroll the issue. #MLB
That seemingly was always the case, that the Phillies would be making the move to dump Blanton's salary. So why Boston? They already have Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Josh Beckett set in their rotation. Too much pitching is never a bad thing, of course, and injuries are always a concern, but $8.5 million is an expensive insurance option (especially if you try to stick Blanton in the bullpen).
Of course, there's the fun theory that the Red Sox would do the Phillies a favor by taking Blanton's salary as a thank you for signing Cliff Lee, and keeping him from the Texas Rangers and more importantly, the New York Yankees.
For now though, all the Blanton-to-Red Sox talk seems like just that: talk.