Angels may have little choice but to bring Joe Blanton back in 2014

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Angels are so desperate for starting pitching depth that they probably will bring struggling right-hander Joe Blanton, who is 2-14 with a 6.04 earned-run average and was banished to the bullpen in late July, to spring training next season.

“Obviously, he did not have a good year, but he’s on our roster, he’s had success at the major league level, and I’m not going to kick that to the curb,” General Manager Jerry Dipoto said before Thursday night’s game against the Texas Rangers.

“He had a rough year, but we’re not deep enough on the pitching mound to not consider every option. He has been a good major league pitcher before. There are no promises. He’s not in our rotation now. We’ll have to make a determination.”

Blanton had an 83-75 career record and 4.37 ERA in eight big league seasons when he signed a two-year, $15-million deal last December, but he had a career-worst season for the Angels, giving up 29 home runs and 180 hits in 132 2/3 innings. He has pitched only once since Aug. 20.

But with only three locks for the 2014 rotation—Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards—and Jerome Williams, Matt Shoemaker and possibly Tommy Hanson competing for spots, the Angels can’t really afford to release Blanton until they add more pitching depth, most likely by trade.

“We’re a long way from spring training, and there’s a lot that can happen between now and then,” Dipoto said. “Right now, Jason Vargas is a free agent. We have Weaver, Wilson and Richards. We have Jerome, Hanson, Blanton and Shoemaker.

“It’s September of 2013. If I’m planning for 2014, and I don’t know what’s coming next, whether there are trades or free agents or any type of acquisitions, seven starting pitchers is not a lot.”


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