After agreeing to deals with first baseman Adam Lind and catcher Matt Wieters just a week ago, the Washington Nationals have now made yet another February signing. According to Jorge Castillo, the Nationals have signed former Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton.
The Nationals have signed Joe Blanton to a one-year deal, per source. He's in town today, presumably for his physical.
Washington Nationals Sign Joe Blanton
Blanton comes to the nation’s capital on a one year deal worth approximately four million, with the potential to reach as high as five million a year.
Blanton's deal: $4M plus incentives that max out at $1M for 70 IP. So if healthy, he'll probably cost $5M.
This deal gives the Nationals a new face in their bullpen.
With closer Mark Melancon, lefty Marc Rzepczynski, and long relievers Matt Belisle and Yusmeiro Petit leaving via free agency, the Nationals have been left without some key members of their 2016 bullpen. While not a big name, Blanton is a very good get for the Nationals.
Last year, the righty Blanton appeared in 75 games; he made the most of those appearances. Blanton pitched 80 innings, recording a 2.48 ERA and also struck out 80 batters; however, Blanton struggled in the postseason.
In eight innings pitched, Blanton surrendered eight runs posting an ERA of 7.88 with a WHIP of 1.38. Blanton struggles in the postseason were hard to figure out, but his role with the Nationals in 2017 is clear as daylight.
Despite the postseason struggles, Blanton will fit right in with the Nationals. In addition to serving as a long reliever, Blanton has also served as a starter. From 2005-2013, Blanton was used as a starter. While his numbers weren’t great, he held his own in the spot. Considering the Nationals rotation question marks in regards to health, Blanton could easily step in and start if injuries do present themselves.
Also, while unlikely, the Nationals could attempt to use Blanton as their closer.
Currently, the Nationals appear set at closer with righties Shawn Kelley and Blake Treinen, but neither have been a closer before. Joe Blanton doesn’t have any experience in the spot either, but being that he’s pitched in this league for over 10 years, he could be worthy of a chance to assume the role.
Blanton’s arrival gives the Nationals a long relief option, but also a rotation option if injuries do present themselves. The one year salary may be high, but considering his proven track record and versatility, Blanton is a very good signing for the Nationals.