Cliff Lee and the Phillies host the Tigers in Clearwater while Kyle Kendrick and the B Team travel to Tampa for a tilt with the Yankees. Meanwhile, a pitching-deprived AL squad reportedly peeked in on the Phillies Saturday.
Beerleaguer: The Toronto Star reported that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos made the short trip from Dunedin to Clearwater to scout right-hander Joe Blanton, who was solid in his second spring tune-up. The Phillies and Blue Jays have been one of baseball's tightest bedfellows over the years when it comes to trades, and Blanton is no stranger to the rumor mill, having reportedly been shopped for the past three winters. The Boston Globe has reported the Phillies may be willing to kick in as much as $2 million of Blanton's remaining $8.5 million contract, suggesting the Phils could use extra money to lure Roy Oswalt back to Philadelphia.
But the Phillies may have more pressing needs, namely an injection of positional youth. We've heard they'd love to figure out a way to reacquire catcher Travis d'Arnaud, a front office favorite who was reluctantly packaged in the Roy Halladay trade. The Blue Jays are deep at catcher, with 26-year-old J.P. Arencibia coming off a year in which he belted 23 homers and knocked in 78 in 486 plate appearances. D'Arnaud, who dominated the Eastern League, is considered their top prospect.
The Jays have depth in other areas, too, including the infield where shortstop Yunel Escobar is another player being pushed by a prospect. Escobar, who may need to be moved to second, had a bounce back season, hitting .290/.369/.413.
I'll toss the name of our own blocked prospect - Freddy Galvis - into this mix just to stoke the flames.
Notes: Expect to see a few Phillies to make their debuts today as the rosters are stretched between Clearwater and Tampa. Outfielder Jiwan James is among the extras available against the Tigers in a game that will air on PHL 17.