TEMPE, Ariz. — Angels fans won’t have Joe Blanton to kick around anymore. The Angels released the struggling right-hander Wednesday, eating the $8.5 million remaining on his contract.
The Angels signed Blanton, 33, to a two-year, $15-million deal before the 2013 season, thinking he would be a durable and effective innings-eater.
But Blanton went 2-14 with a 6.04 earned-run average and 29 homers allowed and was demoted to the bullpen in late July. Though Blanton rarely pitched over the final two months of the season, he was still the object of endless derision from fans who urged the team to release him.
With Garrett Richards securing a rotation spot behind Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson in the final two months of 2013 and the Angels acquiring young left-handers Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs in a three-team trade for Mark Trumbo, it was clear there was no room for Blanton in the rotation this season.
And with Blanton struggling to find a delivery and a position on the rubber that worked for him this spring, it was clear he would be of no help to the bullpen, even as a long reliever.
The Angels tried to trade Blanton, hoping a pitching-starved team would eat even a fraction of his contract, but having found no takers, they went ahead and released him before the final Cactus League game against Oakland.
A team that signs Blanton would only have to pay him the prorated portion of the major league minimum salary of $500,000.