After Cliff Lee sent shockwaves through the baseball world by signing with the Phillies, the next question is fairly obvious: How will Philadelphia create the financial flexibility to actually carry Lee's new five-year, $120 million deal (which also has a vesting option for a sixth year that could bring the contract's total worth to around $147 million).
They might have their answer.
According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies are talking with the Boston about righty Joe Blanton, theoretically Philadelphia's fifth starter
The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham also reported that the two clubs are in talks, though no deal has bee reached.
It makes sense from the Phillies' perspective. Now boasting the deepest rotation in baseball (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels), they can afford to trade from strength. Blanton is owed $17 million over the next two years, which is a bit hefty for a fifth starter.
It's less clear what Boston stands to gain from the deal. With Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka in place, the rotation seems pretty crowded. Boston's also committed north of $300 million this offseason in the mega-acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
But it's certainly conceivable Boston could turn around and shop Dice-K, who has two years left on his deal at around $20 million, which could both free up a rotation spot and the dollars to make a Blanton deal feasible. Whether anyone bites on that contract, given his injury history and general mediocrity over the last two years, is another story.