Joe Blanton's lofty request for $10.25 million in arbitration could prove to be completely inconsequential.
Blanton's agent, Jeff Barry, said today he has had talks with the Phillies regarding a multi-year extension for Blanton. The right-handed pitcher is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2010 season.
"They're progressing and we'll see where it takes us," Barry said.
Barry said he was hopeful something can be worked out before the two sides before a potential arbitration hearing in February. When asked about Blanton's salary request of $10.25 million, which would set an arbitration record should Blanton win his case, Barry said it was designed to "seek the player's value."
The two sides discussed a possible extension even before salary figures were exchanged on Tuesday, Barry said. Other reports indicate the Phillies are seeking similar extensions for their two other arbitration-eligible players, outfielder Shane Victorino and catcher Carlos Ruiz. But unlike Blanton, both Victorino and Ruiz are under the Phillies' control through 2011. (Ruiz will not be a free agent until 2013.)
If the Phillies were to sign Blanton to a multi-year deal, the figures could resemble recent deals given out on the open market to similar pitchers like Jason Marquis (two years, $15 million) and Joel Pineiro (two years, $16 million). Or it could be more.
The Phillies countered Blanton's arbitration request with their own offer of $7.5 million. Blanton, 29, was 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA for the Phillies in 2009.
"Joe loves Philadelphia," Barry said. "His wife loves Philadelphia. They love the winning they've had there the last couple of years. There is definitely mutual interest on both sides. We'll see where it takes us."