Blanton, A's Avoid Arbitration

The Oakland A's narrowed their arbitration list down to one on Friday by reaching a one-year agreement with right-hander Joe Blanton. Only right-hander Chad Gaudin remains on the A's arbitration list.

Joe Blanton, who will almost certainly be the Oakland A's Opening Day starter if he isn't traded before the start of the season, came to terms with the A's on a one-year contract on Friday. Blanton was eligible for arbitration before reaching the agreement. The deal is worth a reported $3.7 million.

The right-hander won 14 games and posted a 3.95 ERA for the A's in 2007. He has won at least 10 games in each of his three full seasons with the A's and has thrown at least 190 innings.

Last season, Blanton finished second in the AL in innings pitched (230) and was third in complete games (three). He also had one shutout and was the AL leader in games started. In his career, Blanton has a 42-34 record and a 4.10 ERA in 102 games (98 starts). He was a first-round pick of Oakland in 2002 out of Kentucky.

Blanton has been the subject of rampant trade speculation this off-season, as the A's have gone into a rebuilding mode. However, the A's front office has stated repeatedly that they are unwilling to deal Blanton unless they receive what they think he is worth.

Oakland A's Baseball Operations Analyst Farhan Zaidi said this about Blanton in late-December:

"We like Joe Blanton a lot. There is sort of this perception of him as being sort of an innings-eater type starter. We think he's a lot better than that," Zaidi said.

"We see him as a guy who could be a part of the long-term solution here and there is no desire and certainly no urgency to move him. ... [W]e view Blanton as much more than an innings-eater and if other clubs out there just view him as an innings-eater, there won't be a trade to be made."

Right-hander Chad Gaudin is now the lone player left on the A's arbitration list.

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