Thursday, July 17, 2008

Phillies Acquire Joe Blanton

Just as I made a post about him, the Phillies went out and made a deal to get him. The Phillies have acquired Joe Blanton from the Oakland A's for prospects 2B Adrian Cardenas, LHP Josh Outman, and OF Matthew Spencer.

The biggest concern in acquiring Blanton was that the team might give up too much for a player whose numbers have been up and down in his career and not particularly good this season. But the Phillies seemed to get Blanton at a good price. Cardenas was a top prospect lower in the organization, but being a second baseman with Chase Utley in the majors means you may as well be trade bait. Outman has looked very good this year in AA ball pitching relief, going 4-2 with a 3.22 ERA. He could have been a solution in the search for a second left hander out of the bullpen, but it's unlikely they'd have used him this year. He's looked good, but you have to give something up to get something obviously, and better Outman than Carlos Carrasco. Spencer doesn't seem particularly interesting.

As for Blanton, despite his sub-par statistics he doesn't have much of an injury history and he throws a lot of innings. He was a good guy to acquire as he'll take some of the pressure off the bullpen. Also, he'll be surrounded by a great offense, better fielders, and he'll be in the National League facing mostly players who haven't seen him before. Considering the other available starting pitching options, for this price Blanton was probably the best move they could have made. Hard to say if the acquisition truly elevates the team over the Mets and Marlins, but the entire team has played better in the second half in recent years, so this could be a good foot to start the second half out on. Also, if Brett Myers has magically sorted through his issues in the minors, that would be another boost. If nothing else, Blanton patches up one of the few holes in this team.

Interesting comparison:
Kyle Lohse pre-trade, 2007 - 6-12, 4.48 ERA
Joe Blanton pre-trade, 2008 - 5-12, 4.96 ERA

1 comment:

Brian Raab said...

Blanton's ERA has been up and down, as you mentioned, but he has consistently thrown a lot of innings every year. That means two things. 1) He's been able to stay healthy. And 2) He's done enough to keep his team in the ballgame more often than not. Both bode well for a high-scoring team like the Phillies.

Even if he's bad, he probably won't be as bad as Eaton or Myers, who he'll be replacing. He should be a fine 4th or 5th starter and should make them at least a little better. And it can't hurt that he'll be facing hitters who haven't seen him before and he'll no longer have to deal with the DH. He'll be a slight upgrade at worst, and who knows, maybe he'll surprise us.