Analysis: Blanton Not The Right Guy

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Fri, July 18, 2008 08:23 AM | Comments: 79

Throughout the day it seemed evident the Phillies were closing in on a trade for Joe Blanton. By the end of the day, I felt it was a matter of days before a deal came down. It came much quicker. Billy Beane traded Blanton to the Phils for infielder Adrian Cardenas, pitcher Josh Outman and outfielder Matt Spencer.When Blanton was brought back into the thick via Jim Salisbury, I said the Phils shouldn’t make the deal for him, no matter what they’d give up. Now that it’s done, I feel even worse.

No, I don’t like this deal.

First off, the prospects. Cardenas, a 20-year-old middle infielder, was hitting .310/.375/.447 for A+ Clearwater. Baseball America rated him the Phils’ No. 2 prospect. Most of all, besides Lou Marson, he was the only position prospect you could really bet on to make an impact in the Major Leagues.

Outman was mishandled, moved from a starter to a reliever to supposedly slot into a LOOGY role in the Majors. He never made it. This year in Reading, Outman went 5-4 with a 3.20 ERA, 66 strikeouts and 37 walks. A deceptive lefty, he represented something the Phils clearly lacked in the farm system.

Spencer was a low-end prospect who has struggled in A+ this season. His inclusion would’ve been worth it as the No. 2 man in the deal. The Phils gave up too much. Cardenas is potentially a solid starting infielder in the Majors; Outman should find his niche in the back end of some rotations.

Now, if this was a package for Matt Cain, I’d be salivating over it. But Blanton? What has he proven?

In 2007 he had his best year, going 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA and a 106 ERA+. His rookie season was also very strong. But his other two seasons thus far have been poor. In 2006 he had an ERA+ of 92, maybe good enough as a No. 4 starter. And this year he’s been utterly bad, matching Adam Eaton’s ERA+ of 77. He may represent an upgrade over Eaton, but the Phils don’t need just an upgrade over Eaton.

I’ve written the Phils need a pitcher who can go deep into games, dominate most teams and line up against other No. 2 starters in key games. Does Blanton (with his 6 IP, 3 ER starts) do such a thing? No. He’s Kyle Kendrick. He’s Jamie Moyer. He’s just another back piece.

Sure, there’s the hope Blanton grabs hold of National League competition. But in three starts against the NL he has a 10.29 ERA. Throw out his dominant start against the Phils, and he has given up 15 runs in seven innings against the Giants and Diamondbacks, two poor offenses. So that doesn’t bode well.

I’ve heard people point to Blanton’s second-half success. For his career, Blanton has a 4.05 ERA in the second half, including a 4.82 ERA in September and October. And with the A’s, Blanton has pitched in meaningful September and October games. Yeah, this doesn’t bode well either.

This season he’s pitched 83.2 innings at spacious Network Associates Field for an ERA of 4.63. Anything good out there? He has pitched well at U.S. Cellular Field and at Safeco Field. So there’s hope yet.

Joking aside, it’s hard to find a silver lining with Blanton, and it’s especially hard to like this deal when the Phils gave up a top prospect, plus a potentially solid pitcher. Yes, we all know the credo is “win now,” but as I wrote before, a deal like this doesn’t help much. Blanton isn’t much of an upgrade over Eaton, and really, he’s probably as effective as Brett Myers. He’s false hope. He’s a move to make a move. He’s a prayer. And he’s Adrian Cardenas and Josh Outman.

I’ll eat my words if Blanton rips off a string of eight-inning, one-to-two-run efforts. I’ll eat my words if this guy shows up and adds that elusive No. 2 starter to the rotation. But this move has me sliding my spoon back into the drawer.

Avatar of Tim Malcolm

About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Jordan

    couldn’t agree more, well put. it’s a typical more harm than good fluff move by the Phils. Here’s hoping Moyer can get this thing started off right tonight, there are still a lot of games left. Go Phils.

  • Posts: 0 Tom

    its a typical phils being cheap move and not wanting to make that move that would put us over the top…

  • Posts: 0 Runshouse

    Adjusted ERA is such a crappy rationalization.

  • Posts: 0 Rivlez

    They definitely gave up a good amount to get a unproven pitcher. He may be great for the Phillies. I wonder when his first start will be.

  • Posts: 0 Bill

    I disagree that he is another Eaton. No one is that bad! But once again the Phillies went for the wing and a prayer solution. Maybe Joe Blanton will be 10-2 and lead us to the post season. Maybe the pitcher from last year will be back and we will have pulled out a gem. But it is always a maybe with the Phillies. When do WE make the trade for the 17 game winner that is still pitching good? It just is not the Phillies way and it id what drives their fans crazy (and some away).


  • Posts: 0 Tim Malcolm

    Well I’m not saying he’s another Eaton, and Runshouse (that show has sooo jumped the shark), adjusted ERA is a fair statistic to me. ERA is a pretty crappy rationalization, really.

  • Posts: 0 Rob E.

    Tim great post. I dont think he is another Eaton. The reason the phils got him is because of $$$$, He is dirt cheap. The big questions now is do they DFA Eaton? What about Happ. he pitched a 7 inning no hit 12K performance last night. Clearly he has no value in AAA


    What about Happ. he pitched a 7 inning no hit 12K performance last night. Clearly he has no value in AAA, he is ready.

    Also can someone explain the formulation of Adjusted ERA. My work blocked Wikipedia and the majority of baseball sites.

  • Posts: 0 Mike T.

    We improved – relax everybody.

  • Posts: 0 Phil

    Yeah, I’d rather have just used Happ than trade away a huge prospect chip.

  • Posts: 0 TJ

    I find most of you guys flip flopping your opinions more than a politician. Seriously, you are typical Philly sports fans. You want, you want, you want, then your get and your ungrateful. We all wanted a pitcher, Blanton was the lowest risk one available from our reasonable pickings. Lets be honest, after CC was off the table it was clear that we were going to resort to a B list pitcher. Blanton is that B list guy but in the offseason he was an A lister and some teams offered alot for him. Cardenas was blocked in the majors, Outman is a reliever and clearly expendable with our bullpen playing the way it has. Besides, Outman would never be a back end rotation guy here in Philly if we got Blanton without him. Cole, Blanton, Kendrick, Happ, Myers, Cardenas, Maybe Moyer. Where does he fit in? Give Blanton atleast 4 starts to adjust then rip him if he does bad. I can’t defend his ERA but his win loss should’ve been atleast .500. Five times Blanton has given up 2 runs while pitching atleast 6 and taken the loss. All I’m saying is give the guy a shot before you call it a dumb trade. At first I was angry that we gave up Cardenas but as I said he wouldn’t be on the Phils major league squad until atleast 3 years from now, and thats not gonna help us win now. I know, your thinking well we could’ve traded for someone better with Cardenas a the bait, if we could’ve I think we would’ve. I’m giving Blanton a shot to prove himself. Getting him is better than hoping our current rotation can take us to the playoffs and beyond.

  • Posts: 0 freddy gonzalez

    Savery? Drabek? Carrasco? If these guys played for me they would already be contributing. Prospects are worth nothing to you beacause you wait until they are 29 to bring them up.

  • Posts: 0 TJ

    Freddy, your right. We do wait to long to bring us prospects. What is your point?

  • Posts: 0 Phil

    Drabek is hurt, Savery was hurt and just got done a surgery. TJ I believe? Carrasco is pitching mediocre in AA. He has some things to work out. I also would favor Marson coming up at the same time as Carrasco since he calls his games already.

  • Posts: 0 Adam Eaton

    Where’s this guy gonna play? I mean, with Brett coming back, and me straightening out my mechanics, there’s no room for him.

    Hey, I’d love to chat more, but it’s Friday, so I have to go and pick up my huge paycheck. See you later, fans!

  • Posts: 0 Phil

    Blanton really does have good mechanics and stuff. That is why he was so talked about during the winter, and why everyone was in hot pursuit against him in the beginning of the season. The fact he was having a bad year made his price tag cheaper. I really hope he just needed a change of scenery. He keeps the ball in the park too, so I’m not too concerned with him switching parks. Lydle, Moyer, and Loshe were all huge for us down the stretch, and honestly, out of the 4 Blanton is the best one we’ve gotten. We did give up too much for him, but hopefully the guy can come pitch well for a team that is contending.

  • Posts: 0 scot

    If you asked me if I’d take Blanton or Burnett, I’d take Blanton in a heartbeat. Especially looking at what the Jays were reportedly asking for for Burnett (Carrasco or Marson).

    This move does improve our rotation. We weren’t gonna get Harden, CC, or even Cain or Burnett without giving up a Carassco or Marson. We improved ourselves by dealing a few pieces that were never gonna see the majors for us anyway.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    TJ hit the nail on the head… Basically, does Blanton improve the rotation.. YES.

    Cardenas was projected all over the place as a RF.. if that’s the care, why is he still playing 2b in the minors.. He isn’t going to take the place of Utley or Howard, who are both MVPs… which I’m willing to bet Card will never be.

    Outman was high on everyone’s list… but if he was going to be an impact guy, he probably would have already been called up over guys like Swindle or whatever his name was…

    I dont know the first thing about the OF they gave up..

    Blanton is an innings eater and an improvement to the rotation.. considering what they would have had to give up to get AJ BURNETT.. this looks like a good deal to me! So far Gillick has been right on the money with his in-season pitching additions, so unless Blanton blows up, this is another good move in my opinion.

  • Posts: 0 Mike T.

    Don M and I have officially agreed on something.

  • Posts: 0 Chris C.

    “He’s a move to make a move.” Could not say it any better than that. However, you cannot fully judge this trade until after all moves are made. IF they can tighten up an already impressive bullpen, IF they get another pitcher or Myers comes back strong, and IF the offense starts clicking, then this will work out great. However, there is a much more likely scenario where nothing else is done and the Phillies remain a perennial good, but not great team. As always, time will be the ultimate judge but as long as Eaton does not go out and give up 30 runs in 2 innings every 5th day we are in better shape.

  • Posts: 0 TJ

    Phil, I was saying Carrasco for next year. Most highly touted prospects pitch mediocre in AA but once they get the right coaching advice and coinfidence they tend to settle it down and become gradually better in the bigs. I would love to see a Carassco/Marson combo come up next year, but that depends on their developement and our depth situation at both P and C.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Good point Phil.. There is nothing to suggest that Blanton will be getting rocked in CBP.

    I’m loving this, I thought I would have to be arguing with people all day about the fact that Blanton in an upgrade to this team!

  • Posts: 0 Gavin

    Why not give a guy like Happ a chance. I dont get it.

    I’m cautiously optimistic that this will improve our club, but this has to be frustrating for Happ. he did everything asked of him. I agree that this might have been a move just to make a move.

    Oh yea, Blanton better be good b/c he’s here through 2010.

    BTW, please release Eaton. Who are they going to send out of the bullpen? Bisenius will leave when Myers returns. Send Condrey out? he’s done a helluva job. If Eaton is still on this team when Myers returns then the Gillick, Amaro, and Arbuckle are a bunch of losers.

  • Posts: 0 fred

    I like the move for Blanton. He is no Adam Eaton. He is no Jamie Moyer, and he is no Kyle Kendrick. Where did all this 6 IP crap come from !?!? Over the last 3 seasons he has pitched the third most innings in the AL ! He is a workhorse, he goes deep into games and in 2 out of 4 years his ERA has been stellar in the tough AL, pitching against good lineups such as Texas and Anaheim. And he’s under control through 2010. This is a good move, and a better deal than the Cubs one for Harden. Blanton is not injury prone, and the prospects we gave up are a LONG way away from being major league ready, if they ever are. Don’t get me wrong, one day Cardenas will probably be a good second basemen, but we have no need for a 2B with Utley in the team. He’s hit 4 HR’s at A+ this season, is that really what a top prospect would do ? Outman has been average at AA and the other kid is a throw in. Yes Cardenas had talent, but all he was ever going to be was a trade chip and Gillck cashed him in for a cheap young, above average starter. If we get Myers fixed and back in as a solid #2 we then have a good rotation with Blanton #3 Moyer #4 and either Kendrick or Happ #5. I’d still like to see a reliever added though, or even another OF like Nady or Winn. Go Phils.

  • Posts: 0 Phil

    Well, Burnett has electric stuff when he’s actually pitching to his potential. That’s basically saying he’s an older Brett Myers who tends to constantly break down. I don’t want another Brett Myers on the team. He’s also as big of a headcase as Myers. Honestly, it’s a toss up between Blanton or Bedard. Blanton doesn’t break down, Bedard does. Blanton can regularly go 6 innings, Bedard can’t. Bedard’s a better pitcher, but he has his own pitch count and breaks down a lot, so Gillick obviously went with the guy that stays healthy. I respect that. IT’s like the Harden situation. If Harden breaks down the Cubs got robbed. Harden was high risk high reward Blanton is low risk high reward. I’d rather have low risk high reward personally. We all know Harden’s reward is much higher, but his risk is WAY too high. I think Beane knew he was about to break down and that’s why he traded him and pulled the trigger on the 1st deal offered.

  • Posts: 0 TJ

    We are a second half team, we all know it. Blanton improves our rotation, no denying it. We gave up a good player in the future that we’ll never use for a guy that gives us a chance now.

    Please stop speculating that Cardenas was gonna take over Howard or Utley’s positions because we aren’t letting them go for atleast 4-5 years. They’re our core.

  • Posts: 0 Mike T.

    Honestly everyone, what did you want the Phils to do in this case? They still have their “untouchables”, and they improved the team. What did you want? Matt Cain for Cardenas, Outman and Spencer? Haha – that’s laughable. I really wish I knew what San Fran’s response was to that offer – that’s just a huge joke.

    Look, for all the people on here that are saying this years team is better than last years – doesn’t this deal make the team even that much better? Considering the Lohse deal last year was equally as good? I mean, come on, Sabathia and Harden were out of reach from day 1 – so the Phils got what they could without giving up the big 3.

    Plus, I don’t think the Phils are done yet. With pitching, yeah, they’re done making moves, there’s nothing left – but I see a veteran bat coming on board.

  • Posts: 0 Phil

    Happ is going to be Myers back up if he doesn’t get his shit together. I like that we got Blanton, I don’t like what we gave up to get him. Also, you can’t project Cardenas as a RF. He doesn’t have the pop in his bat to be a corner outfielder. He needs to be a middle infielder for what he gives you production wise. He’s a speedy guy who gets on base. He was blocked from coming up to the majors. We’re not done trading. We still have Donald, Bastrado, Happ, Drabek, Savery, amongst many others we can unload for the big bat we need. We also need that lefty reliever which will probably be Grabow.

  • Posts: 0 Phil

    I agree Mike T. I’m leaning towards Giles. That guy is putting up incredible numbers in San Diego. He would look good in CBP. He’s a great player and a great hitter.

  • Posts: 0 TJ

    We’re done making moves. Mark my words. We signed Jenkins to a lucrative contract and we have Werth performing well. Why do we get another bat now? Unless either of them are involved in a trade or Victorino then I just don’t see it happening. Don’t get me wrong I’d love to see a Nady, Holliday, Freel, Taveras come to town but I’m a realist. Our offense is plenty capable if we are given a chance to win by our staff.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America project him as a RF.. not me.. I’ve never seen him play, and neither has anyone else.

    The point is, they know which guys they want to keep for themselves.. Carrasco and Marson.. and I think everyone is tradeable.

    I think they might even go to a 6-man rotation at times. or just skip Moyer every once in a while to keep him fresh.. he gets tired as the year goes on, so maybe an extra day of rest here-or-there will do him some good.

  • Posts: 0 Mike T.

    If I’m supposedly the most pessimistic person on here, how am I not making people feel better by being optimistic towards something everyone is so upset about?

  • Posts: 0 Phil

    mlbtraderumors.com is saying Duke is still for sale. If Duke gets traded I will go find Gillick and punch him in the fucking head. Duke>Harden>Blanton.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I hope you’re not talking about Zach Duke on the Pirates.. cause he sure as shit ani’t better than Harden and Blanton.

    He’s got a career ERA of 4.24.. A 1.52 WHIP… and hitters RAKE against him..

  • Posts: 0 Gavin

    Two words…Randy Winn.

    If it makes anyone feel better……JD Durbin was in our rotation this time last year.

    Also, our rotation the last month was Moyer, Myers, Lohse, Kendrick, and Durbin.

    We’re a better team with Blanton. I wish we had just given Happ a chance.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Mike T. how about us on the same page today!! Crazy, it must be a friday since we’re all in good moods!

  • Posts: 0 Mike T.

    Hey, I’m just happy that out of all the teams in the NL East, we’re the only ones that made significant in season improvements. You’re not going to match the Cubs or Breweres, but you can gain ground on the Mets and Marlins, and I think we have.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Just saw online… that the game of basketball was invented in 1891.

    The Phillies were started in 1883…. we have 1 Championship since the game of basketball has been invented…

    No seriously, share that with all your friends tonight.

  • [...] move for a couple of main reasons.  (FWIW, Tim Malcolm at Phillies Nation argues this side HERE and a makes a couple of fair points along the [...]

  • Posts: 0 chris m

    this make our team better but not much better unless he pitches where his potential is but hes never done that for long stretches. clearly we gave up too much. outman might not have been the real deal but we could of got a fuentes for around that. billy beane knows what hes doing and gillick, well you never know. if i was an A’s fan i’d be really estatic but as a phillies fan i feel apathetic. Mike T i believe this is a solid move but not a significant one where we are now the clear cut favorites in the division. To me this move is on the lines of making a move bc it was there. i think happ will do about what this guy could do and the wild card is myers.

  • Posts: 0 Rob E.

    Hey anyone know what pitchs/speed Blanton has. I know a 4-seamer and a splitter? I was just wondering, I havent seen much on him. Thanks

  • Posts: 0 Phil

    I’m especially okay with this move if we sign Sheets in the offseason.


    That’s a great rotation for next year.

  • Posts: 0 fred

    I think he’s around 91-92 MPH, with a change, slider, curve and 4 seamer. All his pitches are plus, although his slider is his weakest pitch.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Low-90s fastball… slider, curve.. good command… good arm strength so he can throw usually well past 100 pitches.. doesn’t really have an out-pitch, so he’s not a strikeout guy.

    Maybe you could have received Fuentes… but with Blanton you get a starting pitcher instead of a bullpen piece.. and you have him under contract for 2 more years I think

  • Posts: 0 fred

    The real key to Blanton is his ability to work deep into games. This is what makes him a SIGNIFICANT improvement over Eaton, Kendrick and Moyer. He also helps rest the bullpen, as Don M said which is a big plus as Durbin, Romero and Madson are in danger of getting worn out working all those innings.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Blanton isn’t going to win a Cy Young… but he’s a good addition for a couple of minor-league prospects.. and although Cardenas was our #2 guy.. I don’t even know if he was a top-100 prospect in baseball.. So its a good trade.. and eventhough you guys all think Gillick sucks, and Billy Beane is god.. the rest of baseball thinks very highly of Gillick and knows that this trade improves the Phillies

    I’ll bet the Mets try to get Burnett now

  • Posts: 0 PhillyFriar

    We’re on the exact same wavelength, Tim. The Phils needed a bona fide #2 starter, and Blanton represents a #3 at his absolute best (which he’s not been at this year).

    Waking up this morning, I guess the one silver lining is that he’s the best of the B list pitchers we could have hoped for (over Wolf, Byrd, Arroyo, etc.). But no other B list pitcher would have cost as much.

  • Posts: 0 Mike T.

    PhillyFriar, the “right guy” was never available to us. The “right guy” was Sabathia or maybe Harden – we know this. The Phillies didn’t have a chance to get the “right guy”. I don’t know why everyone is making it seem like the Phillies think Blanton is the savior. He isn’t. But he is an IMPROVEMENT — that’s the keyword here – IMPROVEMENT.

  • Posts: 0 Don M


    Arroyo is garbage.. if they would have traded for Paul Byrd, I would have stopped being a Phillies fan.. and Randy Wolf gets hurt every other week…

    That link that from “The Sports Complex” says everything that is wrong with Philly Sports… Talk Radio took one look at his record and decided he was a bum…. None of them know anything about baseball and would have complained no matter who we got.

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Blanton is better than Eaton. This is true and the Phillies didn’t give up much for Blanton, but the Phils are in a tough spot. Do they trade Carrasco and Marson (who will be on the team next year) for a better pitcher this year?
    At this point, who should they have gotten? But, am I the only one who thinks the Cubs stole Harden and Gaudin for spare parts?

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    “The MikeT & Don M Show” will air weekdays at 12noon on http://www.philliesnation.com

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