As the trade deadline approaches, Ian and Corey will provide their opinions to “Deal” or “Not Deal” various members of the Phillies roster, where best fits may lie, and who they should seek in return.
Today’s subject? The venerable Kentucky northpaw Joe Blanton.
No Deal – Ian Riccaboni
Joe Blanton is quietly putting together a very nice year for the Phillies – his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP and xFIP) stats say that Blanton has performed considerably better (4.02 and 3.36, respectively) than his 4.79 ERA indicates.
In fact, his 2012 — 4.79 ERA, 7.8 K/9, 1.5 HR/9 – is looking more and more like his very good 2009 (4.05 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 1.4 HR/9) as the season progresses. It is no secret to readers of Phillies Nation that Blanton has been doing many little things right throughout the season and, over halfway through the year, Blanton still maintains his NL lead in BB/9. Unfortunately, Phillies Nation readers and Phillies fans alike may have noticed that Blanton is second in the NL in home runs allowed, behind only Mike Minor.
These are not necessarily stats that may be sellable to an opposing GM. My case for not trading Blanton revolves around the fact that the Phils A) May not get appropriate value for an above-average pitcher having a very good season and B) he may have more value to them this year than the prospects they receive in return.
If I’m Ruben Amaro, Blanton may need the most over-the-top offer for me to deal. According to FanGraphs, Blanton has been worth $6.3 million this year to the Phillies; Blanton only has about $3.61 million left on his deal through the rest of the year – his salary no longer effects luxury tax considerations for this year and is affordable. More importantly, he has pitched and performed better than Kyle Kendrick in the rotation and, despite consciously realizing that the Phillies need to win, on average, 7 out of every 10 they play to reach the playoffs, Blanton gives the Phillies a solid starter regardless if the Phillies go into full fire sale mode or not.
Deal, Corey Seidman:
It’s not that I think Blanton will bring back anything significant in a trade, it’s just that there is no real reason to keep him. You’re probably going nowhere and you’re already paying Kyle Kendrick $4 million this season, why not just pick up whatever you can get for Blanton and roll with KK?
Under the new draft pick compensation system, the only way the Phils would pick up a pick for losing Blanton to another team in free agency would be if they offered him a salary that is the average of the top 125 salaries in the game. Right now, that’d mean offering Blanton between $12-13 million. The Phillies will not be doing that, so they won’t get a pick.
Just look at the Jim Thome trade. Thome is a 41-year-old DH on a one-year contract and he brought back the Orioles’ 12th- and 20th-ranked prospects (Baseball America) in Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon.
Ian has a good point that Blanton’s value is lower than it should be because of his ERA, but I don’t necessarily think that means he should be kept for the sake of being kept. If you can bring back a lefthanded reliever with a high strikeout rate who might contribute in 2014 or 2015, why not do it?