Tag: Joe Blanton

Joe Blanton: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation on RP

Joe Blanton is dangerously close to going into the new year without a new team, but it appears his market is heating up. 

Continue for updates.

Blanton Drawing Interest from Multiple Teams

Tuesday, Dec. 27

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported teams are expressing increased interest in Blanton with most elite relievers signed. He points to a return to the Los Angeles Dodgers as a possibility.

The 36-year-old converted starter posted a 2.48 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 75 appearances last season in Los Angeles. He struck out a batter per inning while converting 28 holds as a setup man for Kenley Jansen.

The Dodgers already reportedly re-signed longtime closer Jansen earlier this offseason, per Jim Bowden of ESPN and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Bringing back Blanton would solidify a back half that helped lead Los Angeles to within two games of a World Series berth.

The move to the pen, which began in 2015, gave Blanton a new lease on a career that appeared to be nearing an end. He retired from baseball in 2014 after failing to make the Oakland Athletics roster and following a four-year stretch of futility as a starter. 

“I had my time starting. Now it’s kind of my second career and I’ve really enjoyed it,” Blanton said in August, per Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com. “I’m proud of what I did [starting]. A lot of people had better careers and a lot of people had worse careers. But I’m proud of what I did, I did it for a long time. I’m happy with where I’m at right now.”

Blanton shouldn’t have any trouble finding a market for his services, even if he doesn’t return to Los Angeles. His underlying numbers were generally pretty solid, though he did have times where he struggled with command. If his walk rate returns to his career average, Blanton should enjoy as much if not more success in 2017 as an eighth-inning option.

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Joe Blanton to Dodgers: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced they have signed veteran pitcher Joe Blanton to a one-year contract. According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan, the one-year deal is worth $4 million. 

Blanton appeared in 36 games for the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates last year, posting a 2.84 earned run average in 76 innings.    

MLB.com’s Mike Petriello assumes some Dodgers fans will rush to judgment about Blanton based on his previous stint with the team and his disastrous season with the Los Angeles Angels:

The bulk of the 35-year-old’s career has been spent in a starting role, but an exceptionally poor 2013 and a yearlong layoff from MLB in 2014 necessitated a move to the bullpen.

Blanton had a nondescript start to the 2015 season with the Royals and then excelled with the Pirates. According to Baseball-Reference.com, he finished with a 1.57 ERA and 2.11 FIP in Pittsburgh, and his 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings were a career high.

FanGraphs’ Neil Weinberg wrote Blanton’s resurgence was all the more surprising given the fact his transition to being a reliever didn’t result in a significant uptick in his fastball velocity, which in part explains Wade Davis’ and Glen Perkins’ success in the bullpen.

Rosenthal noted Blanton’s contract with the Dodgers indicates he’ll remain a reliever in Los Angeles:

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times believes Blanton fills a major hole in the Dodgers’ pitching staff:

If Blanton can repeat last year’s success with the Pirates in 2016, this will be a great deal for the Dodgers. Four million dollars is a reasonable sum of money to pay a better-than-average middle reliever.

And on the days when Los Angeles’ starters are forced to exit earlier than expected, Blanton’s ability to eat up innings in the middle of games will be an invaluable resource.

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Oakland Athletics Find Quality Depth in Starter Joe Blanton

The Oakland Athletics announced on Monday that they signed former Angels pitcher Joe Blanton to a minor league deal, assigning him to Triple-A Sacramento. For Blanton, who was originally drafted by the Athletics, the signing results in a homecoming as well as an opportunity to bounce back from a forgettable year with the Angels. But it’s also a quality addition on the part of Billy Beane and the A’s. 

Sure, Blanton may not be a flashy acquisition that can replace injured ace Jarrod Parker, but considering the circumstances, he could certainly provide the Athletics with some good bang for their buck if brought up to their big league roster.

With the way things currently sit for the A’s, there is a very real possibility that Blanton could get called up sooner rather than later. As of Monday, Jesse Chavez, who has made just seven career starts over parts of nine seasons, was slated to be Oakland’s third starter—joining Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Dan Straily and Tommy Milone in an injury-riddled rotation. Chavez has pitched well to this point in his two seasons with the Athletics, but in a very small sample size—meaning Bob Melvin could be quick to look elsewhere if Chavez struggles. 

Drew Pomeranz, currently one of two lefty relievers in Oakland’s bullpen, was originally drafted as a starter and would be more than capable of making a spot start if need be. But with Sean Doolittle as the only other lefty in the Athletics’ relief corps, Melvin may very well prefer to give Blanton the starting spot over Pomeranz if such a situation arose.

Many seem to think that Blanton’s career is essentially over, as he is coming off a career worst 6.08 ERA in 20 starts with the Angels last year. However, while it’s unlikely Blanton comes in and pitches 3.00 ERA-ball in Oakland, the Athletics’ spacious home ballpark and top-tier defense could definitely go a long way in helping Blanton return to form. If another Oakland starter goes down, don’t be surprised if Blanton’s name is called to slide into the rotation, and don’t have a funny look on your face if he’s putting up solid numbers again either.

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Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Players Making Statements in 2012

After starting out 2012 sluggishly, the Philadelphia Phillies have put the pedal to the medal over the last week, winning six straight games and seven out of eight against San Diego, Houston, Chicago, and now Boston.

There have been plenty of disappointments so far—Chad Qualls, John Mayberry Jr, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino—but plenty of Phillies have made inroads in their careers as they soar past expectations.

The offense seems back on track, with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley set to return within the next six weeks, the starting pitching is as solid as ever and the fielding hasn’t dipped since last year with the exception of a few extreme cases. Even though they are four games back and last in the division, this team seems poised to make a run thanks to a handful of players making the most of their playing time. 

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Philadelphia Phillies: Who’s the Real Ace in the Phillies Staff?

With the lackluster offensive performance out of the Phillies’ bats this season, fans are starting to question where is the strength in this World Series-hopeful team.

With RBI machine Ryan Howard out for what seems like a significant time, and an unknown return time for Chase Utley, Philadelphia needs to look toward the team’s pitchers for a boost of motivation. 

Why not the pitching staff?

They have three legitimate aces that, at any time, can perform at a championship level. They have pitched in big games but also have been extremely consistent throughout the years.

But the question is, who would you want on the mound in a must-win game?

That, ladies and gentleman, has become quite the dilemma.

It seems that Cliff “ice in his veins” Lee is not in the picture since he was placed on the disabled list. So that must make the “Doc” Halladay the favorite right?

Not just yet. Although Halladay has proven he is one of the most dominant right-hand pitchers in the league, he may not be the best starting pitcher on the Phils pitching staff.

Let me introduce the big, bad, Joe Blanton.  

Blanton threw his first shutout victory in five years. That’s right, five years. Think about what you were doing five years ago. Well the big guy is back, and has shown signs of life.

Joe Blanton is the guy for the Phillies. I hope everyone understands that this is going to be an “out of the ordinary” year for the Phillies.

Do not give up on the City of Brotherly Love just yet. Joe Blanton is the 2012 savior, and everyone will grow to love him

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MLB Trades: Michael Cuddyer on the Trading Block, but Should Phillies Jump In?

Earlier today, Minnesota Twins utilityman and long-time member Michael Cuddyer stated in an interview that he would be willing to waive his limited no-trade clause to go to another team, so as long as it “helps the organization (referring to the Twins).”

Cuddyer has been on the Twins his whole career, having been drafted by them with the ninth overall pick in the 1997 MLB draft. His professional career has spanned 10 seasons (seven in which he played over 100 games, including this one if all goes well). In that time, Cuddyer has posted a .271 average, hit 131 home runs and hit 537 RBI. His OPS is a decent .793.

While Mauer is now the face of the Twins, one cannot deny that Cuddyer comes in at a close second. He’s been with the team for 10 years, and he’s been very faithful and has loved his time there.

What shows this more is that he’s willing to take one for the team. He said in the interview (and I quote): “I care so much about this organization…I do…I care so deeply about this team, that if it helps the organization…” meaning that he’ll take a trade if it benefits the Twins. That says a lot about the guy, and I highly respect him for his loyalty to the Twins, especially in a time where they’re struggling within the division (although they’re climbing back now).

According to the MLBTradeRumors.com link (the first one), the Twins would understandably have to eat a significant portion of his $10.5 million salary this season in order to appeal him to other clubs. Cuddyer, thanks to his current contract, has a limited no-trade clause, and when I say limited, I mean limited. His clause counts for three teams that, if a deal arises with them, he must approve. Cuddyer said he can’t even remember all three of them, although he believes that the Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays are two of those three teams.

This means that Cuddyer can be traded to all other 26 teams in the majors.

Well, as I always say, why don’t the Phillies jump into the mix?

Cuddyer is 32 years old and is in the final year of his contract. While he would love to remain a member of the Twins, he’s willing to go to another team.

As I’ve also previously stated, the Twins would have to eat a significant portion of Cuddyer’s contract in order for most teams to take him.

If the Phillies traded someone…oh, I don’t know, Joe Blanton…to Minnesota, such monetary issues would not apply.

Here’s how it goes down: Blanton is due $17 million through 2012. However, this season, the Twins have the fifth-worst team ERA at 4.22. They’re also dead last in strikeouts with 383 and in innings pitched with 592.1 and are tied for fourth-worst batting average allowed, that standing at .263. Lastly, their K/9 and K/BB ratios are both second-to-last in the majors, those standing at 5.82 and 1.82, respectively.

In short, the Twins’ pitching staff is terrible.

And with constant trade rumors of Francisco Liriano being dealt at the deadline this year, the Twins might need another starting pitcher or two.

In this case, Joe Blanton might be their guy.

A Blanton-for-Cuddyer deal would ease up the Phillies’ salary issues and not only allow for a free-agent signing, but also for more room to extend lefty ace Cole Hamels.

But that’s not even the best part: the Phillies, who have been hunting for a right-handed bat this year, would get a great return. Cuddyer’s batting .282 this year with 10 home runs and 27 RBI. Even better is that he’s versatile: he’s played all infield positions except shortstop and both corner outfield positions this season alone. Imagine how he could impact the Phillies.

Another great stat is that Cuddyer has batted .291 against lefties this year. That could appeal to the Phillies as well, who, as a whole, have struggled to hit against southpaws.

The only problem with Blanton in such a scenario is that he’s currently on the DL and most likely won’t be back until July, which might be too long a wait for the Twins. But hey, who knows, Ruben is always able to at least bring such a deal into discussion.

While this is just trade speculation, I think a Blanton and prospect for Cuddyer deal could be one that neither side would regret in the long run.

What do you think?

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Philadelphia Phillies: Five Things To Ponder As Spring Training Rounds The Bend

Maybe it’s just me, but this off-season has seemed incredibly long. From the moment that Cliff Lee’s deal with the Philadelphia Phillies became official on December 15, 2010, to Phillies’ fans, the wait for Spring Training never felt longer. The days seemed like weeks and the weeks, like months. Now that pitchers and catchers are reporting in just two days, the feeling is almost too good to be true.

With that in mind, however, not everything can be roses, even for a team that has a legitimate staff of four aces. Even the Phillies have numerous questions surrounding their arrival in Clearwater, Florida, and though some of them have been given the “dead horse” treatment, the following story lines are certainly worth keeping an eye on throughout Spring Training.

Take a look at the top five Spring Training questions the Phillies’ will look to resolve and/or answer before re-packing that bus with equipment and heading north to Philadelphia in a little more than a month.

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Philadelphia Phillies: Who’s The Fifth Starter? Who Really Cares?

One of the things I absolutely love about being a Philadelphia sports fan is all the nit-picking we do. It’s highly irritating and annoying to outsiders looking in, but for us, it’s almost  another sport in in of itself. We just love analyzing something until it doesn’t even make sense to us.

It’s just what we do.

But recently a lot of smart reporters and writers have been wasting a lot of time nit-picking  over who the fifth starter should be for the Phillies this coming season.

Behind door number one is Joe Blanton. Door number two, Kyle Kendrick and door number 3 (drumroll) , Vance Worley. Tah dah!

Kyle Kendrick has two pitches. A liner in the gap and a home run to left field.

Vance Worley actually surprised me last year, but he is more valuable as a long reliever or a bullpen guy.

Joe Blanton has had his ups and downs, but he has the experience and is more consistent than the other two.

The fact is, none of their numbers will blow you away, but Blanton can actually eat up some innings for you, which will be important given the inconsistencies that have plagued the Phillies bullpen over the last year or two.

The longer the starter can stay in the game, the better.

But given the fact that we have the best four man rotation in baseball, and the fifth man in the rotation is often skipped over anyway, I don’t think this should even be a conversation so I’m going to end it right here.

The fifth starter should be Joe Blanton because Joe Blanton is better than Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley.

So if anyone in the media is reading this article, lets use our energy on more important things guys, like who is going to fill the massive hole in right field that was left when Jayson Werth blind folded and robbed Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo for $126 million.

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Philadelphia Phillies: Why a Trade for Joe Blanton Should Be a Top Priority

The Phillies have put together the best pitching rotation is all of baseball.  And yes, this does include Joe Blanton in the fifth spot.

With the signing of Cliff Lee in the offseason, Blanton was pushed to the back of the rotation and became the fifth starter.  This has added unbelievable value to Blanton and the Phillies. 

Blanton is just 30 years of age and has many seasons left in him if he stays healthy.  Out of 30 No. 5 starters last season, just five pitched more than 190 innings, and only Gio Gonzalez of the A’s and Livan Hernandez of the Nationals reached the 200 mark.  Blanton has pitched more than 190 innings in five of his six seasons in the Majors thus far.  Last season was the first time that Blanton did not reach this plateau, because he went on the disabled list for the first time in his career after straining an abdominal muscle late in spring training.

Since joining Philadelphia after the trade deadline in 2008, the Phillies have a .600 winning percentage in Blanton’s starts.  Blanton is 25-14 in his 72 starts with the team.  While Blanton’s number do not make him an outstanding pitcher, they do make him an outstanding fifth starter.

Ruben Amaro Jr. announced last week that moving Blanton is not a necessity anymore, as the team can afford to have all five pitchers on the roster this season.  However, even though they have the top four starters in baseball, there are still some unanswered questions with the lineup. 

Brad Lidge had an impressive finish to the 2010 season by compiling a 0.73 ERA over the last two months of the season, including four scoreless innings in the playoffs.  However, Lidge still is not anywhere near his 2008 perfect season. 

Another question mark is the platoon theory in right field between Ben Francisco, Ross Gload and eventually Dominic Brown.  The Phillies decided to not pursue free agents such as Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez and Jose Guillen.  Using Blanton as trade bait could net the Phillies another solid outfielder who can play on an everyday basis or be used sparingly to give Ibanez, Francisco and Gload a day off every now and then.

Blanton is a very valuable player for the Phillies right now and a deal for him could be pursued by spring training.  If not, watch for Ruben Amaro Jr. to make a deal for him if a team suffers an injury to a top pitcher or to bolster the lineup at the trade deadline. 

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Philadelphia Phillies: Should They Trade Joe Blanton?

With the Fab Four of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels already locked up in their starting rotation, do the Phillies still need Joe Blanton

The righty has two years left on his contract, which will earn him a total of $17 million dollars.

In his two and a half years with the Phillies, Blanton has a combined record of 25-14 with an average 4.36 ERA in 72 starts. For a fifth starter in the rotation, these are pretty good numbers.

In comparison, Kyle Kendrick has a 25-20 record with a 4.55 ERA in 63 starts since the 2008 season. The statistics are similar, but it should also be noted that Kendrick spent a good amount of time bouncing back and forth from the majors to the minors in 2009. 

And last year, Blanton spent time on the disabled list.

Another alternative for the fifth starter position is rookie Vance Worley. In two starts with the Phillies in 2010, Worley pitched 13 innings and recorded a 1.38 ERA. Between AA and AAA last year, Worley recorded a combined 10-7 record with a 3.36 ERA over 27 starts. But Worley is still a big unknown; he is young and lacks experience.

With these options, it seems that either Blanton or Kendrick would be the best fit for the role. If the Phillies are concerned with payroll, trading Blanton may be a good idea as Kendrick is still under team control.

When asked if payroll would move him to trade Blanton, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told the media, “I really don’t have to do anything.”

A lower payroll would help if Amaro has other future moves in mind, however, it does not appear to be necessary right now.

If money is not a true motivator at this times, the Phillies may be better served to keep Blanton. Having both Blanton and Kendrick provides tremendous pitching depth. In the event that one of the Fab Four gets injured, the decision to then move Kendrick into the rotation to fill the hole should be a no-brainer.

Blanton also has experience in eight different playoff series, including two World Series. Kendrick pitched less than four innings in the 2007 NLDS and has not seen any playoff action since that time.

And if the Phillies start the year off with Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, Hamels and Blanton, then Kendrick can fill a hole in the bullpen as a long reliever. With Chad Durbin still unsigned, there may be a greater need for a long man.

It appears that keeping Blanton is probably a good idea. Of course, if another team makes a good offer, the Phillies still have other options for the fifth spot in the rotation. 

But until the season actually begins, anything can happen.

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