Tag: Joe Blanton

Joe Blanton’s Trade Market: Who Wants the Philadelphia Phillies Righty?

The weather here in the northeast is unbelievable. I hope everyone is staying safe and not trying to travel in this snowstorm and the aftermath of it.

Speaking of  the northeast, the Philadelphia Phillies haven’t made too many moves this offseason, but the one move they did make had major impact on the landscape of Major League Baseball. When they signed Cliff Lee, they sent a ripple effect throughout baseball that everyone is still talking about.

Now with Lee in the fold, the Phillies have four aces in their five-man rotation. The fifth guy, Joe Blanton, might just be the odd man out.

The Phillies are looking to trade Blanton so they can free up money to potentially make a move if they have to during the season. Now that the Phillies are looking to trade the former Oakland Athletic, let’s take a look at the pros, cons, and which teams could be interested in Blanton.


In a day and age where finding pitchers to eat up innings is a rarity, Blanton can eat up innings with the best of them. In his six full seasons in the Major Leagues, Blanton has averaged 199 innings a season. That’s pretty good.

And those 199 innings a season aren’t hollow innings. There is some substance in his performance.

In his three years in Philadelphia, Blanton has averaged 7.1 K/9, which is right on par with pitchers like Matt Cain and and Johnny Cueto.

While a lot of people will look at Blanton’s 4.82 ERA and notice it was tied for the highest of his career, he also had some bad luck in 2010. Hitters had a .331 BABIP against Blanton in 201o, which is about 30 points higher than their career average against him. I would expect that number to come back down in 2011, which will make Blanton’s peripherals look a lot better.

The last pro for Blanton is his contract. Two years and $16 million for Blanton is a pretty reasonable contract—$8 million a year is the going rate for a No. 3 or 4 starter these days and Blanton has performed to that amount throughout his career.


At the end of the day, Joe Blanton is, well, Joe Blanton. He’s not a No. 1 starter, but he’s not a ham n’ egger either. He’s your classic middle of the road starter.

On most nights, Blanton is a guy who is going to pitch five or six innings, give up eight hits, four runs, 3 walks and strike out three while throwing 110 pitches. That’s remarkably average.

And Blanton was remarkably average in 2010. He saw a dip in his K/9 from 7.5 to 6.7 and he had his highest WHIP since 2006 at 1.42.

A team is going to have to ask themselves are they willing to assume $16 million in salary and trade a couple of prospects for No. 3 starter at best. That line of thinking could eliminate a lot of teams as trade possibilities.

Now that we looked at the pros and cons of Blanton, let’s see which teams might be interested in trading for the former University of Kentucky hurler.

Washington Nationals: If the Nationals miss out on Carl Pavano, Blanton could be a fall back option. Sadly, Blanton would be the Nationals’ No. 1 starter in 2011.

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs have had their eye on Matt Garza for some time now, but if they can’t pull off a trade for him, then Blanton could be Plan B.

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies really need another pitcher behind Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge de la Rosa and Blanton could be that guy. Plus, he has experience pitching in a hitter’s ballpark.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks need a pitcher, but I think they A) don’t want to trade young players and B) don’t want to assume Blanton’s salary.

New York Yankees: It would be such a slap in the Yankees’ grill if the Phillies traded Blanton to New York to fill the spot that should have been filled by Lee. But what do the Yankees do if Andy Pettitte retires?

Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles have done a lot of good things this offseason, like adding Mark Reynolds and J.J. Hardy, but their starting rotation is still horrendous. Perhaps Blanton can fill the role that Kevin Millwood filled last season or should I say, attempted to fill.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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2010 MLB Hot Stove Rumors: Four Players The Minnesota Twins Should Pursue

It’s been a relatively uneventful offseason for the Twins, albeit only on the major league side. The Twins have landed a slew of relievers for their minor league system, as well as a few promising young prospects. Most notable is 17-year-old shortstop Javier Pimentel of the Dominican Republic. 

Besides the signing of Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the Twins’ major league squad remains fairly depleted. Key losses of Carl Pavano, Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch and J.J. Hardy seem to overweigh the small but earnest gains.

Former Braves reliever Chuck James and young infielder Matt Brown are the most notable of the few major league additions this offseason. The Twins also added catchers in Steve Holm and Rene Rivera, who have spent limited major league time with the Giants and Mariners, respectively. 

Make no mistake, the club is headed in the right direction. Young arms like Brett Jacobsen and Jim Hoey (from the J.J. Hardy trade) will be ready to compete for a bullpen spot come spring training.

In-house bullpen candidates include Alex Burnett, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, Anthony Slama, Carlos Gutierrez and Jeff Manship, to name a few. With another veteran arm or two from the open market, the Twins should be able to put together a fairly decent bullpen in 2011. 

With the biggest concern being the bullpen, the starting rotation also has some question marks. The aforementioned Carl Pavano remains on the market, although a deal with Minnesota seems imminent.

The Nationals are also in the race for Pavano’s services, but the consensus seems to be that Carl will don a Twins uniform for at least the next couple seasons. 

As it stands, the Twins’ rotation rests with Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey. All have shown shades of brilliance, but seem to be repeatedly bitten by the inconsistency bug.

Liriano earned AL Comeback Player of the Year honors for 2010 after posting a 14-10 record with a nice 3.62 ERA and 201 K’s. Minnesota is no doubt expecting big things from Franky Franchise next season.

Kevin Slowey also had a good 2010, earning a record of 13-6. Injuries once again derailed what could have been a great season. His name has been mentioned as a possible trade chip, however. 

Young starters like Kyle Gibson and Kyle Waldrop may make a late-season appearance if any rotation patchwork needs to be done. 

Even with a host of young talent, the Twins will need help from the Hot Stove. Banking on Pavano signing, here’s a neatly ordered list of who could fill the open slots in Minnesota:

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Joe Blanton MLB Rumors: 5 Possible Suitors for Phillies’ Cliff Lee Cast-Off

The Cliff Lee contract will eventually impact almost everyone in the league in some way, but for Philadelphia Phillies’ right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton, that time is now. Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro acknowledges he will eventually need to make a trade to move some money and make room in the team budget for Lee.

Blanton, 30, posted a 4.82 ERA in just over 175 innings with the Phillies in 2010. His numbers consistently suggest he is better than that, a good command pitcher with an unfortunate propensity to surrender home runs. Blanton has walked only 2.5 batters per nine innings for his career, a solid number.

Blanton has two years and $17 million total remaining on his contract, a three-year pact he signed during his final year of arbitration eligibility last winter.

Read on for the five teams who make the most sense as suitors for Blanton. 

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NLCS Report Card: Phillies Missing That Phight

After four game into the NCLS, we have ourselves quite a matchup, but with contrasting results.

The Phillies have looked consevative, out of sync, and at times, without that fight that has made them who they are.

The Giants, on the other hand, have looked cool, crisp, and methodical which are the very tratis that helped them win the West.

Last night’s game was a little indicative of the aforementioned.

While it’s hard to put a grade on a game that was really based around well hit and placed balls, there are some specifics that could’ve made a difference.

Let’s take a look.= at last night’s report card.

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Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Francisco Giants: Game 4 Live Blog

Good evening baseball fans! Welcome to Game Four of the NLCS between the visiting Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants.

Bleacher bum Evan Adrian here, taking you every step of the way through this pivotal matchup.

Philadelphia decided not to send Roy Halladay out on short rest, so Joe Blanton will take the mound for Philadelphia the first time this postseason. San Francisco trots out 21-year-old rookie Madison Bumgarner, who pitched six solid innings against the Braves, giving up just two runs in the series-clincher.

Philly is desperate for a win, which would tie this NLCS at two games a piece. Can Blanton come through? Keep it here to find out!

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Playing Philadelphia Phillies Manager: Four Moves for NLCS Game 4 and Beyond

Phillies’ skipper Charlie Manuel has played things pretty much straight up over the past two postseasons and has two NL Pennants and a World Series ring to show for it. With his team finding itself down two games to one and the next two contests in AT&T Park, the time is right to veer from previous course. 

San Franciso Giants manager Bruce Bochy adjusted his lineup for Game 3 and it paid large dividends. 

Moving certified Phillies killer Cody Ross up to the five hole put him in position to drive in the games first, and ultimate winning run. The line single to left plated non prototypical leadoff hitter Edgar Renteria, who had started the rally.  

And, former Phil Aaron Rowand got his first start of the postseason in place of Andres Torres, who has provided nothing offensively other than a breeze from his empty whiffs. Rowand, of course, responded with a double and later scored to extend the Giants lead to 3-0. 

Any notion that Jimmy Rollins might have kick started the Phillies offense with his bases loaded double on Sunday night was quickly dismissed with another moribund postseason showing. 

Yes, Matt Cain is pretty good, but the Phillies have owned him prior to his two-hit, no run work over seven innings yesterday. He was 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA against the Phillies coming into the game. 

Cain, Javier Lopez, and the anti-Beach Boy Brian Wilson combined to shutout the Phillies on three hits. They seemingly alternated between striking out Phillies hitters and getting them to hit routine ground balls to second baseman Freddy Sanchez.  

The time has come for Manuel to change things up to perhaps trigger a spark or avoid digging a bigger hole. Here are four suggestions for tonight’s game that could make a difference. 

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Phillies-Giants NLCS: Phillies Need To Sit Raul Ibanez in Game 4

Many experts are saying that the Phillies are in trouble in the NLCS against the Giants. Personally, I disagree.

If the Flyers taught the city of Philadelphia anything, it’s not over ’til it’s over. 

Many experts are also saying that the Phillies need to make a change in Game 4, and I agree with them; the Phillies do need to make a change, just not the change most experts are saying.

The experts are saying the Phillies should start Roy Halladay on three days rest instead of Joe Blanton.

As you probably saw in the article I wrote about A.J. Burnett, starting Halladay on three days rest would be the worst thing the Phillies could do. If they start Halladay, then that means Oswalt and Hamels have to go on three days rest too. 

Even if they lose Game 4, I would rather have the big three rested than have them pitch on three days. Pitching them on three days rest means the series is likely over.

However, I do think the Phillies need to make a change to the lineup in Game 4. That change is simple: insert Ben Francisco into the lineup in left field and bench Raul Ibanez. 

I understand Ibanez makes a huge amount of money (it’s a terrible contract and the Phillies are stuck with him), but the reality is Ibanez is absolutely killing the Phillies right now. He is 0-for-15 at the plate, with strikeouts in half of his at-bats, and he has hit into a double play (so he actually has made more than 15 outs); he also dropped a fly ball in Game 1 that had he caught, the Phillies would have won. 

I know it was a tough catch, but he was under it and should have made the play; any good fielding left fielder catches that ball.

See, that’s the problem: Ibanez is in the lineup for his bat, and if the bat isn’t hitting, then he shouldn’t be in the lineup. 

Francisco is faster and better defensively, and he can not do any worse at the plate. Even if Francisco goes 0-for-4, his defense still makes him a better start than Ibanez.

I have long been a fan of Francisco and a detractor of Ibanez. I have said since day one that Ibanez’s contract was ridiculous and that Francisco could put up the same numbers as Ibanez if given the playing time.

I will make it clear that I don’t like Raul Ibanez as a ballplayer. 

I think his hitting is average and he can’t field. As a Phillies fan, I dislike him because the $13-14 million a season he is making will be the main reason the Phillies lose Jayson Werth in the offseason.

If they had not signed Ibanez to that ridiculous deal, they could platoon Dominic Brown and Francisco in left field and the two combined would make about $1 million and probably give you equal or more production at the plate and better defense than Ibanez.

The nice part of this argument is Charlie Manuel can sit Ibanez down without making it look like he has lost faith in Raul.

See, the Giants are pitching lefty Madison Bumgarner in Game 4 this evening, and Manuel often sat Ibanez in favor of Francisco when a lefty was on the mound. This way, Manuel can hide behind the fact that he is making the move simply to get a right handed bat in the lineup and that it is not because he lost faith in Ibanez.

Thus, he can sit him down without making Ibanez look bad. He has a built in excuse already provided by the left handed pitching matchup. 

Gregg Doyel of CBS Sportsline wrote a great article about how Manuel may have already phoned it in on the Phillies because Charlie said that it was getting kind of late to be making moves. To that I say, Charlie, you are paid to manage the Phillies, and any manager can see a guy who is a below average fielder and is 0-for-15 at the plate shouldn’t be in the lineup. 

Look at Bruce Bochy, who sat down Andre Torres in favor of Aaron Rowand; Torres was only 0-for-8 in two games, and the series was tied. Good managers recognize when changes need to be made and have the guts to make them.

The next 24 hours will tell us a lot about Charlie Manuel’s ability to manage this team. If he sits Ibanez down, then the Phillies might still have a chance in this series.

If Charlie sticks with Ibanez, then his stubbornness may just cost the Phillies their chance at a third straight World Series appearance.

Here’s hoping Charlie does the right thing for the team and the city. Playing Ben Francisco tonight is really a no brainer.

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Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels: The Phillies Playoff Starters Must Be Only H20

Sorry Blanton. You have really helped the Philadelphia Phillies out the past few years when we needed you. But Joe, we just don’t need you this year.

In their 127-year history, this is the most dominant top end of the rotation for the Phillies. If you doubt that, just ask yourself if there has ever been a Phillies team that you have been more confident in.

Just so you can understand how much better these three pitchers are than any other one-two-three in the league, I’ll throw out some stats for you.

All three of Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt have pitched over 30 starts and over 200 innings. Combined, they have six shutouts, 12 complete games, and one perfect game. They total more complete games than any other team in the league.

Roy Oswalt has the least strikeouts out of the three of them with 192. Cole Hamels has the worst WHIP, at 1.19 (Halladay’s is 1.04 and Oswalt’s is 1.02). That is an extremely high floor for those three starters.

Halladay is the front-runner to win the NL Cy Young award with a 2.44 ERA. Oswalt follows him in the rotation with a 2.73 ERA, finished by Hamels, who has a 3.09 ERA. That’s right, the Phillies have a number three starter who has an ERA just a tad over 3. To put into perspective how good that is, the Yankees‘ number three starter, Phil Hughes, has an ERA of 4.21, and the Braves’ number three starter, Derek Lowe, has an ERA of 4.

The Phillies selected that they would like to play the NLDS in eight days, which allows the Big Three to start every game on normal rest. It’s the NLCS and World Series in which the Phillies have a big decision to make. 

Assuming that they get to the NLCS, there is about .01% chance that the Phillies give Kyle Kendrick the game four start, barring injury. It’s not a secret that the Phillies have no trust in Kendrick and his 4.73 ERA, even sending him down to the minors for a short stretch earlier in the season. This is also Kendrick’s first full year in the majors, after stretches in the previous three years.

So the big decision is to whether start Blanton for game four and have Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels on normal rest for the rest of the series, or to have “H2O” also start games four, five, six, and seven on short rest.

This year Blanton has had one of the worst years in his career. His 4.74 ERA is a good 1.65 more than his teammate one spot up in the rotation. This is one of the biggest drop-offs between a 3 and 4 starter in the league.

Besides the horrid ERA, Blanton has a 1.40 WHIP, 134 strikeouts, no complete games, and no shutouts. He has 28 starts this year, so there is no blaming the injury which put him out all of April for bloating his stats.

Even his postseason stats aren’t as good as most people think they are, with a 3.89 ERA in 34.2 total innings pitched. And even if he had great playoff stats, why should the 34.2 playoff innings he has thrown in the past few years make up for these horrible 174.2 innings he has thrown most recently this year.

So what would ever make me want to start him in important playoff games when we have other great options?

The only reason that there is a possibility of starting Blanton is that H2O might not handle three games rest very well. But there is no reason that they can’t. Each of the big three has pitched over 200 innings, which shows that they can handle the workload. All of them like to work deep into games, and by the results they have showed this season, nothing really throws them off.

There is no way we should risk throwing Blanton when we have pitchers head and shoulders better than him, even if they only have three days rest. Phillies fans are probably familiar with the 2009 Yankees, who only had three good starters on their team, and it worked out just fine for them on three days’ rest.

There is no guarantee that any series will go seven games, which means that there could be only one or two of the Phillies’ starters going on three days rest.

H2O can get lots of rest in the off-season, so the Phillies need to maximize their usage while they are available, in the NLCS and World Series.

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Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies Are Kings of the Hill

After Minnesota‘s blundering 10-1 loss to the Tigers and the New York Yankees’ 10-8  loss to the Boston Red Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies sit alone with the MLB‘s  best record.

With a 93-61 record, they are a half-game above the Minnesota Twins and a full game ahead of the Yankees.

Thanks to a 11-game win streak, the Phillies‘ magic number is now down to two with the Atlanta Braves losing to the Nationals, 8-3.

The Phillies are now an amazing 19-3 in September, as scorching as today’s Philadelphia sun. Shane Victorino started off today with a leadoff home run and a second-inning RBI, to give Philadelphia to a 2-0 lead.

From there, the Phillies never looked back, led by Joe Blanton‘s seven innings of two-run ball.

The Mets tied the game up in the top of the fourth inning, but the Phils responded in the bottom of the inning, which has become common for the surging NL champs.

From there, the Phillies pitching didn’t allow any more scoring. The streaking Ryan Madsen and Brad Lidge wrapped the game up in the eighth and ninth inning.

The Phillies look poised to roll into October with unwavering skill and grace

According to Phillies Nation.com, the Phillies’ most wins in a month is 22 in September 1915. A year which eerily resembles 2010. In 1977, the last year the Phillies ended with the best record in the NL, they went 22-7.

This year, they hold the best September record at 19-3 with eight games to play, and have a great chance to break that record if they just split their final eight games.

The 2010 Phillies are putting their bid in as the best version of the team to step foot in America’s birthplace.

They currently have two more games against the Mets this weekend and three games next week against the Nats before finishing with three against the Braves.

For more writing from Vincent Heck visit: www.vincentheckwriting.com

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Fantasy Baseball Forecast: Week 24’s Sit ‘Em Start ‘Em

As your fantasy baseball marathons come down to the wire look to these players to help your team or keep them from hindering your team.  Rookies’ Starlin Castro and Ike Davis should have stellar weeks for your team.

Start ‘Em

Starlin Castro | Chicago Cubs | 81 percent
This 20-year-old phenom has been a work in progress with his glove but clearly has been an offensive asset.  This week Castro faces the Cardinals and Marlins.  In 36 at-bats this year against, Castro has hit .361 and .359 since the All-Star break.  This should be a strong sign that his numbers will keep pace for these games.

Ike Davis | New York Mets | 35.4 percent
Ike faces two opponents this week that really haven’t given a problem all year and on top of that they are at home where he’s hitting a solid .294.  This is over a 50 point jump from his away splits.  Pittsburgh is up first where Ike is hitting .500 in 10 at-bats.  Ike’s next opponent has been more of a challenge.  This year against Atlanta Ike has only hit .233.  However, his OBP is .421 and his isolated power is fairly strong at .189.  Look for him to buck that average trend and hit for some power against the Braves.

Sit ‘Em

Adam Jones | Baltimore Orioles | 84.5 percent
Jones faces a tough road ahead this week with the Blue Jays and then the Yankees. Against the Blue Jays this year, Jones is hitting a weak .217 through 46 at-bats.  His next opponent, the Yankees, have held him to a .216 average through 51 at-bats.  Making matters worse for Jones, he will be facing three left-handed pitchers, against which he is only hitting .261, with a .293 OBP.

Mike Napoli | Los Angeles Angels | 87 percent
Napoli will be playing on the road for both series this week.  His first stop is in Cleveland, at Progressive Field.  His next stop is in St. Petersburg at Tropicana Field.  Collectively at both stadiums, Napoli has an unimpressive career average of only .170, through 48 at-bats.  Worse is the fact that all but one of the starting pitchers that Napoli will face is right-handed.  Against righties this year Napoli is hitting .212 with a .279 OBP.

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