With the New York Mets climbing back into first place with a 10-game winning streak, the Philadelphia Phillies felt it was time to answer and they attempted to do so on Thursday when they completed a deal to bring right-hander Joe Blanton to town. Blanton helps the Phillies where they need most - in the rotation.
David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News suggests that, "The acquisition likely means two things. First, Adam Eaton's tenure as
a starter with the Phillies is, at least for the moment, over. Second,
the organization believes Blanton, who is 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA this
season after going 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA last season, can overcome some
recent struggles to provide the Phillies with a solid No. 2 or No. 3
"Philadelphia was aggressive," Oakland assistant GM David Forst said.
"They made it clear they needed a starting pitcher to help out and we
were able to get the deal done."
The minor leaguers involved are
left-hander Josh Outman, who was in Double-A, second baseman Adrian Cardenas and outfielder Matt Spencer, both players in Class A.
Blanton is only 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA this season, but the move to a
weaker league and a better offensive club should help his numbers.
The Reds were talking about trading Jay Bruce or Joey Votto for Blanton during the off-season. Standing pat seems like a good move now. The Phillies, at least on paper, did come up off some top-notched prospects.
Cardenas, ranked among the game's top 100 prospects by Baseball America,
was hitting .309 with six triples and 16 stolen bases for Class A
Clearwater. A supplemental-round pick in 2006, he was considered to be
the top position prospect in the organization, although not necessarily
the most major league ready. The Phillies were willing to part with
Cardenas in part because they have Chase Utley ingrained at second
base, Cardenas' natural position.
Outman, meanwhile, participated in big league spring training this
season and appeared to be adapting to his new role as a reliever. The
23-year-old lefty was 4-2 with a 3.22 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 44 2/3
innings of relief this season at Double A Reading.
Don't count on Blanton to make a C.C. Sabathia or Rich Harden-type impact, but the Phillies needed something and likely will continue to look for ways to bolster their rotation.
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