Phillies acquire Blanton from A’s

July 17, 2008 at 5:02 pm 11 comments

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Phillies have struck a deal with the A’s that will land them starter Joe Blanton in exchange for 3 of the Phillies top 8 prospects coming into this season: LHP Josh Outman (4), 2B Adrian Cardenas (5), and OF Matt Spencer (8).

The deal was announced by ESPN’s Buster Olney and is not final as of yet but it is clearly going to happen.

Joe Blanton is currently 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA and a 62/35 K/BB ratio in 127 innings pitched but has hit worst K/9 rate in his career at 4.39. His K/BB rate of 1.77 is the second lowest of his career and just .04 off of his worst of his career. Blanton is also moving from a spacious home stadium to a hitter’s haven. With all that said I still like this move for the Phillies.

The Phillies sorely need starting pitching and they have no internal options that are an immediate upgrade over a #5 starter. Blanton comes in and can be a #3 in the NL but will regress to a very good #4 or #5 if/when the NL gets used to him. He will eat up a ton of innings and he puts the ball on the ground a third more often than in the air which is a must if he is going to succeed in Philadelphia.

The Phillies did give up some of their best prospects but their best prospects aren’t looking like they have superstar potential and none of them were going to help the parent club this year or next.

Josh Outman has the chance to be a good #3 starter but the probability isn’t the highest. He has a power arm but lacks secondary stuff and lacks average command and control. His delivery is deceptive but makes it a little harder to repeat. Otman has been working out of the pen this season (33 games/28 out of the pen) and he has fared about the same. He is a flyball pitcher that can strike a guy out but with a fair share of walks which will make his pitch count high. He has to get command of his pitches to succeed but moving to Oakland should help with his style of pitching.

Adrian Cardenas has the best chance of this group to be a star but he has a ways to go. He is young (doesn’t turn 21 until October) and is in high-A which is more of a pitcher’s league. Cardenas is hitting .309/.374/.444 with 11 doubles, 6 triples, 4 homers, 16 steals (he has not been caught yet), and a 28/42 BB/K ratio in 259 at-bats. He has some power but can’t afford to add more loft to his swing. He doesn’t strikeout a ton and takes a walk and he sprays the ball all over. He is still raw at 2B and can’t handle SS and doesn’t have the arm for 3B so he has to learn 2B or move to the OF where he is might become a 4th outfielder.

Matt Spencer is a guy I likes in college but the only reservation I had about him was his ability to hit with wood. He has yet to do so. He is currently hitting .249/.317/.367 with 12 doubles, 3 triples, 6 homers, 5 steals, and a 30/66 BB/K rate in 305 at-bats. He has a good eye but lacks good cinsistent contact. He has some power (I thought he had more than he is showing) and is adequate in the outfield. He is just 22 so he has some room to grow but as it stands right now he looks like a 4th/5th outfielder. I still hold hope he can become a decent leftfielder that can hit 20 homers and draw walks.

The deal gives both teams what they want and need. The A’s get to add to their plethora of prospects and the Phillies got exactly what they needed without giving away their future and the guys they gave up (other than Cardenas) were passed on their own prospect list by Jason Donald, Lou Marson, and Greg Golson. Only time will tell who wins this trade but it looks like a win-win now.

A few questions to ponder: Could Billy Beane have gotten more over the past offseason for Blanton? Is Justin Duchscherer next with his trade value at its highest ever? When is Huston Street going to be traded? Did the A’s trade their pieces away too early since they are technically in contention?

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. erik  |  July 18, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Good article Jonathan, I will spare the book report since I already wrote one for Billy Beane.

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 18, 2008 at 8:52 am

    But the book reports are so good! I’m reading all over the place that this is the first Beane/Gillick trade. I find that odd since they’ve both been GMs for a while now.

  • 3. supremesportsjustice  |  July 18, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Said it before and I’ll say it again….decent deal, but the timing blows my mind. With Oakland still in contention, I’d be demoralized as an A’s fan. Though this one makes more sense (from a timing issue) than the Harden deal, because Blanton wasn’t the reason the A’s are in contention.

    Great job Jonathan!

  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 18, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks Danno. I agree about the timing of this trade being a lot better than the Harden one. I think the A’s can replace Blanton but not Harden. If the A’s miss out on the playoffs by 2-3 games I would be upset as a fan because that’s about how many wins they gave up with the trades.

  • 5. supremesportsjustice  |  July 18, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Exactly right!

  • 6. erik  |  July 18, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Blanton is an okay pitcher, he has had a bad year. He won’t make the Phillies an instant contender but he is sort of an upgrade over Adam Eaton.

    I wouldn’t say I would have done the deal. I think the Phillies gave up a few prospects but not anyone that will make an immediate impact.

  • 7. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 18, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    All the guys they gave up too were expendable. Cardenas is blocked at 2B and can’t play SS. Spencer is expendable anyway.

  • 8. 19  |  July 18, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks for the great info, Jonathan.

    To answer your questions, I believe they could have gotten more last winter for Blanton (maybe from the Mets before they did the Santana deal).

    If they deal Duchscherer too, you have to say “what the heck?”.

    And what about Street? Will they go the route of Minnesota and keep the closer and trade everyone else? Maybe a new trend? Seems to be working for the Twinkies.

    Got to be tough for the Oakland fans, but I would hope they realize they have a GM that seems to know what he’s doing. Tough to accept “have a little faith”, but what other choice do they have.

  • 9. erik  |  July 19, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Pat Gillick trades are very interesting to say the least.

    This is the man who as the Mariners GM traded Ken Griffey Jr. to the Reds for Mike Cameron, Brett Tomko, Jake Meyer and Antonio Perez. He traded Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez and got back Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. Traded Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson and netted David Cone.

    His list of free Agent signings are a bit more impressive to me.
    Carlos Delgado, Jack Morris, Dave Winfield, Joe Carter, Dave Stewart, Roberto Alomar, Jimmy Key, Rickey Henderson, Ichiro Suzuki, Kazohiro Sasaki, Adrien Beltre.

    The aspect of his game that is the weakest in my eyes is the amateur draft. His last two “impact” picks are Adam Jones and possibly Kyle Drabek.

  • 10. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 21, 2008 at 11:43 am

    I agree with you here. His drafting has been awful. He needs to turn it over to his assistant GM and his Scouting Director and let them make him look good.

  • […] Phillies acquire Blanton from A’s […]


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