The Phillies hope Joe Blanton can help their rotation for the stretch run much like Jamie Moyer helped them in 2006 and Kyle Lohse helped them in 2007.
They just acquired the 27-year-old righthander from the Oakland Athletics in a trade for minor-league prospects Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman and Matt Spencer. Blanton, 27, is just 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA this season, but the Phillies must think he’s an upgrade over what they have.
Brett Myers is expected to return to the rotation next Wednesday against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, which seems to signal Adam Eaton’s move to the bullpen. Eaton is 1-4 with a 9.64 ERA in his last five starts, and has been inconistent at best since he joined the Phillies before the 2007 season.
Why Blanton over other pitchers out there? There could be a few reasons. Take away his four worst starts this season and he has a 3.58 ERA, which is more than respectable in the American League. He went 16-12 in 2006 and 14-10 in 2007, so he has a winning track record. He also has thrown more than 194 innings each of the past three seasons, which makes him an "innings eater" -- something Eaton is not. But he’s also intriguing because he can’t become a free agent until after the 2010 season, so this isn't a 2 1/2 month rental.
Who'd the Phillies give up?
Cardenas was a supplemental first-round pick in 2006, and one of the organization's top prospects. He was hitting .309 with four homers and 23 RBIs for single-A Clearwater. Outman, a 10th round pick in 2005, had been moved to the bullpen in double-A Reading. He is 4-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 28 relief appearances this season. And Spencer, a third-round pick last year, is hitting .249 with six homers and 41 RBIs for single-A Clearwater.
More to come ...
Here's a look ahead to the Phillies' second half (it looks a lot better in the paper, by the way).