The Phillies got help for their starting rotation, acquiring righthander Joe Blanton from Oakland for three minor leaguers -- infielder Adrian Cardenas, lefthander Josh Outman and outfielder Matt Spencer. Cardenas was the No. 2 prospect in the Phillies' system, according to Baseball America, and Outman was ranked No. 4.

Blanton, 27, once considered one of the A's top young prospects, but has had a disappointing season thus far. He is 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA and has lost six of his last eight starts. He has a 3.87 ERA in 17 of his 20 starts and is tied for sixth in the American League in innings (127), having gone at least six innings in 16 starts. Blanton has the seventh-lowest run support average in the AL.

In his four-year career, Blanton is 47-46 with a 4.25 ERA.

One of his victories this season came against the Phillies on June 24. Blanton's only mistake in seven innings was a Pat Burrell home run in the A's 5-2 victory.

"It's one of those deals where it's very bittersweet," Blanton told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'm going to a very good team with a very good lineup. They're in the division hunt and they're out to win a championship, and that's what any player wants. But I've always been with the A's, and I have great relationships there. It's one of those double-sided coins."

Like Brett Myers did for the Phillies, Blanton was Oakland's Opening Day starter. He gave up three runs in 6 2/3 innings in a loss to Boston in Japan. 

"We've been attempting to upgrade our rotation and we feel like we've done that," Phillies assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle said in a statement. "We think Joe is a very strong, competitive pitcher that has the mental makeup to pitch productively in a pennant race. He pitches a lot of innings and takes some burden off the bullpen."

Outman, 23, was 5-4 with one save and a 3.20 ERA in 33 games (5 starts) for Double A Reading.

Cardenas, 20, was hitting .309 in 67 games for Single A Clearwater.

Spencer, 22, was hitting .249 with six home runs and 41 RBI in 84 games for Clearwater.