Phillies Acquire Blanton

Dave · July 17, 2008 at 3:53 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The Phillies have acquired Joe Blanton from the A’s. You can cross Philly off the list of places Washburn or Bedard might end up. The M’s need to hurry up and dump Washburn before the few teams that might want him have moved on.

The Phillies gave up top second base prospect Adrian Cardenas (who I’m a big fan of), as well as 23-year-old southpaw Josh Outman, who isn’t much worse than Blanton right now. Pat Gillick continues his fine tradition of making horrible, franchise crippling trades as he walks away from an organization.

Comments

68 Responses to “Phillies Acquire Blanton”

  1. jephdood on July 17th, 2008 3:57 pm

    Seriously Phillies? Blanton?

    Sorry, but he’s not going to push you over the top.

    Neither would Washburn, however. :)

  2. Graham on July 17th, 2008 4:06 pm

    Sorry, but he’s not going to push you over the top.

    If you can improve your team you do it.

  3. galaxieboi on July 17th, 2008 4:10 pm

    And Blanton is an improvement over most of the guys the Phils have trotted out there this year.

  4. Dave on July 17th, 2008 4:14 pm

    Blanton’s marginally better than Josh Outman, one of the three kids Oakland got in return. In addition, Gillick gave up top second base prospect Adrian Cardenas. Gillick once again screws the future of a team on his way out the door – shocking, really.

  5. HamNasty on July 17th, 2008 4:15 pm

    Washburn would have been a nightmare in that stadium.

  6. CC03 on July 17th, 2008 4:19 pm

    Bedard was my hope for St.Louis anyways. Keyword hope. And my hope is Bedard/Ibanez for a package that includes Rasmus.

    I’m really not expecting anything substantial to come from the trade deadline for the M’s. Boo.

  7. msb on July 17th, 2008 4:30 pm

    Pat Gillick continues his fine tradition of making horrible, franchise crippling trades as he walks away from an organization.

    [snort]

    well, then, you know he’s gotta be coming back here.

  8. okobojicat on July 17th, 2008 4:33 pm

    Dave

    Gillick gave up top second base prospect Adrian Cardenas.

    The Phillies have a guy at 2B, who is signed through 2013, who is pretty damn good. I do agree with Dave that they gave up to much, but like the Cubs/A’s Harden trade, they gave up pieces that were not critical for this year, and probably not next. So, even if Cardenas is talented, even more talented than Dave and Derek are projecting him, this move makes them better this year and next (Blanton is under control for at least two more years).

    I can’t be too critical of Phillies for this trade, an I think you guys are being too critical.

  9. PCW on July 17th, 2008 4:35 pm

    A pitcher named Outman…heh.

  10. Dave on July 17th, 2008 4:37 pm

    Josh Outman is about 90% of Joe Blanton right now. If asked which one would pitch better for the Phillies down the stretch, it’s basically a coin flip.

    To give up Cardenas to exchange Outman for Blanton is outright stupidity. This trade isn’t defendable from Philly’s perspective.

  11. bratman on July 17th, 2008 4:38 pm

    Chalk another one up to BB …

    Remarkable – although Philly might 3 peat the MVP

  12. Matthew Carruth on July 17th, 2008 4:39 pm

    Dave,

    What kind of scouting report do you have on Outman? Blanton is about an average (to above) AL SP and Outman’s a soon to be 24-year-old in who’s putting up fine (but not eye-popping) numbers in the most pitching friendly AA league so that don’t seem at all close to me.

  13. coasty141 on July 17th, 2008 4:40 pm

    Blanton pitching in Citizens?

    Good time to sit in the bleachers.

  14. Mousse on July 17th, 2008 4:41 pm

    Speaking of “horrible, franchise crippling trades,” did anyone notice that Adam Jones has been moved up to the 2nd spot in the Orioles lineup?

  15. north on July 17th, 2008 4:43 pm

    This trade isn’t defendable from Philly’s perspective.

    Great for the A’s though. Beane fleeces again. He knows his team, while looking good in the first half, does not really have the talent this year.

    The A’s are little like the Ms of last year – outplaying their talent level. The difference is that Beane and the A’s know this and are acting accordingly.

  16. north on July 17th, 2008 4:44 pm

    Speaking of “horrible, franchise crippling trades,” did anyone notice that Adam Jones

    Bavasi was on his way out the door too.

  17. marc w on July 17th, 2008 4:47 pm

    I’m with Matthew – what about Outman makes you think he’s equivalent to Blanton right now?

    In the minors, Blanton K’d 8+ per 9 and walked slightly less than 1.7/9. That’s a hell of a ratio. Outman K’s a shade more, but walks over 4.4/9. And he’s older at each level than Blanton was.

    I’ve heard Outman touches 93-94, with a slider and a change. Anything else in the scouting report that would lead you to believe he’d be better than Blanton, or is it just the better FB plus the whole left handed thing? If anything, Outman’s more of a fly baller, which seems like it’d hurt in Philly.

    None of the preceding should change the overall assessment of the trade: this is a HUGE haul for Oakland, who, in my opinion, CLEARLY ‘won’ the deal.

  18. thefin190 on July 17th, 2008 4:49 pm

    Would a trade like this increase the value of Washburn?

  19. CC03 on July 17th, 2008 4:49 pm

    Adam Jones is hitting like .335 since June 1 too.

    I’d like to see Gillick and Bavasi combine powers someday, just to see how much havoc could be created.

  20. The Ancient Mariner on July 17th, 2008 4:58 pm

    CC03 — you already have . . .

  21. dw on July 17th, 2008 5:05 pm

    Blanton was one of the Moneyball draft guys, picked in the 1st round with a compensation pick from the Yankees for signing Giambi.

    I think the only player who has any MLB service time from the draft still with the A’s is Shane Komine. Mark Kiger was last seen in the M’s system, apparently.

  22. Dave on July 17th, 2008 5:06 pm

    Outman throws 90-93 with a knockout slider that’s a real outpitch, and he’s got a decent change that he can use to neutralize RHBs. His command needs work, no doubt, but the stuff is so much better than Blanton’s that it will make up for most of the walks.

    Blanton’s league average results have hinged entirely on his low HR rates. He’s basically a right-handed Jarrod Washburn. Get him out of Oakland and watch the HR rate rise, and he won’t look league average anymore.

    I’d say Blanton’s a true talent 4.5 FIP guy right now, and Outman’s probably a true talent 4.8 FIP guy. Over 200 innings, we’re talking less than a ten run difference. No way can you give up Adrian Cardenas for a ten run improvement that is likely to disappear as Outman improves his command and Blanton heads towards the end of his career.

  23. mgcoug2 on July 17th, 2008 5:10 pm

    The real questions is would you all have taken that package for Bedard or would you have waited and seen what you could have gotten closer to the deadline? Just playing Devil’s Advocate here.

  24. north on July 17th, 2008 5:14 pm

    The Phillies have a guy at 2B, who is signed through 2013, who is pretty damn good. I do agree with Dave that they gave up to much, but like the [...], this move makes them better this year and next (Blanton is under control for at least two more years).

    The Ms have a GM opening for the author of this comment.

  25. Graham on July 17th, 2008 5:16 pm

    Sorry, Dave, but I completely disagree regarding Blanton. Park-adjusting HR/fly isn’t hard and when you do it he still turns out average (and was significantly better than that last year.

    As you know, tRA more or less ignores park and defence effects, and it’s had him as average for a while.

  26. Dave on July 17th, 2008 5:17 pm

    Your entire argument is centered around the idea that Blanton can sustain a park adjusted 8% HR/FB rate. I say he can’t, and I don’t think you have any evidence that he can.

    tRA is great and all, but we still have to be able to identify an outlier when we see one.

  27. marc w on July 17th, 2008 5:22 pm

    Dave,
    What argument are you referring to? That Blanton is average?

    Seriously, his xFIP is less than 4.5 this year, and last year it was 4.13. That’s adjusting for his HR/FB rate, and it’s still above average.

    I can see an argument that his 2007 was an unsustainable fluke, but his 2008 has been pretty bad and he’s still got a half-decent xFIP.

    It’s the Washburn comp that I don’t think holds any water.

  28. mpowercc on July 17th, 2008 5:25 pm

    Everything I’m reading elsewhere about this trade (as well as the Harden and Sabathia deals) is emphasizing the improvement pitchers experience moving from the AL to the NL. This notion seems to be resulting in a continuing trend of struggling AL clubs dealing off older, often average, pitchers to NL clubs for prospects. Since these kind of transactions cripple teams on an individual basis with a fair amount of regularity, such a trend would seem to have the capacity to cripple the National League as a whole if it carries on long enough. Thoughts?

  29. Graham on July 17th, 2008 5:25 pm

    Is there any evidence that says Blanton is an outlier, though?

  30. Dave on July 17th, 2008 5:27 pm

    His xFIP since ’05 by year: 4.79, 5.07, 4.13, 4.45

    So, we’ve got below average, way below average, slightly above average, and below average.

    That’s not a league average pitcher. If he could sustain a 3/1 K/BB rate, okay, but he can’t.

  31. Dave on July 17th, 2008 5:28 pm

    You have to assume that a park adjusted 8% HR/FB rate is unsustainable unless there’s a huge, glaring reaosn why its not. The default assumption has to be that it’s not sustainable. If there’s reason to think it is, I’d love to hear it, but it seems like the argument in favor of Blanton being average assumes that his HR/FB rate is real.

  32. Paul L on July 17th, 2008 5:30 pm

    The thing that concerns me about all of this are the quotes from anonymous sources (of course) that we’re simply asking too much.

    Normally I’d blow this off, but I’ve heard it on more than one occasion over the last few years.

    I wonder if there’s any truth to it. It wouldn’t surprise me, since the reason we got these guys in the first place is because we overvalued them. We’re just trying to get what WE perceive to be fair market value, but the reality is our perception is skewed. In other words, we suck at talent evaluation.

  33. Graham on July 17th, 2008 5:33 pm

    Pitcher value doesn’t just come in terms of K/BB ratio, though. Blanton has above-average command, below average Ks, and is a touch above average at avoiding line drives and inducing grounders. Even if you regress his HR/fly to league average he still comes out fine.

  34. Mat on July 17th, 2008 5:35 pm

    It seems like the A’s have gotten a lot of pitchers with control problems recently (Gio Gonzalez, Sean Gallagher, now Outman.) I think it’s easier to teach someone to throw strikes than it is to teach someone to add movement to their pitch, but there’s definitely a risk that they won’t put it together.

    Gavin Floyd comes to mind as a guy who was supposed to have good stuff, but couldn’t throw enough strikes to be effective. Even with improved walk rates under Don Cooper, Floyd is not much to look at.

    That said, Blanton for Cardenas straight up would probably have been a reasonble deal for the A’s.

  35. Mousse on July 17th, 2008 5:36 pm

    And, he’ll now be throwing to pitchers.

  36. Graham on July 17th, 2008 5:37 pm

    And yeah, I agree that 8% is unsustainable. I got confused in my earlier reply to you, I think

  37. kenshin on July 17th, 2008 5:38 pm

    Re: 34

    That argument never makes sense to me. Every pitcher in the NL receives a boost by facing opposing pitchers. It does not make them one iota more valuable than they would be in the AL. It only makes them appear so.

  38. Graham on July 17th, 2008 5:39 pm

    Oh, and right now his swingingK% has dropped significantly without as big a drop in swinging strikes – I’d say we can expect the strikeouts to improve too (and not just by getting out of Oakland).

  39. Dave on July 17th, 2008 5:44 pm

    2005-2008 weighted averages.

    Blanton: 2.39 BB/G, 5.15 K/G, 44.5% GB%, 19.4% LD%
    Washburn: 2.69 BB/G, 5.07 K/G, 38.4% GB%, 19.6% LD%

    The command difference works out to one walk every three games. The GB% makes Blanton better, but there’s no way it makes the difference as big as it’s being made out to be.

  40. abender20 on July 17th, 2008 5:49 pm

    I’m sickened. If Bedard was healthy, the M’s could have Cardenas and maybe even Carrasco.

  41. Dave on July 17th, 2008 5:51 pm

    Carrasco is overrated.

  42. Graham on July 17th, 2008 5:56 pm

    I think that the GB and HBP+BB differences make Blanton about 0.3 R/9 better than Washburn, which is pretty close to average. The data fairy seems to have vanished so I’m having trouble getting this year’s out/run values to check this properly though.

  43. Graham on July 17th, 2008 5:58 pm

    Checking while assuming identical HR rates, that is.

  44. Dave on July 17th, 2008 6:03 pm

    The difference in run value of a groundball versus an outfield fly is about 0.15 runs, if I remember correctly, and the run value of a non-intentional walk is about .3 runs.

    So, the one extra walk every three games is about .1 run per game, and the gb rate is worth about .25 runs per game. So, your .3 R/9 estimate for the difference between Washburn/Blanton is about right.

    And I’d continue to argue that .3 R/9 isn’t that big of a difference. We’re talking less than ten runs a year.

  45. gag harbor on July 17th, 2008 6:15 pm

    Graham,
    I have to say that I’m immensely impressed with Dave’s argument.

  46. Graham on July 17th, 2008 6:15 pm

    Sure, but I have Washburn at something like -1 wins against average, which pushes Blanton to averageish.

  47. Dave on July 17th, 2008 6:19 pm

    You like both Washburn and Blanton more than I do, I guess.

  48. Steve T on July 17th, 2008 6:20 pm

    Blanton may only be an average baseball pitcher, but he really rocked the bass on those old early-forties Ellington sides.

    Sorry, that’s the Blanton that always pops into my mind when I hear the name, even now.

  49. Graham on July 17th, 2008 6:21 pm

    Looking back at last year, there’s a huge cluster of AL pitchers between -10 and 0 runs on the year. I don’t even know where I’m going with this one, but I thought it was interesting.

  50. Dave on July 17th, 2008 6:23 pm

    Yea, I think replacement level for pitching is closer to average than it is at other positions. It’s just not that hard to find a guy to throw 150-180 innings and not be horrible, even if the M’s totally suck at it.

  51. Graham on July 17th, 2008 6:26 pm

    You like both Washburn and Blanton more than I do, I guess.

    I wonder if this has anything to do with Fangraphs’s PBP info being different to what Matthew and I use.

  52. Graham on July 17th, 2008 6:29 pm

    The defence doesn’t help the cause either. Cost poor Jeff Weaver 21 outs and 20 runs last year, turning him from replacement level to abominable.

  53. JSully on July 17th, 2008 6:40 pm

    As someone from the Bay Area who sees quite a few A’s games, Blanton’s no great shakes. Pretty good depth on the curve but he just can’t miss bats so he’s forced to rely on his defense (which has been very good during his entire tenure with Oakland).

    During his two good years, ERA-wise (2005 and 2007) he benefited from the following:

    2005: BABIP of .241 (second in the AL. First? Barry Zito, also with Oakland.)
    2007: 3.5 K/BB ratio, nearly double the rest of his MLB career

    So if he walks nobody or gets really lucky on balls in play, then he looks like a superficially good pitcher. Otherwise, see his 2006 and his 2008. There’s so much variation in the runs he allows because his style isn’t based around outcomes that a pitcher has any control over.

  54. joser on July 17th, 2008 7:09 pm

    People who follow the M’s may have a skewed impression of Blanton because he’s pitched better against the Mariners than against the other teams in the AL West (or other teams in general).

  55. Dave on July 17th, 2008 7:12 pm

    I pulled the stats in #39 from THT, since I assumed that’s where the data feeding tRA came from.

  56. Graham on July 17th, 2008 7:18 pm

    We pull data directly off MLB.com (for easy automation’s sake) – it’s one of the reasons we had to recalculate run and out values.

  57. JI on July 17th, 2008 7:26 pm

    Bedard was my hope for St.Louis anyways. Keyword hope. And my hope is Bedard/Ibanez for a package that includes Rasmus

    What possible use could St. Louis have for Ibanez?

  58. joser on July 17th, 2008 7:31 pm

    I still like Putz and Betancourt to the Dodgers for Andre Ethier and Chin Lung Hu (plus some other minor leaguer if Putz looks healthy between his return and the trade deadline). I know Dave was saying they could get that for just Betancourt, but I’m a pessimal realist.

  59. scott19 on July 17th, 2008 7:32 pm

    54: Once the M’s finally figured out Blanton, though, they were able to beat him up a couple of times.

    I’d like to see Gillick and Bavasi combine powers someday, just to see how much havoc could be created.

    Add Ed Wade to that mix and you’d have the New Three Stooges! :)

  60. CaptainPoopy on July 17th, 2008 7:38 pm

    I’ve read a rumor with the Twins. Liriano and Cuddyer for a power-hitting 3rd baseman. That sounds as though Beltre’s being talked about?

  61. Mr. Awesome on July 17th, 2008 8:16 pm

    WOW. We had a chance to deal Ibanez and/or Bedard for some 2nd or 3rd tier prospects, and we get nothing. Typical, even when we’re dealing with Stand Pat. We still have all the problems and no solutions. What a mess.

  62. msb on July 17th, 2008 8:28 pm

    We had a chance to deal Ibanez

    let’s see. the Dbacks chose a player they all know, who they love for his leadership & mentoring, who knows the NL & their park and is owed about $450,000 vs a player just the manager knows, who has been in the AL all his career, and is owed about $3M.

  63. edgar for mayor on July 17th, 2008 8:36 pm

    let’s see. the Dbacks chose a player they all know, who they love for his leadership & mentoring, who knows the NL & their park and is owed about $450,000 vs a player just the manager knows, who has been in the AL all his career, and is owed about $3M

    And [h]e wasn’t asking for Max S. What[']s the deal[,] Pelekoudas?

  64. JSully on July 18th, 2008 12:25 am

    Hey Dave, I just read Keith Law’s writeup on ESPN about the Blanton trade and he seems to have a fairly stark difference in opinion from you on the players Oakland received (he thinks Outman is a LOOGY and Cardenas is an average-at-best 2B). Just curious where you think the difference in your opinion from his lies.

  65. Squiggy on July 18th, 2008 5:49 am

    Franchise crippling? Come on, I know Gillick isn’t loved around these parts, but that’s some heavy hyperbole right there.

    Trading 2 A-ball players (1 a genuine prospect), and a mediocre AA pitcher for 2 years of a decent MLB starter is not even in the same zip code as “franchise crippling”. The Phillies did not give up any of their higher-level top prospects, nor anyone from the big-league club. The Bedard trade, now that’s a crippler.

  66. terry on July 18th, 2008 7:53 am

    It’s not even a sure bet that Cardenas sticks at second….. he may end up in a corner.

  67. BobbyMac on July 18th, 2008 9:55 am

    Blanton’s league average results have hinged entirely on his low HR rates. He’s basically a right-handed Jarrod Washburn. Get him out of Oakland and watch the HR rate rise, and he won’t look league average anymore.

    I’d say Blanton’s a true talent 4.5 FIP guy right now, and Outman’s probably a true talent 4.8 FIP guy.

    Interesting that you mention increasing HR rate for Blanton, but not for Outman, who has allowed 3 HR on 61 flies so far.

    For Blanton, the HR effect would have been between 2 to 3 HR so far this year (using +20% HR/FB% adjustment going from ~9% to ~11%).

    As a fan of neither team, I’m interested to see what happens when he goes to an environment with a DER 22 points lower. That could potentially have a much larger impact than a couple extra homers.

  68. marc w on July 18th, 2008 10:04 am

    Any idea why the Phils moved Outman to the bullpen this year? Were there injury/tiredness issues when he was a starter? Or is this just a way to get him to the show quicker?

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