Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Dodgers acquire Phillies pitcher … Joe Blanton

Joe Blanton, the 31-year-old Phillies righthander, has been acquired by the Dodgers for a player to be named later.

Averaging 6 2/3 innings per start in 2012, Blanton has a 4.59 ERA (88 ERA+) with 7.8 strikeouts and a National League-best 1.2 walks per nine innings. He has allowed 9.5 hits per nine innings and a career-worst 1.5 home runs per nine innings. He was limited to 41 1/3 innings in 2011.

Blanton’s becomes a free agent at the end of this season — his 2012 salary is $8.5 million.

At least until Ted Lilly returns from the disabled list, Blanton will replace Stephen Fife, whose 2.16 ERA belies his 1.500 WHIP and 3.8 strikeouts per nine innings.

Update: Ben Duorino of Fangraphs (via Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness) on Blanton’s weird 2012 season.


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  1. Anonymous

    Why do we even need another starting pitcher…much less Blanton. The pitching has been FINE, the offense just needs to click.

    • Anonymous

      As the saying goes , you can never have too much pitching.
      How is Mr. Pfund’s curveball these days?

      • Anonymous

        The saying is wrong.  Even in these days of 12-13-man staffs, there’s a limit.  So the question is whether the guy you’re adding is better than the one you’re replacing, both on the 25-man roster, and on the 40-man, where the bumpee might not be a pitcher.

    • Anonymous

      Harang and Capuano have been slumping a bit, and a healthy Lilly is badly missed. Blanton is no game-changer, but a definite upgrade on Fife.

  2. Because Stephen Fife is a timebomb, Ted Lilly hasn’t proven he will be ready to deliver, and the Dodgers are one tired arm away from a rotation crisis.

    • Anonymous

      Fife deserves credit for pitching well in two of his three starts, but Blanton is clearly an upgrade even if he’s not Cliff Lee (who I expect would have been revoked if the Dodgers had put in a claim).

  3. Anonymous

    While I’m not a big Blanton fan, I think this is a solid acquisition.  

    • That’s how I feel. 

      • Anonymous

        As always, it depends on the cost.  I’ll wait and see who the PTBNL is.  If it’s organization fodder, and this is just about salary, then in this brave new world, I totally agree that this is an upgrade.  And that probably means that it must be an upgrade for 2012, no matter the cost.  But if they gave away one of the crown jewels…

    • Gustavo Mungaray

      something tells me Blanton will do better in Los Angeles than in that band box of the Phillies. Curious to see his splits

      • Peripherals are better than splits. 7.79 K/9 and 1.12 BB/9 for a 6.39 BB/K ratio. That is outstanding. He gives up a lot of HR but his HR/FB rate is historically high which indicates bad luck and I’m guessing could be blamed on CBP.

        Blanton is a very good pitcher that we just got for a warm body.

  4. Blanton’s xFIP the past two years has been 3.15 and 3.39. Kershaw’s a 3.36 this year, for comparison’s sake.

    Love this.

    • xFIP?  What’s that?  Blanton has spent a bunch of time on the DL the past 2 years, not sure what the sample sizes are.

        Expected Fielding Independent Pitching. This is an experimental stat that adjusts FIP and “normalizes” the home run component. Research has shown that home runs allowed are pretty much a function of flyballs allowed and home park, so xFIP is based on the average number of home runs allowed per outfield fly. Theoretically, this should be a better predicter of a pitcher’s future ERA.

  5. Anonymous

    I think Blanton, Scutaro, Kotsay, M Ellis and Haren are all A’s ’05 alums that came back to CA after playing out of state.

    • I think Mark Ellis is in that mix too, right?

      • Anonymous

         Yeah, fixed that with an edit.

        Bobby Crosby is the only real bust from that era.  We all thought Chavy was done, but now he’s playing for evil with Swish, of course.

        • Hiram Bocachica was on that team too… Could not get enough of that name when he was a Dodger. I don’t know why but it always made me laugh.

        • Anonymous

           Bobby Crosby never really had much to bust from.

  6. I would rather have Blanton out there every five days than Fife or the Harrangatang. I see this move as an upgrade of sorts.

    • Anonymous

      Harangutang!  Why haven’t I ever heard that?  So good.

      • Yeah I LOVE that nickname too. Got a friend in Cincy who says they’ve been calling him that for years. 

  7. Anonymous

    Certain  pitchers really seem to benefit from joining the Dodgers but I haven’t figured out how to predict which ones

  8. Gustavo Mungaray

    Wonder if they can pick up Jimmy Rollins off of waivers. But I dont see him getting that far down the waiver line.

  9. Anonymous

    The dreaded player to be named later! Does that mean the player hasn’t been selected yet but part of a pool of candidates?

    • Anonymous

      Is it too much to ask that the P2BNL has a five-letter surname that starts with “U” and ends with “e?”

      •  Figures to be a low-level minor leaguer or cash.

        • Anonymous

           I expected that, but we can always hope.

        • Anonymous

          I hope so, but I’m sure I’ve seen this used before to diffuse outrage in the fan base. I also think this is rare, and it is probably OK.

  10. He also has the highest K/BB ratio in the NL.


  11. Anonymous

    Is Tony Jackson on vacation?  Haven’t seen anything from him in awhile.

  12. Tony and ESPNLA have parted ways.

  13. Anonymous

    This deal makes me feel like my sister kissed me. 

  14. Anonymous

    Welcome to Colletti baseball.  Never get the best, always get by.  Blanton is a pitcher but that’s it.

    • Anonymous

      Feel alot better about him as #3 starter in a playoff series than Capuano or Harang.

      • Anonymous

        That is exactly what I was going to ask: who gets the ball in game 3: Cap, Harang, Lilly, or Blanton? Bypass Capuano wow!

        • Anonymous

          You are assuming Lilly will be healthy and effective. Big assumptions. Harang is a 5. Cap has been great this year, but reverting to normal lately. I’ll take a strikeout pitcher over the crafty lefty in that spot

  15. Tonight:
    Victorino LF
    Ellis 2B
    Kemp CF
    Ethier RF
    Ramirez SS
    Loney 1B
    Cruz 3B
    Ellis C
    Billingsley P

    •  Tonight’s positioning truly makes me wonder why Uribe was kept over Abreu.

      • Anonymous

        Just another part of Colletti baseball.

        • Anonymous

          Or Donnie baseball.  Why put guys at positions they haven’t played all year?  Why is he so hellbent on playing Hanley at SS?

          •  Maybe because God knows if Dee can play again this year no matter what the “reports” are. Until he does, he isn’t type thing. Maybe they are worried Cruz returns to his earth soon so they have to see if Hanley can really play the spot at least the rest of the year?? I say be happy they aren’t trying Uribe there yet.

          • Anonymous

            Because that is Hanley’s natural position and he was only moved to 3rd to accomedate Reyes.  I think Hanley is here for the duration.

        • Anonymous

          As an offensive lineup, I think it is beginning to look decent! But only if Loney gets hot and Victorino actually starts getting on base.

      • Anonymous

        I guess I don’t have to repeat my opinion, but at least Cruz is still in the lineup. Could the Dodgers, in theory, reinstate Abreu?

        •  In theory, he could clear waivers, the Dodgers could re-sign him and then make a corresponding move.

      • Anonymous

        I think batting Loney ahead of Cruz and Ellis is :(

  16. Anonymous

    According to MLBTR, Cliff Lee has been claimed, but no suggestion as to by whom. Not the Snakes, hopefully.

  17. Jon Paul Morosi reporting that it’s the Dodgers who put in the Lee claim. 

    • Anonymous

       I expect actually getting him is a longshot.

      • Maybe not. Morosi says no other NL team with a worse record than the Dodgers filed a claim…

        • Anonymous

          The problem is getting the Fillies to agree to a deal. I expect they’ll turn down any deal and keep Lee.

  18. foul tip

    How do Blanton and Dempster compare?

  19. The other thing is, we don’t know that Lilly is going to be effective when he comes back. I like this move a lot.

  20. Dempster clearly better this year and in general, but last year Dempster had a 4.80 ERA.

  21. Anonymous

     It would make sense to work Lilly back through long relief.

    • Anonymous

      For some reason, my first reaction to your comment was “what?  a left-handed long-relief guy?”  Obviously there’s no reason such a role couldn’t go to a southpaw, but I can’t think of too many examples.  Maybe Terry Mulholland for a while, Omar Daal?  I guess usually those guys are failed starters, and lefties are more apt to become LOOGY’s (i.e., hugely overspecialized wastes of roster space).  

      Still, not sure long relief would ease a pitcher back into the rotation, since the need for long relievers is so unpredictable and sporadic.  What they could do is share the 5th starter spot between Lilly and Fife or Wright or Harang – plan for each guy to pitch 4 innings.  Indeed, I think team should consider do that on a regular basis with that last rotation spot.  It would give the rest of the bullpen some regular rest as well.

  22. Anonymous

    Dodgers claimed Lee

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