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Blanton Trade Was Worth It

On July 18, the Phillies traded Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman and Matt Spencer to Oakland for Joe Blanton. At the time, not many liked the trade, including me:

“I’ve written the Phils need a pitcher who can go deep into games, dominate most teams and line up against other No. 2 starters in key games. Does Blanton (with his 6 IP, 3 ER starts) do such a thing? No. He’s Kyle Kendrick. He’s Jamie Moyer. He’s just another back piece.”

What nobody realized was Brett Myers would perform like a No. 2 pitcher during the second half, and that the collective rotation would toss a bunch of quality starts in the postseason. Blanton, meanwhile, performed at about the rate of a No. 3 starter (including playoffs):

87.2 IP / 6-0 / 39 ER / 82 H / 67 K / 37 BB / 4.00 ERA

As for what the club gave up:

Cardenas (AA): 26 G / .279 AVG / .392 OBP / .326 SLG / 0 HR / 7 RBI
Outman (AAA): 15.1 IP / 1-0 / 1.76 ERA / 15 K / 5 BB
Spencer (A+): 41 G / .331 AVG / .374 OBP / .556 SLG / 8 HR / 27 RBI

Outman finished the year in Oakland, going 1-2 with an ERA over 4.50 for the Athletics in four starts. He could begin 2009 in the A’s rotation. Cardenas has struggled a little since moving to AA, while Spencer has rejuvenated himself in A-ball over there.

Obviously prospects are high for the hard-throwing Outman, and still high for the young Cardenas. Blanton may always be a pitcher who hovers around 4.20 or so — his pitching style will probably never make him dominant — but for what he gave the Phils (a push to the championship through consistent pitching), he was worth his weight … literally.

Moreover, the Phils have him for another two years through arbitration rules. In trading away Cardenas, Outman and Spencer, the Phils received 2.5 years of Blanton and — in a way — a world championship. I’ll take that.

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