Back in June, I asked if Joe Blanton was throwing too many strikes. It seemed that he was afraid to walk anyone.
During his time with the Phillies this season, Blanton’s K/BB ratio was 6.39, eclipsing his previous career high of 3.50 set in 2007 with Oakland. Big Joe was absolutely pounding the strike zone this season, almost to a fault. By throwing it over the plate with such regularity, he allowed 22 home runs in 133 1/3 innings with the Phillies, and 29 overall, serving up seven more following his deadline trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
As an aside, I was standing on the field at the moment Joe Blanton had been traded. I noticed Blanton was not on the field prior to one of the games while the rest of his teammates stretched at roughly 4 pm. Minutes later, he was gone, one of the remaining pieces of the 2008 title team headed west.
The Dodgers picked up Blanton on August 4, past the non-waiver deadline, because he was available on the cheap – he cost L.A. just a player-to-be-named later, which turned out to be minor league pitcher Joe O’Sullivan. The Dodgers looked to solidify their rotation and make a run at the postseason, which in the end turned out to be a fruitless endeavor following several blockbuster moves.
The Phillies made Blanton expendable because they were going nowhere fast and Blanton was not doing much to push them in the right direction anyway. Sure, his walk numbers were as low as ever, but Blanton did not take any steps forward in becoming a better pitcher. He was the same old Joe Blanton, putting up a 4.59 ERA over 20 starts. Same old, same old.
Basically, he was just an average pitcher, as he was for his tenure in Philadelphia. Grading his three-year, $24 million contract is easy; it was a bad move by Ruben Amaro. Sure he can eat innings, but you can find guys to do that in a mediocre fashion all over baseball and for cheaper.
As for this past season, he was average. Sorry, Big Joe.
Grade: C-, He didn’t do anything spectacularly except not walk people. But that just meant a lot of hits and home runs.