Well, that was quick. After not being able to work out a deal with the Orioles for Joe Blanton, the Phillies dealt the starter to the Dodgers in exchange for a player to be named later or cold hard cash. Ahhhh, the typical waiver claim deal.
Blanton will be a free agent after the season, and while a trade for him isn't nearly as monumental as the rumblings surrounding Cliff Lee when he was put on waivers, it's another significant move for a Phillies team that is waving the white flag this year. Blanton, who was scheduled to start tonight against the Diamondbacks, has posted career best strikeout and walk rates for the Phillies this year in 133 1/3 innings. However, his 1.49 homer rate is a career worst, and the resulting 4.59 ERA looks pretty damn ugly. You can't even blame Citizens Bank Park for Blanton's troubles this year, as his ERA is identical on the home and road, and he's actually allowing a higher OPS on the road.
Blanton will join a Dodgers rotation that features four pitchers that have made 20 starts each. After rookie fifth starter Stephen Fife lasted just 4 1/3 innings on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks, a move for a veteran seemed like more of a possibility, especialy after talks for Ryan Dempster fell apart on Tuesday. It's worth noting that Ted Lilly will be making a rehab start for high-A Rancho Cucamonga tonight, and if all goes well, he could be ready for the majors quite soon. Lilly's return would give the Dodgers one outstanding starter (Clayton Kershaw), one solid, younger starter (Chad Billingsley), and four mediocre to average veterans to fill out their rotation.
This trade for Blanton absolutely isn't a game-changer by any means, but it does give the Dodgers more insurance if Lilly is unable to return or be effective in the rotation this season.
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