Monday, July 21, 2008

Cupcakes Sent To Philadelphia

Billy Beane has shipped out another starting pitcher, Joe Blanton, to the Phillies in return for three prospects. That makes 40% of their starting rotation that's been sent packing (and yet the A's can still field a pitching staff - the O's lose a couple of guys to injuries, and they have to sign Victor's Zambrano and Santos).

The A’s got (courtesy of Baseball Prospectus):

Josh Outman, 23 year-old LHP, was moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen early this season and went 5-4 with one save and a 3.20 ERA in 33 games, five starts, with a 1.49 WHIP and 8.45 strikeouts and 4.73 walks per nine innings in AA.

Adrian Cardenas, 20 year-old 2B, was hitting .309/.374/.444 in A-ball.

Matt Spencer, 22 year-old OF, was batting .249/.317/.367 in A-ball.

The Phillies got:

Joe Blanton, 27 year-old RHSP, is 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA in 20 starts this season with 1.42 WHIP and 4.39 strikeouts and 2.84 walks per nine innings.

Outman has a shot of becoming a decent mid-rotation starter, or at least a swingman; Cardenas probably won’t set the world on fire, but he does have the ability to hit for average, get on base, and knock out some doubles – that he’s 16-16 in stolen base attempts this year is just a bonus; and Spencer probably won’t amount to all that much, but isn’t awful as a throw-in.

Blanton is a hittable innings-eater that has survived by limiting the long-ball. Considering he doesn’t get that many groundballs, and played in a pitcher’s park, the move to homer-friendly Citizen’s Bank may well do more harm than good (even considering the switch to the NL). Philadelphia will have control of Blanton through 2010, but it’ll his arbitration years instead of as part of a long-term contract, so he won’t be getting that much less than his market price.

I like this deal a for the A’s. They don’t really hurt themselves much by giving up Blanton; get a guy that may eventually replace him in Outman; and add another talented middle-infielder to their system. With the Angels 9 games ahead of them in the AL West, and clearly the better team, it was smart of Beane to start moving pitchers when few are available (with Erik Bedard being the notable exception, but he’s apparently out until August anyway). Huston Street may find himself in a different uniform in the coming weeks also (perhaps the Mets, with Billy Wagner experiencing some shoulder pain). The Phillies do strengthen their rotation a little, but I don’t know if it’ll be enough to hold off the Mets. This is the kind of deal I could have seen given Blanton’s value before the season started, but with the way he’s pitched this year I didn’t think a team would give up this much for him.

No comments: