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Thursday, July 17, 2008

A's Trade Joe Blanton To Phillies

Oakland has traded RHP Joe Blanton to Philadelphia in exchange for three prospects, LHP Josh Outman, 2B Adrian Cardenas, and OF Matt Spencer. Outman was in AA while Cardenas and Spencer were in single-A.

Cardenas was rated the Phils' number two prospect according to the Baseball America 2008 Prospect Handbook, and was the 2006 High School Player of the Year; a left-handed swinger, he has "middle-of-the-order" power potential. He's hitting .309/.374/.444 in the Florida State League.

Outman was the Phils' number four prospect, with a 3.20 ERA and a 5-4 record with AA Reading, striking out close to a batter an inning (66 K's over 70.1 IP, 37 BB). By last name alone, he's gotta be better than Grant Balfour.

Matt Spencer ranked 28th in the latest BA survey, he's scuffling a bit in single-A with a .249/.317/.367 line; he's had trouble controlling the strike zone at lower levels, too, and given his age, he needs to get better in a hurry.

As for what the Phils got, Joe Blanton has regressed very hard this year; he's now well below league-average. His peripherals have taken a big hit, too, as he's now treading on Jarrod Washburn levels of strikeouts (4.39 K/9) while giving up slightly more walks (2.48 BB/9, slightly up over his career mark of 2.39). Blanton's playing out his age 27 season, so there's a strong possibility that Oakland is selling high on him. Sudden declines in peripherals like this one are not an encouraging trend, so it's a good deal from Beane's point of view. Philadelphia can take some solace in that he's still getting quite a few outs on the ground (1.39 G/F), a good thing given the homerrific park he'll be moving to and the big drop in missed bats. The Phillies rotation is pretty shaky this year: they're 11th in the league in ERA, with two of their starters, Adam Eaton (77 ERA+) and Brett Myers (76 ERA+) significantly below average, and Eaton a significant risk to hit the disabled list. Blanton has been generally healthy, and he should pitch better in the National League. Overall I like this trade for both sides.

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