Joe Blanton, who is known for eating innings, was acquired by the Phillies for three prospects as the Phillies prepare for the second half of the season. The Phillies sent infielder Adrian Cardenas, pitcher Josh Outman and outfielder Matt Spencer.
The Phillies saw Blanton first hand on their trip to the West Coast and he threw seven strong innings against them. The outing was one of the best this season for Blanton, who has struggled with a 5-12, 4.96 mark for Oakland. The numbers are a marked difference from what Blanton produced last season for Oakland when he went 14-10 with a 3.95 ERA. Blanton throws a lot of innings, averaging 208 innings per season over the past three seasons. He's already thrown 127 innings this season.
Cardenas was one of the prospects that the Phillies least wanted to give up in any deals. Cardenas was hitting .309 at High-A Clearwater and has played both shortstop and second base in his time with the Phillies organization, but had played strictly at second base this season at Clearwater. Philly Baseball News ranked him as the Phillies second best prospect coming into the season and he definitely hadn't lost any ground with his performance at Clearwater.
For Outman, the deal will likely give him a chance to return to the starting rotation. The Phillies switched him to a relief role earlier this season at Double-A Reading and he was catching on to the role of late and had lowered his ERA as a reliever by nearly a full run from his monthly numbers from May to June. In six games this month for Reading, Outman had a 1.86 ERA. Outman, a left-hander, was ranked as the Phillies fifth best prospect by Philly Baseball News coming into this season.
In Spencer, the Phillies gave up a left-handed hitter with some power potential, but a guy who was scuffling a little for Clearwater, hitting .249 with 6 home runs and 41 RBI this season. Spencer hit .263 at Williamsport last season after playing two seasons of independent ball before signing a minor league deal with the Phillies after the 2006 season. Spencer was ranked 19th on the Philly Baseball News list of the organization's 75 best prospects coming into the season.
Blanton was a first round pick of the A's in 2002 and is the second starter to be dealt to the National League by Oakland in the past week. Last week, Oakland GM Billy Beane sent Rich Harden to the Chicago Cubs and has now pulled the trigger on dealing Blanton, which was long rumored to happen. Ironically, Blanton's exit could open a rotation spot for former Phillies prospect Gio Gonzalez, who has been pitching well at Triple-A for Oakland.
Blanton had been scheduled to pitch Friday night for Oakland when they open a series at Yankee Stadium, but he will likely be pushed back until next Wednesday and pitch against the Mets in New York. It seems likely that Blanton, who isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season, will take the rotation spot of Adam Eaton, who has struggled throughout the season.