Dodgers Deal For Blanton To Fill Rotation Opening

The Deal
The Phillies failed to work out a deal to send righthander Joe Blanton to the Orioles prior to July 31, but they quickly found a suitor in the days immediately following the trade deadline once they placed the veteran on waivers. The Dodgers claimed Blanton and subsequently worked out a trade to acquire him from Philadelphia, promising the Phillies a player to be named who on Aug. 16 turned out to be 21-year-old righthander Ryan O’Sullivan.
 
Phillies Acquire
Ryan O’Sullivan, rhp

Age: 21. Born: Sep 5, 1990 in El Cajon, Calif.

Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 190.

Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: Oklahoma City.

Career Transactions: Selected by Dodgers in fourth round of 2011 draft; signed Aug. 15, 2011.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Great Lakes (MWL) LoA 5 4 2.92 15 9 0 71 52 32 23 3 23 43 1.06
R. Cucamonga (CAL) HiA 3 2 3.57 14 0 0 18 21 12 7 2 8 12 1.64

Los Angeles had to wait to a couple weeks to trade O’Sullivan because one year had not elapsed since his signing date. The younger brother of Blue Jays righty Sean O’Sullivan, Ryan began the year in the Great Lakes bullpen before joining the rotation on May 3 and going 4-2, 2.73 with 31 strikeouts and 18 walks over 56 innings in that role. A promotion to Inland Empire followed on June 25, along with a demotion to the bullpen. O’Sullivan held Cal League righthanded batters in check—they batted .211/.286/.316 (8-for-38)—with his low-90s heat and solid slider, but lefties tattooed him for a .382 average, two homers and only one whiff in 34 at-bats. Given the effort in his delivery and shaky changeup, he probably fits best in a relief role.

 
Dodgers Acquire
Joe Blanton, rhp

Age: 31. Throws: R. Contract Terms: Signed three-year, $24 million deal for 2010-12 seasons.

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) Year W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Philadelphia (NL) 2012 8 9 4.59 21 20 0 133 141 74 68 22 18 115 1.19
3-Year Totals

18 17 4.75 61 56 0 350 399

201 185 54 70 284 1.34

Remaining Commitment: Approximately $2.8 million for August and September, then eligible for free agency in the offseason.

Impact On Dodgers Depth Chart: Blanton served as durable No. 4 starter on the Phillies’ back-to-back NL pennant winners in 2008-09—he literally started Game Four of both World Series—but his effectiveness has waned significantly in the past three seasons. The 4.75 ERA above tells part of the story, but his ballpark- and league-adjusted ERA actually paints an uglier picture. Blanton’s 85 ERA+ in since 2010 indicates that he’s been roughly 15 percent less effective than the average pitcher. The Dodgers didn’t give up much talent to get Blanton, however, and he takes the rotation spot held previously by rookies Nate Eovaldi (who was traded to the Marlins for Hanley Ramirez) and Stephen Fife, so if nothing else he’ll be able to cover more innings and keep reliever workloads in check. If they make the playoffs, the Dodgers can dump Blanton in a long relief role and go with a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang.

 

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