Dodgers acquire Joe Blanton
The right-hander was sent from the Phillies to the Dodgers after Los Angeles claimed him on waivers. A source confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com that the player to be named later would be a minor leaguer.
Blanton is expected to join the team Saturday, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was still unsure as of Friday night when Blanton would make his first start with the team. Blanton was scheduled to start Friday for Philadelphia against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
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No, Joe Blanton isn't Cliff Lee. But the former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher still fills a need for the Los Angeles Dodgers, writes Ramona Shelburne. Blog
"It was a little bit of a shock, especially since the trade deadline had passed," Blanton said. "But when you're in trade rumors, you've got to be ready to do whatever. And I was happy if I stayed. At the same time, it will be a new thing, a new adventure to go. And that's always fun."
The 31-year-old Blanton is 8-9 with a 4.59 ERA in 20 starts and one relief appearance. He will now join outfielder Shane Victorino, who was traded from Philadelphia to Los Angeles on Tuesday. The last-place Phillies also dealt outfielder Hunter Pence to San Francisco earlier this week.
Blanton is making $8.5 million and, like Victorino, can become a free agent after the season.
"We felt that a veteran starter who has pitched in big games and pitched in the month of October is someone we should pursue," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "We had actually talked about him a while back and again on trading deadline eve and we couldn't get the combination of Shane and Joe in the same deal, so we waited to make the deal."
When Victorino heard the news about Blanton while sitting in the Dodgers' clubhouse, he smiled as he looked up at the television to see one of his former teammates would be joining him in Los Angeles.
"Getting Joe is very big and very crucial," Victorino said. "It shows what this team wants to do to me. Bringing in all these guys, it shows that this team wants to win, and it's about now. They don't want to wait around."
Victorino's smile turned wider when he saw another report on television that the Dodgers put a claim in on Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee. Philadelphia eventually pulled back the offer for the left-hander.
"Maybe I'll go talk to Ned and see who else he might want to go after," Victorino said. "I'll give him my recommendations."
The Dodgers felt the need to make the move for Blanton after Ted Lilly was scratched from a rehab appearance with High-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday night due to a setback with his left shoulder. Mattingly wasn't sure when Lilly would be healthy enough to return to the rotation but said he could have a bullpen session in the next couple of days.
"Teddy kind of went backwards (with his rehab), and this is a move that makes us a little bit better," Mattingly said. "It gives us more depth in our staff. He's going to be a good addition for us."
Lilly was 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA over his first eight starts this season before he was placed on the disabled list May 24 with left shoulder inflammation. He threw two scoreless innings in his first rehab appearance on Sunday, but began to feel discomfort soon after.
"I'm just pushing it as far as I can," Lilly said. "Obviously, I would love to come back and contribute to the club this year. ... I'm not there where I need to be, but I need to be positive."
While the cost-cutting Phillies are preparing for 2013, the Dodgers entered Friday a half-game behind San Francisco in the NL West. Blanton bolsters a rotation that includes reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.
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"He brings a strike-thrower, that's for sure," Mattingly said. "He's a guy with experience who has pitched down the stretch and pitched in the World Series. He brings quality."
Blanton earned a World Series ring the last time he was traded, from the Oakland A's to the Phillies in 2008, and is hoping for an encore this season.
"You play for the postseason and a chance to go to the World Series. And they're in a good position," Blanton said. "They have a very good team over there. Pitching against them, I know how good their lineup is. They're in a good position right now. So that's always exciting. They're fighting to win out there, and that's always exciting to be a part of."
Blanton was 34-25 with a 4.47 ERA in 100 starts and five relief appearances with the Phillies. Since 2008, Blanton has the fourth-best winning record among all major league starters after the All-Star break at 17-6. He's 38-20 with a 3.83 ERA in 99 games (91 starts) after the break in his career.
Overall, Blanton is 81-71 with a 4.25 ERA in nine seasons. He's 2-0 with a 4.02 ERA in 10 postseason games, including six starts.
The five-time defending NL East champion Phillies have been stuck in last place since June and are dumping salaries. They've trimmed enough off their payroll to avoid having to pay the luxury tax this year.
When Colletti was asked if the Dodgers were done making moves this season, he smiled.
"We're done until the next one," he said.