The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired right-handed veteran pitcher Joe Blanton from the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations. He has made 11 relief appearances and four starts this year, posting a 3.89 ERA in 41.2 innings. He will join the team Thursday in Cincinnati. A corresponding move will be announced at that time.

As a starter, he has had some trouble, with a 5.30 ERA in 18.2 innings. Out of the bullpen, which included an extended outing against the Pirates last week, Blanton has a 2.74 ERA in 23 innings, with 23 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP.  He threw 3.2 shutout innings against the Pirates last Tuesday and struck out five batters.

In his 11-year career, the 34-year-old Blanton has a 4.50 ERA in 1609 innings, making 252 starts and 28 relief appearances. He has extensive postseason experience, making six starts and four relief appearances over five different seasons, with a 4.02 ERA in 40.1 innings.

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72 COMMENTS

    • I would think the manager and his staff would have had input on this move. Clint says in the interviews that he is consulted. Worley goes down to be a starter………We will se if he gets claimed.

  1. And there you have it. Blanton over Worley. I guess they figured if they needed a spot starter it’d be Liz. They probably see Blanton as a 2-3 inning guy if need be.

  2. Anyone have a dream trade for the next 24 hours? Mine would be Samardzija/LaRoche from the sox for prospect positions that we have depth at.

    • Imma guess that would mean Diaz and Hanson +a pitcher of teen level prospect status. CHW need a catcher badly and their closest 2B prospect has enough defensive issues at that spot to have some believe he wont stick and move to OF.

    • If the Pirates took LaRoche Chicago would have to give them Samrdzija for free.

      A well-below average 35 year old platoon hitter with no defensive value and more than $15m left on his contract has negative value.

      • I guess one’s feelings on LaRoche depend on how one interprets his numbers vis a vis Bucs’ current 1b situation. As I mentioned last week, I was looking at his 127 wRC+ as a 1b, not the DH #s. And I do believe that there’s a valid argument to be made there.

        10 days ago, I’d have gone for a LaRoche/Pedro swap and yes, it would’ve been out of desperation because Pedro’s play was horrible. But it also would’ve made sense to overpay – context is everything. IMO, that would’ve been a win-win for both teams. Bucs would get an upgrade at 1b (cost aside, Adam would’ve be an upgrade), Sox get a cheaper DH. There was no concern over losing prospects, it was a simple deal between two players and the difference in money on contracts. When you’re in a race, you make those kinds of moves, IMO.

        But Pedro has looked significantly better since then… and optimist that I am, I’m OK with him staying there.

        • Does anybody here know the real story on Byrd? Does he have a straight no-trade? Is he using that to try to force a trade partner to assume his next year option even though he will not get the qualifying at bats due to injury?

        • I can appreciate the DH Penalty argument, but I don’t trust any sort of split comparison based on well under a season’s worth of at bats. LaRoche isn’t as bad as his DH numbers, but at age 35 with increasing K’s and decreasing power I also don’t see any reason to believe he’s as good as his 1B numbers.

          Even assuming he’s an average hitter, that’s still not really an upgrade considering his defense has declined and he still can’t hit LHP.

          I like the idea of the swap you proposed a lot, just not the player.

  3. Was looking at the Phillies haul for Hamels. The Rangers gave up their #2, 3, 5, & 13 for him. According to MLB.com’s list, that’s Austin Meadows, Josh Bell, Alen Hanson, and Willy Garcia. I wouldn’t do that in a million years.

    • difference is our 2.3,5 is much better than their 2,3,5. Keith Law has Meadows at 18 and Alfero at 49 in his midseason rankings

      • Its still gonna be likely 2 top 10 from out system, and 2 15-20ish. Not a ton, but enough value to make teams pause unless they have a big need at the top of the rotation.

      • This is a tough comparison because many are split on the Rangers huge ceiling/high risk prospects.

        As far as value goes, Jake Thompson would be equivalent to Jameson Taillon, Jorge Alfaro = Reese McGuire, Nick Williams a young Starling Marte, and Jerad Eikhoff = Adrian Sampson’s ceiling.

        That plus a current Big League starter (Matt Harrison).

        The Phillies did really, really well here.

      • Price has been dealt, and the Padres are said to be dealing their whole rotation before the deadline. Blanton was a DFA pickup. This year everybody is taking prospects so you have to think we can upgrade one or more of right handed bat, bullpen and 1st base with all our prospects. GMs are back to taking AA and A prospects which we have in abundance. I hope Chapman goes somewhere else this afternoon.

        • MLBTraderumors reported yesterday even SD is unsure of its strategy. They may sell it all, or they may be far more cautious with what it parts with. Thats a team going into the last day of the deadline unsure of its plan.

          Far from sure its dealing their entire rotation. You are just trolling now.

  4. Is anyone shocked that the Cards paid what they did for Brandon Moss? Rob Kaminsky, their #4 prospect I believe. They paid more for Moss, than the Nationals paid for Papelbon. Strange to me….I would have been incensed if the Pirates traded a guy like Meadows, Bell, Hanson, or Taillon for Moss…

    • #3 according to MLB.com. That would be Josh Bell in our system who very well could be better than Brandon Moss by next year.

      • I am taking the contrarian view on the Moss-Kaminsky trade. It is a good deal for Cards and bad news for us…why?
        1. Moss is a 2014 All-Star with 50 RBIs and 15 homers this year, on a bad team.
        2. Moss has three years experience in the playoffs
        3. Holliday went down for good last night-leaving a gaping hole.
        4. Cards can afford him and have him under control for next year
        5. Moss very motivated to beat Bucs…we screwed up his career
        6. Cards suddenly couldn’t score this week
        7.Cards gave up ONE SINGLE A PROSPECT PITCHER who doesn’t have power strike out numbers. Is his health and major league success guaranteed? Of course not.
        If you want to win the World Series how is this not a great move for the Cardinals?
        Meanwhile, the Pirates are sitting on so many prospects we could lose SIX(6), that’s right six in the Rule 5 draft.
        If we end up just dumpster diving it will be a huge disappointment.

        • Sorry michael, but I stopped reading at “If you want to win a world series…”.

          The literal definition of a straw man.

        • I agree about the dumpster diving. Us Pirates fans do have a habit of wanting to horde prospects. I still wouldn’t give up Bell for Moss. I feel like the equivalent in the Bucs system would be Kingham. I feel like there’d be outrage on here if the Pirates gave up Kingham for even Lind.

        • 1. Its 2015, and you used possibly the 2 least informative stats possible. I get why, because the other stats are ugly. He hits HRs is basically what you said. So does Pedro.

          2. If veteran presence is big, our trades for A Ram and Blanton are awesome.

          3. This fills that hole with half poo. Still have a rookie as the best option at 1b (unless you play Moss there) and an average OFer at best.

          4. Price and control arent the issues, its his play.

          5. Thats really dumb. I dont know how else to say that. Its not even really all that factual.

          6. Moss doesnt really help that since its going from not scoring with Holiday to this.

          7. They gave up a top 5 prospect in a system ranked top 10. Ks are neat, but that kids stuff is plus. This move is clearly desperation. Below average hitter, at best average fielder, who Ks 1/3rd of his at bats and doesnt get on well. Brandon Moss is the move you make when you dont want to pay for Lind and have Mark Reynolds starting at 1B and your quality LFer gets hurt.

          • Luke,
            “Dumb?………not even really all that factual?” Moss was Boston’s top rated prospect, and became an All-Star after he left here. Also ripped the Pirates batting coaches after he got his game back. Just wondering, might you be an intern in the Pirates office? When you lose Holliday and replace him within 12 hours with a 2014 All-Star who has 15 home runs and 50 RBIs for a single A prospect that is not dumb. Check back with me in September and October timeframe.

            • And he’s 31, rapidly declining, with a 94 wRC, .302 wOBA, and a sub .700 OPS. He is below replacement value and is having a very bad season.

              • Maybe they should picked up Tabata because his stats are so much better, and he is younger and under control. Oh, I forgot, Cards don’t take DFAs to fill gaping holes…….they pay the price.

                • Tabata’s wOBA is .288, with a 83 wRC, and an OPS barely in the 600’s.

                  Your reply is weak man, so weak…

            • You throw doubt on my validity while using 2014 repeatedly as why he’s good (and DINGERZ) and calling a top 5 prospect in a good system “single A”. Its like calling Glasnow “a AA prospect” a week ago. Not exactly forthcoming with the entire picture.

              • Glasnow in our number one prospect, in AAA today, and by all reports a top of the rotation major league prospect to debut next year. The guy the Cards dealt is not in his value class today, and may never get close. No need to take things so personally Luke, this has been a friendly site.

                • I didnt take anything personal at all, i just think your argument isnt logical. No offense meant to you at all.

                  Yes, STL didnt give up a top 10 prospect in all of baseball. But they did give up the 88th best prospect in all of baseball. A guy like 6-10 spots away from Alen Hanson on mlb prospect list. A top 100 prospect for a guy that is Pedro Alvarez like this year.

  5. We cannot fix our bullpen issues with a dumpster dive kind of move like this…at least he was acquired without giving up a prospect. Maybe the Pirates are confident that Liz or Holdzkum will be up soon?

    We still need a LH reliever….Bastardo walks two guys in 2/3 of an inning yesterday….

    • Remember last year when the Pirates couldn’t improve their bullpen without a “big trade”.

      It’s like folks have zero memory. Just trite cliches.

      • Its an annual tradition. Grumble this team has so many holes, while team plays on near 90 wins. Grumble we cant fix a bullpen without major addition, small additions in SSS make big difference.

        If people still had watches, you could set it to these things. Funny thing is last year we had to have a big upgrade. We used a dude from independent ball. This year? People cant stop yammering for him to save us.

      • To be fair to BFSMD, while Blanton is an upgrade over Guerra (and maybe even Worley v.2015) which alone makes this a decent acquisition, the typical fan is seeing Bastardo and Caminero as the problems. And Blanton is not your prototypical 7th inning guy. So in a vacuum, without another pen move or acquisition, it’s not a huge confidence builder.

        IMO, Caminero gets maybe 3-4 more appearances to see if whatever Searage is working on takes hold. If he can’t get it together within the next 10 days, he’s simply got to go. I don’t even care if it’s Blake Wood or AJ Morris instead of an acquisition… just anybody else.

        Bastardo… he’s had a history of in-season ups and downs. I cross my fingers he’ll have more ups than downs rest of the way. I’ve mentioned Joe Thatcher without calling it a “dumpster dive” as a potential LOOGY, which would not replace the role Bastardo was hired for, but in context, might be a better move for Bucs overall.

        If the goal is to have another guy who can “get the ball to Watson and/or Melancon”, then go get that guy, whether it’s a trade or a promotion from AAA. Is Blanton that guy? I have doubts. Is Thatcher or Duke that guy? No. But we do know that the current versions of Bastardo and Caminero are not.

        • You might be missing my point, bucs.

          I, personally, think Joe Blanton stinks. Joe Blanton has stunk so bad as a starting pitcher he didn’t even play baseball last year. That’s the Joe Blanton I know, and it’ll take much more than a dozen good relief outings to change my mind.

          But, I also know that the quickest way to look stupid in present-day Major League Baseball is to bet on “established” relievers. I truly, honestly, cannot fathom how anyone who has followed the Pirates for even a little bit over the past half-decade can question “dumpster dive” relief acquisitions when quite literally every single one of their best bullpen arms has fallen into that category in some form or another.

          Hold Huntington accountable at the end of the year if middle relief doesn’t improve down the stretch, absolutely; but hold the judgement until that time.

  6. I like this move. Blanton is an upgrade over Guerra in my opinion. I think that’s pretty much all you need to read into this. There is zero risk and zero indication that they are done making moves.

    • Nothing against Blanton, but Bucs can afford carrying a Guerra as he was never tapped to be a high-leverage guy. Bastardo and Caminero are. And those are the two spots that need fixing.

      • I agree. My point is this move cost them nothing. They’ve essentially improved their 7th bullpen guy which doesn’t seem like squat but those guys get in games too. After hearing what Brandon Moss went for today I’m very worried that the Pirates will be able to upgrade their 4th bullpen spot without giving up a #6-10 prospect. And if that’s the case expect NH to stand pat.

    • Exactly why is a an ERA of 2.74 as a reliever with a K/9 of 9.00 and a BB/9 of 1.17, “Meh?”

      • Don’t get me wrong, I liked what I saw of him out of the pen when the Pirates played him, but he’s not the upgrade that solidifies the pen. Are you saying your impressed with the move? I’m neither impressed or unimpressed, he will help, but he’s not the answer.

      • Typical NH move. This allows things to stay status quo with no minor leaguers promoted nor traded. Also best thing is soon to be 5.00 era project Caminero stays.

      • Stinks sounds harsh. How is Blanton not an upgrade on Guerra? The Pirates are an improved team, if only marginally. Nothing wrong with that.

        • Quite likely.

          But it’ll take more than a dozen or so relief appearances to erase the memory of Joe Blanton stinking for the better part of the last decade. At least for me.

          Also questionable in light of Passan reporting earlier this week that other clubs were telling him the Pirates don’t want to bring in a first baseman until they clear Pedro’s salary. If payroll is an issue – in which case, my God – then adding another million bucks for a marginal pitcher instead of using it on a bigger need seems silly.

  7. I still want Ziegler, by the way. I love that guy. Arizona should be selling, so he should be available. His contract isn’t completely unreasonable, there’s an option for next year, too, also not absurd, and he gets about 70%(!) ground balls over the past several seasons. Doesn’t walk many, doesn’t give up home runs, it all makes up for the lack of strikeouts.

    • Looking more into it, Ziegler is basically another Hughes. They’ve hovered right around each other the past few years in just about every category.

    • Define that, all the hoopla and i forgot what your best case scenario is. You looking for an actual set up/closer type? Or just dependable arm capable of throwing a solid 7th inning?

  8. Would Liz be a better fit than Blanton? The only thing I see different is Blanton has postseason experience and Liz throws a harder.

    • Liz isn’t comfortable as a reliever, and Blanton quite clearly is. Given this move was made to help the bullpen, I think that’s an important difference.

    • Liz also tends to not find the strikezone out of the pen. Blanton dropping his BB rate helps him be an effective relief option.

  9. I had a feeling when kc dfaed blanton that this was a typical nh type deal. The more things change the more they stay the same. All in all not bad I just hope it’s not all.

  10. Now that is a typical NH move. Finds a guy for nothing that a team is willing to give away for cash or random minor league depth with decent situational value for PGH. It aint flashy, but its an effective move.

    • Bring in a reliever who has a K/9 of over 8, BB/9 of under 2, and a 2.74 ERA/2.80 xFIP as a reliever. Idk how that doesnt clearly solve an issue in the pen.

      Seems we wanted a great back end bullpen arm for the 7th, which never sounded likely. Bullpen now looks like Melancon-Watson-Hughes-Blanton-Caminero-Bastardo. And we did it for nothing basically. If they really want to, they can stick Blanton in as the 7th inning man and he’s an above average option.

  11. K/9 is up this year, BB/9 is down. He seems to be suited for a bullpen role. I assume he’ll take Guerra’s role, which is good, since Guerra was starting to falter in it.

    • Retired after a terrible year in 2013, sat out 2014 and has shown in 2015 that he can still help a team as a spot starter or as a reliever. This is an excellent pick-up at this late stage. Worked out during the off-season with Zack Duke.

      Guerra has a lot of junk, but where is the FB? This leaves Liz still a possibility in AAA, and I would love to see another LHRP. Bastardo is gone after this year and it may not be too early to find his replacement.

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