08/03/12 7:24 PM ET
Phillies ship Blanton to Dodgers in waiver deal
By Paul Hagen / MLB.com
Right-hander Joe Blanton became the sixth familiar face to depart the clubhouse Friday, when he was sent to the Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash considerations in a waiver trade. He was scheduled to start for the Phillies against the D-backs at Citizens Bank Park; Kyle Kendrick got the assignment instead.
"I'd like to do more. I want to try to do some things to improve the club," Amaro said. "We've claimed some players over the last couple of days, players we think would help us. Whether we're going to get them or not is a completely different issue. But we're still trying to improve our club for this year and beyond. I'd like to do more. And if we can, we will.
"Right now, more than anything else, I think I'd probably like to improve my outfield if we have a chance to do something that makes an impact. Off the bench we're a little bit left-handed, so if we could get somebody from the right side, that would be helpful, too -- give Charlie a little more balance off the bench."
Blanton can become a free agent at the end of the season. Just like the non-waiver Trade Deadline deals that sent Shane Victorino to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the Giants on Tuesday, this gives Amaro some wiggle room on the payroll.
"We're trying to create as much flexibility as we can, and part of that is to give ourselves the financial flexibility to do those things," he said. "And I think we'll have some pretty good choices whether it be via trade or via free agency. We'll try to do what we have to do to be a contender again next year and improve this club.
"It allows us to do some things this year. We're still trying to improve the club if we can. We've claimed some players that would probably end up being costly if we acquire them. But it does give us flexibility to do that as well."
In other changes during a frantic four days, left-handed relievers Joe Savery and Jake Diekman were optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and infielder Mike Fontenot was designated for assignment. The new faces in the clubhouse are outfielder Nate Schierholtz (from San Francisco in the in the Pence deal), reliever Josh Lindblom (from Los Angeles in the Victorino trade) and infielder Michael Martinez, called up from the IronPigs. Righty reliever B.J. Rosenberg was recalled for the third time this season to take Blanton's spot on the roster.
Amaro also strongly indicated that the Phillies will end up taking a prospect instead of the cash.
"Joe was a big part of what we were about the last several years. But we felt it was the right thing for us and the right thing for Joe," Amaro said. "And we believe we got a pretty good prospect in return as well. ... One of the reasons we felt like it was important to do this is the player that we picked up."
Amaro isn't allowed to identify the player, which suggests he could be someone who was drafted and signed last season -- but signed after Aug. 3. In MLB.com's rankings, two of the Dodgers' Top 20 prospects fit that profile: left-hander Chris Reed (4) and right-hander Ryan O'Sullivan (18).
Although Blanton's name had been heavily mentioned in rumors leading up to the Deadline -- the Orioles were the focus of that speculation -- he said he was surprised to be told that he's been traded.
"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.
"I didn't think too much about it, to be honest. I'd been involved in trade rumors a lot. One came about when I got traded from Oakland to Philly, but there had been a lot that fell through. So I didn't put much thought into it. Tuesday at 4 [p.m. ET] passed, and I just thought, 'Well, it fell through again.' So I was pretty shocked when it happened, even though I knew it still could."
What changed, Amaro said, is that he couldn't get what he felt was value in return until after the Dodgers put in a waiver claim. The Phillies could have taken him off waivers at that point or simply allowed Los Angeles to claim him and assume the approximately $2.8 million he's owed for the rest of the season. Instead, a deal was worked out.
In Blanton, the Dodgers are getting a starting pitcher whose .739 (17-6) second-half winning percentage since 2008 is the fourth best in baseball. For his career, he's 38-20 (.655) with a 3.84 ERA in the second half. And he's looking forward to joining a team that's in a pennant race.
"That's what players play for," Blanton said. "You play for the postseason and a chance to go to the World Series. And they're in a good position. 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."
And the Phillies took another step toward reshaping their roster for the rest of this season and beyond.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.