MLB Rumors: Joe Blanton Wouldn't Save Orioles Fading Playoff Hopes
The Baltimore Orioles were one of the most surprising teams in baseball during the first half. They have started fading as of late, however, and making a trade for Joe Blanton wouldn't be nearly enough to turn the tide back in their favor down the stretch.
Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com reports the Philadelphia Phillies are willing to trade Blanton given the team's recent struggles and the Orioles are the most active team trying to land him. She states the St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays have also expressed some interest.
While it's good to see Baltimore remaining active in the trade market with hopes of staying in range of a wild-card spot, Blanton isn't the answer. He would just add to the frustrations the team has dealt with in the rotation this season.
He's 8-9 with a 4.59 ERA for the Phillies this season. His career ERA stands at 4.35. Those aren't the numbers of a pitcher who can come in and save a staff. He would just be a rotation filler and the Orioles need more than that at this point.
The Orioles are currently two games behind the final playoff spot, which is being held by the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels just went out and made a blockbuster trade for Zack Greinke, who has been one of the game's top pitchers in recent years.
The Orioles won't be able to offset that by trading for a player like Blanton, who's prone to the same type of inconsistency the current members of the Baltimore rotation have already shown.
Wei-Yin Chen has been a pleasant surprise in his first MLB season and Jason Hammel was enjoying the best season of his career before going down with a knee injury. Beyond that, the Orioles have been plagued by lackluster performances on the mound.
Should the Orioles pursue Blanton?
That said, the franchise would be better off letting young pitchers like Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta gain some valuable experience in high-pressure situations over the final few months rather than trying to convert on a Hail Mary with Blanton.
When push comes to shove, the Orioles aren't legitimate contenders this season, but they do have a solid base of youth. That next wave of pitchers will need to take their lumps sooner or later to learn what it takes to succeed in the postseason race.
Blanton would just be a stopgap option and the chances he pushes the Orioles into the playoffs are slim to none. There's really no reason for him to take a rotation spot from somebody with the potential to help the team down the road.
It's still about the future for the Orioles despite their unexpected foray into contention. The front office needs to remember that.
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