Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Guys Who Could Replace Joe Blanton

Casey SchermickContributor IIIMay 23, 2011

Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Guys Who Could Replace Joe Blanton

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    The Philadelphia Phillies have the second-best record in the MLB at this point in the season, but the fifth-starter spot has been a huge question mark thus far.  Joe Blanton was named the fifth starter in the rotation after it was announced that the Phillies would have enough money to keep him around.  However, he has not performed well enough to satisfy Philly fans.  

    The Phillies have experimented with other guys in the fifth-starter spot in Blanton's stints on the disabled list this year.  Kyle Kendrick has been used and has been knocked around in the starter role.  

    Vance Worley, however, has come in and had two quality starts, leading to a 2-0 record in his two starts this season.  Worley is scheduled to pitch Tuesday and Sunday this week, giving himself more chances to prove he is a legitimate starting pitcher.  

    The Phillies have a few questions surrounding them such as when will they finally be healthy and can they live up to the hype? But one question that remains is who will be the fifth starter?  Here are five guys who could replace Big Joe.   

Randy Wolf

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    Randy Wolf was well known and well liked during his tenure in Philadelphia.  Wolf is currently 3-4 on the year with an ERA just above 4.00.  Wolf had a lot of success in Philadelphia before and he could have success if he returns again.  

    His numbers are not much better than Blanton's, but Philly fans are itching to move on from the big right-hander and find somebody new to replace him.  

    The Phillies might have a harder time working out a deal with Milwaukee to get Wolf, but because they know his talent and work ethic, Ruben Amaro Jr. could possibly look into dealing for Wolf and getting the "Wolf Pack" back together in Philly.    

J.A. Happ

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    Happ is another former Phillie that Amaro could target for a deal.  The Phillies have had talks with the Astros in previous years because of the relationship with Ed Wade.  

    Happ is a young arm who has been in the Phillies organization before and has had success during his time with Philadelphia.  Happ is also struggling this year in Houston so far, but his numbers could turn around with the No. 1 defense in baseball behind him and a clubhouse where he would be well liked.   

Joel Pineiro

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    Pineiro has very good numbers to start the 2011 season.  In five starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA. 

    Pineiro would add a solid anchor to the Phillies rotation. 

    At 32 years of age, he has experience in the league, and is around the same age that the Phillies like to target in pitching deals.  If he stays healthy and he continues to pitch well, Pineiro could be a target for the Phillies. 

Jeremy Hellickson

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    Jeremy Hellickson is the Rays No. 1-rated prospect in their organization.  He is currently on the Rays major-league roster and is pitching very well. 

    In 2011, Hellickson is 5-2 with a 3.18 ERA.  His lifetime record is 9-2.  He has shown that he can pitch well in the majors and at just 24 years of age, he is a young arm that the Phillies could use. 

    If the Phillies were able to land Hellickson, he could potentially anchor the Phillies rotation for years to come, and move up in the rotation once the core four begin to leave. 

Vance Worley

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    Another option for the Phillies is to simply use what they already have. 

    Worley has been very impressive in his two starts in 2011. 

    In two starts, he has a 2-0 record.  Including four innings of relief work, Worley has a 1.18 ERA.  Worley is also a young arm who can be very successful for the Phillies in years to come. 

    Worley is potentially the best fit for the fifth spot for the Phillies at this time, and could lock up the spot if he pitches well in his two starts this week.