Dodgers Upgrade The Rotation By Trading For Joe Blanton

The Dodgers shored up their rotation today by acquiring Joe Blanton from the Phillies for a player to be named later.

Blanton is owed about $2.9 million for the rest of 2012 and the Dodgers will be picking up the tab for that. Just like with the Shane Victorino trade, the PTBNL isn’t a cause for concern, as they are rarely meaningful prospects in the end.

But how about Blanton?

He should be a clear upgrade over Stephen Fife (4.65 FIP/5.20 xFIP/5.77 SIERA) and provides insurance in case Ted Lilly never quite makes it back from shoulder problems, which by his own account seems likely.

Up until 2010, Blanton had a 5.8 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, but over the last 174.2 innings from 2011 on, he’s posted a 7.7 K/9 and a 1.4 BB/9. As a result, while his ERA is 4.59 this year, his FIP sits at a solid 3.98, while his xFIP and SIERA are both 3.39. The move from Citizens Bank Park to Dodger Stadium may not only mean he’s a significant improvement as a #5, but may make him the third best option on a staff with a lot of solid but not great pitchers.

Surprised by the peripherals? So is … uh … everybody, but the point is that he’s a solid upgrade that will help the Dodgers and might actually end up making more of a marginal wins difference than Victorino.

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