Philly pulled the plug on Ned Colletti's Cliff Lee deal, but Joe Blanton will be valuable down the stretch.
By JOE McDONNELLFS West
LOS ANGELES — Tuesday night the
Dodgers received Shane Victorino from the Phils for pitchers Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin and early Friday afternoon Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and Phillies GM Ruben Amaro agreed on their second deal in less than a week, with Los Angeles getting right-hander
Joe Blanton from Philadelphia in exchange for a player to be named later.
Colletti was looking for his new buddy Ruben to help him out again by sending lefty starter Cliff Lee to the Dodgers. But it's unlikely that will happen.
Lee — 2-6 on the season — was placed on waivers by the Phillies and the Dodgers claimed the left-hander, leaving only compensation to the Phils to be worked out. They teams have until Sunday to work out a deal, but Amaro said Friday that Lee "isn't going anywhere."
That's no way to treat a good pal, Ruben, especially one that was prepared to take $100 million worth of pitcher off your hands as you try and rebuild for 2013. ]
But in Blanton, the Dodgers did get a pretty good pitcher who eats up innings and will help save their bullpen.
"We wanted to get a pitcher who was a veteran starter and had pitched in big games in October," Colletti said about Blanton. "He's been really, really outstanding the past six, seven weeks. His command is usually pretty good. He doesn't walk a lot of hitters. He has a good fastball, good change and he throws a lot of strikes.
"It was a little complicated — all trades are complicated. We mentioned Joe's name in the Shane deal; it just didn't work at that time. We decided to stay with the original plan to acquire Shane and see what would happen after the first of August." They ended up with the workhorse, but not the 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner.
Blanton is 8-9 in 2012 with a 4.59 ERA and WHIP of 1.12, and has a championship pedigree, going 2-0 with a 1.21 WHIP in 10 postseason games; six of them were starts. Both wins came in the 2008 postseason, which saw the Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. Dodger manager Don Mattingly has a lot of appreciation for pitchers like Blanton, who don't have a blazing fastball, yet know how to pitch.
"He isn't a guy who knocks your eyes out with the radar gun, Mattingly said prior to Friday night's game with the Chicago Cubs. "He's more of an appreciation guy, like, `Hey, this guy's in the strike zone, he doesn't walk people, he doesn't hurt himself, he just kind of makes you beat him.' And that evolution comes with experience, where you trust your stuff, know how to attack guys you're facing and know who you are as a pitcher.
"He's a strike-thrower for sure, a guy with experience pitching down the stretch. He's pitched in a tough city like Philadelphia and (helped) pitch them to a World Series, so he gives us a quality guy."
Mattingly said Blanton will arrive in Los Angeles Saturday, and matchups will dictate when Blanton makes his first Dodger appearance. He's also a timely acquisition for the Dodgers, who reported that left-hander Ted Lilly was scratched from a rehab appearance when he had a setback with his inflamed left shoulder. With Lilly's timetable for a major league return put on hold, Blanton becomes a very important Dodger before he even puts on a uniform.
"You want to keep getting better, and this is a move that makes us a little bit better because it gives our staff a little more depth," Mattingly said. "He's going to be a good addition for us."