Joe Blanton signed a three-year $24 million contract yesterday to avoid arbitration and stay with the Phillies. He is now locked into a rotation featuring Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and J.A. Happ.
When I first saw the headlines I thought this deal was ridiculous. How could Blanton be worth $8 million a year? The guy is a three or four starter with average stuff. But then I looked at his numbers. As well, I looked at where the Phillies were coming from.
Blanton is only 29 years old and has posted at least 195 innings the last two seasons. His ERA decreased from 4.69 in 2008 to 4.06 in 2009. He posted career bests last season in SO/BB (2.76) and SO/9 (7.5). And in 2007 with Oakland, he put up 230 innings with a 3.95 ERA: proof that he can be penciled in for quite a few innings.
Bearing all that in mind, it makes sense that the Phillies made this move (coupled with re-signing Shane Victorino). They just traded for and signed Halladay, they have Hamels for a while and they have Happ for a while. Thus it makes perfect sense for the Phils to put together a rotation like this, even if it does mean overpaying a little.