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Reds Insider
From news of the day to news of the weird, John Fay provides a glimpse of what it’s like to cover the Cincinnati Reds

John Fay
John Fay has been the Reds beat writer for the Enquirer since 2001. Prior to that, he served in a variety of roles for the Enquirer: backup Reds writer, UC beat writer, backup Bengals writer and as a general assignment reporter. He is a Cincinnati native and a graduate of Elder High School and the University of Dayton.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

On Blanton

This from my buddy Doc on his blog:

On good authority

The Reds and Dodgers are talking with Oakland about Joe Blanton. Blanton has won 42 games in the past 3 years, was 14-10 last year and is already signed this year, to a relatively cheap $3.8 million deal.


Ken Rosenthal is reporting the same thing. The Reds were initially turned off by Oakland's high asking price when they talked about Blanton.

Wayne Krivsky, as per usual, would not comment specifically on the Blanton. But he did not rule out a trade before camp starts.

"You're always looking to improve," he said. "That never stops. We'll improve the team any way we can."

Joey Votto is the kind of player Billy Beane loves (high on-base percentage). You'd think the A's would want Homer Bailey or Johnny Cueto as well. I think the Reds would sooner give up Bailey than Cueto at this point.

The market for pitching has dried up a bit, i.e., Kyle Lohse and Livan Hernandez are still unemployed.

"I think you'll start seeing guys sign minor league contracts," Krivsky said.

He wasn't referring to Lohse or Hernandez, of course, but lesser free agents are in a tough spot. Camps open in a week, and 20 teams have full 40-man rosters.


76 Comments:

at 1:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice. Double digit wins and 200 innings each of the last three years. John, any clue what Oakland has in mind?

 
at 1:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would the A's have a need for Votto with Barton getting ready to be their 1B for a while? DH, I guess, but it seems like he's really not a need for them.

 
at 1:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's interesting John. Rosenthal reported the Dodgers weren't interested. Hmmm. I don't see how the Dodgers would even have a spot for him in their rotation after signing Kuroda. They have Schmidt, Penny, Lowe, Kuroda and Billingsley already. I think the Reds should offer Bailey but not Votto. Bruce and Votto are going to be the faces of this franchise after Griffey and Dunn depart.

John C.
Las Vegas

 
at 1:15 PM Blogger Al in Ohio said...

John -

It's interesting that you think that the Reds would rather give up Bailey than Cueto "at this point". I'm curious as to why you feel that way. Do the Reds think Homer's probably only going to be a "thrower" rather than a complete pitcher? Is it because he got hurt? I don't understand.

While I think Cueto's got potential, one thing that bothers me is that I think we can count the excellent 175-pound righthanders in the major leagues on one finger (Greg Maddux). Do the Reds feel he's a future ace?

 
at 1:20 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

No NO NO...
Don't send multiple young players for even a proven starter. We have too many needs (just like Oakland!). We should have kept the youth and overpaid for a free agent starter, but we didn't. Votto looked great in his Sept call-up-- he could be a star. This is Jr.'s last year and Hamilton is gone-- don't deal another promising bat. Votto & Bruce are the future offensively.

 
at 1:21 PM Anonymous CHEVIOT SPORTS AUTHORITY said...

Kyle Lohse is still unsigned? Certainly doesn't surprise the Cheviot Sports Authority. I seem to remember the local media referring to Lohse as someone who would command big bucks this off-season. I don't think there is too much to worry about, as far him coming back here, now that the K-man has a keeper, but you never know.

 
at 1:28 PM Anonymous Dan said...

My thought is STAY AWAY (or at least don't overpay).

Blanton's stats are GREATLY improved by the fact that he has pitched half his games in Oakland, a pitcher's park.

Just look at his home/road splits... the difference is LARGE.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/psplit.cgi?n1=blantjo01

I just hope Krivsky and Co. are thinking about this in a nuanced way like that and not just looking at the superficial stats.

Also... sorry for the fits of "all caps" there. ;)

 
at 1:29 PM Anonymous Monroe said...

I really see no point in trading away Bailey - a potential 1 or 2 who is under control for the next 5 years - for a guy who's a 3 or 4.

And for the record, Billy Beane is not just a high on-base guy - he's a guy who looks for players undervalued by the market. That's the whole point of "Moneyball." For awhile OBP was undervalued, that's not so much the case anymore.

 
at 2:02 PM Blogger John Fay said...

I'm basing Cueto over Bailey from conversations I've had with scouts and coaches. "I think" is the key phrase. I'm not in the room but that's my feeling.

Lohse will get his money, just not as much as people thought. That home run he gave up in the playoffs literally cost him millions.

Blanton would likely give the Res a better chance to win this year. But giving up Bailey is risky.

 
at 2:02 PM Anonymous redsfanwoody said...

Considering what they hauled in from the Swisher and Haren trade, I would assume that they are wanting more than the Reds should give up.

 
at 2:05 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

al,

pedro martinez is a lil guy who can hurl....

 
at 2:28 PM Anonymous CHEVIOT SPORTS AUTHORITY said...

One of the major reasons Jocketty is here is to insure that Krivsky won't get taken to the cleaners again in his dealings with other clubs. Hope he is doing his job. The Hamilton deal is very iffy at best but I will wait and see on that one. Bailey's stock has apparently really sunk in the Reds eyes. Do you really think that the Reds could get Blanton from Billy Bean without giving up way too much? But then, I really don't think that Matt Belisle can be the third starter on a winning team. What a conundrum.

The one good thing is that Krivsky has got to win this season.

 
at 2:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

They would never get 2 top 50 guys plus a player or two for Blanton. They only got one top 50 for Haran who is a better pitcher. Beane is in it for quanity probably 1-2 of our top tens Fransisco maybe plus a package of others below.

 
at 2:42 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

trading bailey is risky..he could be sub-4 era this year with that arm...

john, do you get the feeling some scouts and coaches see cueto as the ace and bailey as the #2?

 
at 2:44 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Along with Pedro, Tim Hudson comes in at under 170. Tim Lincecum is about 175, Flash Gordon is only 5-9 (they lie in the media guide and say 5-10), Billy Wagner is 5-10 and 180 (after eating bacon cheeseburgers), Ron Guidry was lucky to hit 160, Whitey Ford was only about 175-180 and etc., etc. . . .

Yeah, not much in lightweight pitchers. Nope.

 
at 2:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still going to say Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto are 4 young studs every other team in MLB wants to get their hands on. This should tell us something. Again, I could ive with us giving up ONE of these guys for Blanton, but that's it. Also, I agree with the other poster that Griffey and Dunn's days with the Reds are numbered and Bruce and Votto could fill those holes nicely. Plus, Votto and Bruce are better defensive players at this point then either Griffey or Dunn. I say Homer Bailey and two low-level minor leaguers for Blanton.

John C.
Las Vegas

 
at 2:52 PM Blogger unblogger said...

The Reds would not trade Bailey and Votto for Bedard or Haren, so why would they trade them for Blanton? Blanton would probably have at least a 4.50 ERA and probably more like a 5.00 ERA in GABP.
I wouldn't even trade Votto straight up for him, and I can promise that Bailey or Cueto would be just as good or better than Blanton if he were to pitch for the Reds next year.
Blanton would be a good pick up for second level prospects, but definitely not for any of the big 5.

 
at 2:55 PM OpenID yesyeah said...

I am an A's fan - but follow the Reds alot since I lived in Cincy for 7 years. IF Blanton is to get traded, I would love to see him go to Cincy - and the fans will love him. He's a guy who can throw the 200+ innings. He doesn't have huge k numbers, but his k/bb ratio is fantastic.

The point above about the home/road splits, sadly are correct. However, his better home numbers are certainly helped by The Coliseum, but probably just as much with Oaklands fantastic defense (Chavez GG at 3b, Ellis who is continuously robbed of the GG at 2b and when Kotsay was there, who is a GG caliber CF). I think he'd be a good fit for the Reds and would easily step in as their #2 behind Harang.

I think Beane is just collecting talent at this point, though the A's desperately need MI prospects. That said, I think they'd continue to look for starting pitching. Barton, as mentioned, is taking over at 1b this year and is supposed to be tremendous (looked great last year).

Well, if it happens, I hope the Reds get him, I would love to see Big Joe in the white and red.

 
at 3:08 PM Anonymous tutorkey'sfavoriteson said...

I hope this trade does NOT get done. Blanton pitches in a pitcher friendly park so coming to GABP will not be exactly the same. The upside to a successful AL pitcher is that they face a pitcher in the 9 hole in the NL instead of another potential all-star hitter, but still, let these kids develop. Also, Votto has proven he has run producing pop in his bat. the last first baseman we had to could drive in runs and hit for power was Tony Perez. Everyone else has been an higher average guy but low run producer. I say, see where we are after 2008, load up free agent pitchers in the off season. Who knows...the 2008 Reds might just be the surprise team in '08 like the Rockies were. I didn't see anyone giving them a shot last year before spring training either. The bullpen alone last year cost the Reds contention. Plain and simple. Addressing that, getting better with experience will make this years team better.

For me, I hope we do NOT do this trade if it means giving up the kids. Of course, that's the only way Beane makes this deal and hmmm...Oakland seems to be in contention year after year most of the time with KIDS!!

 
at 3:14 PM Anonymous Dan said...

I'd bet good money that Bailey is better than Blanton right now. Not to mention younger and cheaper and with much more "upside."

Blanton's numbers look better than they are b/c Oakland's stadium is a pitcher's park:

Career ERA (home): 3.55 ERA
Career ERA (road): 4.66 ERA

Career opp. avgs. (home): .251/.297/.377
Career opp. avgs. (road): .290/.338/.433

It just looks to me like, away from Oakland, Blanton is a so-so innings eater. Maybe not even league-average.

I'm not saying stay away at all costs, b/c guys like this certainly have value. I'm just saying, let's see him for what he is and not overpay.

I absolutely would not trade Bailey or Cueto for him, straight-up. No way.

 
at 3:14 PM Blogger ewad said...

Just curious what would motivate Oakland to trade a cheap effective pitcher?
Is he in the last year of a contract?
Injured?

Also, why does everyone seem so keen to trade Bailey?
Has the organization soured on him?

 
at 3:29 PM Blogger Brad said...

Maybe they are trying to flip Volsquez for him?

 
at 3:32 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

hey ya'al, i want another proven starter in the rotation as much as the next person, but do you really want to give up someone (bailey) who could be AT LEAST the guy you want (blanton), if not better? bailey wasn't great last year, but he wasn't THAT bad. he had flashes of superstar stuff and moxy out there...blanton is known to have decent stuff, great control and still equate to pedestrian on the road. no i don't equate all of his success to the oakland air. hudson seems to be fine, and zito STILL has that nasty curve but he never hit the zone in the first place and his team is bad offensively and defensively. besides, he's across the bay so the air is the same. he just can't locate his pitches.

and about ballparks, why does everyone think the seemingly small dimensions is the sole cause for the launching pad?

sure the wedge design can't help, as neither left or right are that justified, but the stadium is OPEN. the open outfield and side foul, combined with cincinnati humidity is gonna send a few baseballs to neptune. GABP is open for air, open for wind currents, and at an angle that catches some currents cinergy never got.

cinergy gave up its homeruns too, but it was closed in and had swirling winds (i.e the Jungle) more than anything. you could constantly feel the chill in september and on cool nights swirling through the walkways while you're trying to take a leak while reds pitching is bleeding runs in other ways, such as doubles and walks.

when it's still cold in april, and when cold fronts come through and wipe out the humidity in one of MLB's most humid cities, that ball dies noticeably more, and the park plays more like riverfront.

 
at 3:34 PM Anonymous Dan said...

Doh! Just noticed one more thing. (Road ERA's are nice b/c they are taken across a whole bunch of ballparks, so the differences can mostly "average out.")

Joe Blanton's career road ERA is 4.66.

Matt Belisle's career road ERA is 4.55.

I'm not saying Belisle is better than Blanton. We do need to give Blanton credit for pitching in the AL.

But I am saying that it's close!

So think about how much you'd expect to get back if the Reds dealt Belisle.

Then think about Bailey for Blanton... ???!!!

JUST SAY NO!! PLEASE!!!

 
at 4:20 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

Stop looking so much into home and road era's: Aaron Harang-3.41 home era, 4.06 road era last year. It's not really as telling of a stat as people think it is. According to Aaron's #s then apparently GABP must be a pitcher's park. A lot of guys pitch better at home than on the road. A lot of teams play better at home than on the road. It's not as simple as he pitches in a pitcher's park.

 
at 4:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Reds' apparent willingness to deal Bailey if the deal is right is just mystifying to me. Just a year ago, he was the best thing since sliced bread and untouchable under any circumstances. He was also going to get another year of seasoning in the minors. Then, the Reds get off to a horrible start, so they bring up Bailey to boost attendance. He has so so results and a minor injury, and now he's expendable. Hey Reds - so much for sticking with a guy you told US to be patient for for years. What a joke.

 
at 4:42 PM Anonymous redfuture said...

They're probably only talking to Beane to get a line on what their organization and scouts think of Red youngsters. Don't trade our young studs for him, maybe Belisle and a guy drafted last year with potential. That would save the A's about 2.5M this year and more later. Belisle is not far off of Blanton's skill set.

 
at 4:43 PM Blogger charlie said...

I don't get it. Did the Reds learn nothing from the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Braves, et al.? You win, and win for a long period of time, with good young players. There are only three moves I would even consider at this point: trade Griffey for a bag of peanuts; get Crisp from Boston; and give Keppinger the starting 2B job (with Phillips at SS).

The Reds could easily have one of the top five rotations in all of baseball in 2009 as it stands today. After years of hearing about a "rebuilding plan" they are about to succeed. Yet Krivsky seems hell-bent on blowing the whole thing up.

 
at 5:00 PM Anonymous Dan said...

OK, so there are exceptions, like Harang.

Look up Arroyo's stats the last two years and you'll see he's been much better on the road.

The fact is, fewer runs are scored in Oakland, and these are Blanton's splits:

Joe Blanton

2005 home - 3.35 ERA
2005 road - 3.73 ERA

2006 home - 4.52 ERA
2006 road - 5.12 ERA

2007 home - 2.69 ERA
2007 road - 5.11 ERA

Career home - 3.55 ERA
Career road - 4.66 ERA

It's at least enough to make you wonder about the run-suppressing effect of the home stadium, don't you think?

If Blanton is really a 4.10 ERA quality pitcher, then he's worth a lot.

If he's really a 4.66 ERA quality pitcher, then he's really not worth that much in a trade.

It's a large difference... you've gotta consider it.

 
at 5:02 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Charlie, as stated here time and again, the Reds are NOT removing Gonzalez from the starting lineup as long as he's healthy, nor should they.

And they're certainly NOT going to dramatically weaken their middle defense by moving Phillips to short and Keppinger to second.

Folks, you really need to get past replacing Gonzalez thing. Unless he's traded, he's starting. Period.

 
at 5:12 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Okay, here's something for you to chew on:

C. Trent raises a question on his blog about what the Reds will have to give up to get Blanton, and since Krivsky and Billy Beane have made three deals in a year, they already know each other's talent.

Excellent point!

You have to figure Bailey or Cueto (not both) will be one element. C. Trent figures Votto is the second element. I say a low-level minor-leaguer is the third element.

The Votto equation makes a lot of sense. He was their blue-chipper during winter trade talks. Plus, there's a reason Hatteberg is quietly still around. If the Reds weren't willing to deal Votto they never re-up Hatteberg, regardless of his salary.

And, almost forgotten is that Krivsky wants Keppinger getting ABs at first base as part of a platoon and infield utility role.

So, all those factors considered, the Blanton deal not only makes sense, it looks possible.

And no, I wouldn't see him being slotted behind Arroyo, which gives the Reds a pretty good front three in a short series.

This one deal could really vault them up the NL Central ladder because right now--today--the team they're taking to Florida is a third- or fourth-place squad.

 
at 5:23 PM Anonymous Zach in Oxford said...

This won't happen, simply because the press broke the story before anything occurred. Krivsky only strikes when you're least expecting it..

 
at 5:28 PM Blogger docproc said...

Charlie:

Clearly Krivsky is NOT "hell-bent on blowing the whole thing up" inasmuch as he HASN'T traded Votto, Bailey, Cueto, or (most important) Bruce yet. He did trade Hamilton, but it was for more young pitching. It looks to me like he's committed to grooming young players.

By the way, just writing Hamilton's name reminds me that I'll miss seeing him at Spring Training this year, where he ripped it up last year. I understand the reasons for the trade, but it would have been fun to have Bruce and Hamilton in the outfield for the next decade.

 
at 5:30 PM Anonymous Dan said...

Really? You'd like that deal, Mr. Redlegs? Wow. I would be distraught if Krivsky did that.

Bailey, Cueto, and Votto are special talents.

Blanton is a league-average innings eater at best, IMO.

I wouldn't trade Bailey for Blanton straight up. No chance.

Frankly, besides being younger, cheaper, and having a ton more upside, I think Bailey is better than Blanton TODAY. I really do.

Let's also keep in mind that 2007 was Bailey's one rough year. If we were to deal him now, we'd really be selling low, on a "potential ace."

Don't do it, Wayne!

 
at 5:30 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Charlie: I don't think that you could get a bag of peanuts for Griffey.

Thank you Mr Redlegs for clearing up that Gonzalez thing. Just a thought though, maybe if we included him in that Griffey deal, we could get that bag of peanuts.

 
at 5:32 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

Dan you know what Blanton's 2006 home era as compared to his 2007 home era tells me if I followed your stance? That Oakland's ballpark got a lot more pitcher friendly in 07 than it was in 06. And we can all agree that that is not true. Blanton was hit hard by 3 teams last year, the Orioles, Red Sox, and Tigers. If I remember correctly his era against every other team was below 4.38. That's the # that intrigues me. He pitched really good against 14 of the 17 teams he faced, none of which he will be seeing if he's a Red.

 
at 5:34 PM Blogger Jon said...

"Don't trade our young studs for him, maybe Belisle and a guy drafted last year with potential. That would save the A's about 2.5M this year and more later. Belisle is not far off of Blanton's skill set."

Totally agree. I also agree with anyone else who's said not to trade our top 4. Other teams seem to think we're willing to trade our best chips desperately. I feel like we were being preyed upon by the Orioles, when other teams seemingly are able to unload a bunch of lesser prospects.

Here's a thought though: as last fall recedes into the background, maybe we now overvalue our prospects. I remember desperately wanting a LEGIT starter a la Bedard and knowing he would mean real change. I felt a lot less so about Blanton, but still felt he would help us considerably.

 
at 5:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, why are people so in love with Oakland pitching. I'm sorry, they all benefit from playing in that huge stadium with 10 acres of foul ground. How many other A's pitchers have left and been as effective.

Didn't Wayne learn his lesson from last year in the Saarloos trade. They guy looked wonderful pitching in Oakland, put him in our ballpark, he was juice.

Plus, why over the last nine months has Homer gone from the next coming to people wanting to run him out of town after nine starts in the bigs. This kid has got talent and will be awesome. If I remember correct Tom Glavine was Cy Young his first year either. Homer is going to be real cheap the next few years and now that he has that first taste of the bigs, I think he will be better this season. Cueto needs to show during the spring that he can compete with the big boys.

If Wayne wants this guy so bad, maybe throw a package deal of Dickerson, Majewski and Stanton. But I'm telling you, you will just get another version of Eric Milton. "WAYNE, KEEP THE KIDS". Randall Bounds, Chatham, IL

 
at 5:42 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

I'd give em Belisle, Coffey, Salmon, McBeth and Mr Redlegs for Blanton or the afore mentioned bag of peanuts.

 
at 5:52 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Well, if any of you animals think a No. 2 or No. 3 starter can be had for Belisle, or Stanton, or Dickerson, or a bucket of catfish, six free car washes or 10 free boxes of Krispy Kreme, or any combination there of, there's no helping you and no reason to waste logic and common sense on your hypothesis.

If you folks haven't been paying attention the past two winters, young starting pitching with arbitration-friendly contracts costs a premium these days.

Dan, I didn't say Bailey AND Cueto, I said one of the two.

 
at 5:53 PM Blogger KY side of Cincy said...

Homer is a jerk, plain and simple, and I'm sure they've seen enough Bengal chemistry issues to be willing to part with him for a proven commodity.

Now whether or not you think Blanton is a proven commodity is a horse-of-a-different-color.

Who cares if they include Votto? I can't believe how the fan base has over-valued this guy as if he is a franchise type player? Think Ben Broussard folks...maybe a tad better. No huge loss. Think about it, they re-sign a LH hitting first base-man, who while good in the clubby, wasn't signed to run Kangaroo Court.

Bruce is a different matter. He is a HOF type of prospect and there is NO CHANCE he'll be dealt for anyone...period.

 
at 6:03 PM Anonymous Dan said...

I know, Mr. R... you meant one of Bailey or Cueto, plus Votto, plus a low-level guy, right?

Personally I would not trade Bailey for Blanton, straight up. I think Bailey is better than him now (and younger, cheaper, more upside).

I wouldn't trade Cueto straight-up for Blanton either.

Blanton just isn't that great, IMO. He's been durable, and he's pitched in a pitcher-friendly park. He seems to be somewhere around league-average.

No way I give up even one of our stud prospects for him.

One man's opinion...

 
at 6:10 PM Anonymous J-Diggety said...

what about Volquez, Dickerson and another lower level prospect for him?

 
at 6:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love how trading one of bailey/cueto is considered "blowing a team up". whether you believe it or not an established 2/3 SP is worth 1 top 50 prospect who may or may not be good. Sickles' in his book said cueto has #3 upside, he's trying to get where blanton already is.remember this is reds that have started up talks for the 2nd time, so there seems to be interest. from the A's perspective they dont need to make a trade, hold onto him and he pitches opening day in japan.

 
at 6:32 PM Anonymous BigRedMachine said...

I'm agreeing with Mr. Redlegs on this one. Getting Blanton would give you a proven 1 or 2 pitcher, while staying with Bailey or Cueto gives you POTENTIAL 1 or 2 starters. Of course I'd love to see those guys pitching in Cincinnati for a long time, but getting a guy like Blanton seems worth it, especially when you still have more young talent like Volquez and Maloney behind them. And for all of you doubting quality of Oakland pitching, here's a name for you, AARON HARANG. Also I should note, besides keeping Hatteburg, the Reds also invited a certain Andy Phillips to camp, so first base would be covered (not to mention Keppinger). I think Krivsky's got a plan and I'm all for it.

 
at 6:54 PM Blogger reaganspad said...

Votto is Brousard? Why ky side of Cincy, I sure do hope you do not get a job with the Reds evaluating talent.

Votto is Casey with more Gap power, and a quicker bat. I am not big on trading quick bats. Votto like Casey can hit lefties

 
at 6:55 PM Blogger Joe said...

I'm not for giving up too much for Blanton. Would the A's be interested in Freel as part of the deal? I think the Reds need to be patient. They've made what appear to be a couple good moves to build a base of pitching for the future and strengthen the pen. Lets see what plays out this Spring and in the first half of the season. Give these young guys some time to establish themsleves before they trade what is potentially the future of the team. I think Votto looked pretty strong, even if it were September, lat year. Unless Dunn has accepted and embraced 1B as his future, Votto may represent the first prototypical 1B the Reds have had in quite a while. Would Blanton really give us that much, lots of innings but he also appears to be very hittable.

 
at 7:33 PM Blogger unblogger said...

Blanton is not a #1 or a #2, not even close. He would be about good as Belisle was last year, but more consistent, which is a #3 or #4 at best.
His career ERA away from the AL West, home of the pitcher friendly ballparks, is a whopping 5.67!! Put him in GABP with the Reds defense, and he will have a 5 ERA. Bailey or Cueto will be as good or better than Blanton in a Reds uniform.
He is worth a few b level prospects and nothing more.

 
at 7:37 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

So Mr. R, here's my question, after doing my research, I think giving up Bailey and something else makes sense, although I doubt they would even want Votto, maybe Juan Fransisco. Blanton had great home numbers last year, but that's true of probly 80% of pitchers in the majors, just as just about every team next year will play better at home than on the road. I've never cared too much for a guys road home splits anyway. As I previously pointed out, other than against the Red Sox, Tigers, and Orioles, Blanton was a difference maker. 4.38 was his next highest era against a team. That's below league average, and .6 less than the reds team era last year. And that was his 4th worst era against a team last year. And man 23 starts last year in which he gave up 3 ER or less? That's what would make this a competitive team, adding a guy like that.

 
at 7:45 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

And as a comparison Aaron Harang only gave up 3 ER or less in 22 games. Don't discount Blanton just based on one number, which came from allowing 8 er+ in 3 road games, and my question which I didn't really ask but meant to Mr R is would u do it?

 
at 7:50 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

jared burton is an oakland guy too...

not a great trade. you put yourself into the fire by trading away your first acclaimed pitching prospect in years for a #3. bailey turns into a #3 ala blanton in 2009. baseball people are disappointed, but will say that he now has decent control, a live arm and plus stuff. he would STILL has top of the rotation upside even if he flops in the 2-3 year range.

by then the city will have figured out blanton's stuff is not particularly intriguing and his upside is limited...both the opposite of bailey. or he could flat out be an ace in 2009 in oakland and you know what that means...cincinnati's gonna burn down.

put it this way, trade votto, a lower prospect, and whoever of the 4 youngins is the least likely to turn ace. no more.

anon 6:14

#3 upside seems low for a guy some people think is better than bailey. it would be nice to have two bronson arroyos in the rotation but if it costs us a potential harang, i don't like it..

 
at 7:53 PM Anonymous Jonesz said...

Why would anyone be willing to give up Bailey or Cueto plus Votto or anyone for that matter for Blanton? The guy has hit his peak and is on his way back down -- look at his last three year's stats! For a little more the reds could have the most dominant pitcher in the American League -- Bedard is who we should still be demanding, NOT Blanton! If Bedard doesn't work out, sign Lohse. You get an equal quality pitcher without giving up any prospect.

 
at 7:55 PM Blogger unblogger said...

Grizzly,

If you don't care much for home/away splits, then you would have loved the Reds signing of Eric Milton four years ago.

Yes, most pitchers pitches better at home, but I pointed out that Blanton does not just pitch better at home, he pitches better in big, pitcher friendly ballparks. Outside of the pitcher friendly AL West, his ERA is 5.67.

Also, the average difference between home and away for pitchers is around 0.30 ERA, Blanton's is 1.11, almost four times that. He gives up a ton of hits, and is not a groundball pitcher. He will have close to a 5 ERA in GABP.

 
at 8:06 PM Anonymous KingsPoint said...

Blanton is 6 years older than Cueto, and 6-1/2 years older than Bailey. At 23 years old, which is 3 seasons away for both Bailey and Cueto, Blanton threw for only 8 innings.

You don't think that 4 years from now, both of those pitchers could match what Blanton did when he was 24 and threw for 200 innings, or surpass what Blanton did his next season where his ERA was almost 5.00 while pitching in the vast confines of the Oakland Coliseum (whatever they call it now)?

Blanton had excellent seasons for 2 of the last 3 years, and will be cheap for the next 3 years relative to how well he'll pitch.

But, then there's also the possibility that Dusty could destroy both Bailey and Cueto and we never see their potential.

 
at 8:06 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Griz, the telling stat on Blanton is the 23 starts with an ERA under 3.00.

I pull up some of his numbers from Stats Inc.

* 1.28 career groundball/flyball ratio. We all agree that's fairly important in that park.

* Doesn't walk batters. Allowed only 40 last year in 230 innings.

* Averages just 3.69 pitches per batter for his career.

* Gets into the 7th inning.

* 60 percent of his pitches are in the lower quadrant of the plate.

* Uses his slider, curve and changeup almost equally--about 14 percent each.If anything, he's too reliant on his fastball. 61 percent on first pitch, 54 percent with two strikes and 69 percent behind the count.

* Career 1.31 WHIP.

And here's the doozy:

Blanton, 27, 42-34, 4.11 ERA, 633 innings, 98 starts, 3 years over 194 innings.
Bedard, 28, 40-34, 3.83, 658 innings, 111 starts, no years over 196 innings.

So I have to LMAO at the comparison that Bailey, today, is better than Blanton.

You guys are bonkers if you don't think Blanton can help this team today, tomorrow and through 2010. And at a lot cheaper cost than injury-prone Bedard.

*

 
at 8:15 PM OpenID sportshandicapper said...

Ugh. I hope I don't have to retract my praise for the Reds. I was glad they had the restraint to improve the pitching staff nicely without trading Bailey, Cueto, Votto, Bruce.

Nothing against Blanton, he'd be a fine guy to see in a Reds uniform. But Votto should be a fixture at 1B in Cincinnati for the next 12 years or so, and I think Bailey and Cueto are going to be better than Blanton.

Don't do it, Reds.

 
at 8:27 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

First basemen can be found on eBay, if not every street corner.

No. 2-3 starters? Not so much.

 
at 8:28 PM Anonymous Cubs stink said...

In short, if the Reds make this trade, they contend in the pathetic NL Central. If they don't make the trade, they're saying, we're going to wait to see what free agent pitching is available after the season and win 75-80 games this year.

I'm from IL and I would enjoy nothing more than beating the Cubs on the 100th anniversary of the curse.

Go get this guy and we'll see you in September. I'm sick of losing! Let's win this thing for god's sake!!

Go Reds!!!

 
at 8:50 PM Anonymous BigRedMachine said...

Something some people are forgetting in this debate is that the Reds also pitch better at home than on the road, even in "hitters' heaven" Great American Ballpark. Check espn.com if you don't believe me. For example Blanton's fellow Oakland friend Aaron Harang had a 3.40 ERA at home last year, while having around a 4 ERA on the road. So Reds pitchers also prefer pitching at home. To put it simply I doubt Blanton's ERA would be much over 4 if he played for the Reds. However this is all just guessing and pulling up random stats in people's favor, so anyone's guess is really as good as mine. I just seems clear to me that the Reds need another proven pitcher to get far this year and this is the best one available who comes at a fairly low price.

 
at 9:21 PM Blogger 24/7 said...

mr. r,

i wanna ask...you think we're that close? bailey and/or cueto could be good. i agree the other parts are negligible but if it's for bedard, i do it. not blanton.

 
at 9:55 PM Anonymous Dan said...

I'll stand by it -- Bailey is as good as Blanton today.

I don't mean that Bailey has done as much as Blanton so far. Obviously not.

But I think Bailey will be as good as or better than Blanton this year, in 2008.

I could turn out to be wrong, of course, b/c I'm just some dude on a blog. But that is honestly what I think is going to happen.

Plus you throw in the fact that Bailey and Cueto are both 21 and cheap as can be, and I'd rather have either one of them over Blanton.

 
at 9:59 PM Blogger unblogger said...

Mr. Redlegs,

The issue is not what Blanton did while pitching in one of the most pitching friendly divisions in baseball. The issue is what will he do pitching in one of the least pitching friendly divisions, in one of the least pitching friendly home parks in baseball?

The stats all point to him having a 4.50-5.00 ERA. Blanton does not pitch well outside of big parks. This is the same problem the Reds got into with Milton. The stats all projected that Milton would get hammered in GABP, and we all know how that turned out.
Blanton is not Milton in that he throws less homers, but he gives up a ton of hits, and does not strike out many. That does not bode well with the Reds defense and park they play in.

No one is saying that Bailey will put up the numbers that Blanton put up while pitching for Oakland, but that Blanton will put the same numbers that Bailey will while pitching for the Reds.

Blanton will improve the team, but is not worth any top prospects. zero, nada, not a single one.

 
at 10:17 PM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

24/7, no I do not think the Reds are that close.

 
at 11:06 PM Blogger Grizzlyfox said...

To unblogger: Just to let ya know, based on where teams in a division ranked in the runs scored category at the end of the year and then dividing that number by the number of teams in the division, the AL west is more of an offensive division than the NL central. The #s: AL East teams sat at an average of 10.6, AL West teams were next with an average rank of 11th, NL East teams were third with an average rank of 14.8, NL central teams were 4th at 15.66, then the AL central at 18.2, and the NL West at 20.4. So actually Blanton would be moving out of the 2nd toughest division to pitch in, to the 4th toughest. And if you combine the AL's three divisions and take an average rank, its 13.27, while an NL teams average rank is 16.95. So any pitcher that moves from the AL to the NL from the East or West should definately see improvement, while NL west pitchers should stick where there at.

 
at 12:04 AM Blogger charlie said...

Mr. Redlegs: I suppose I failed to mention that I don't think the Reds will do any of the things I mentioned. I understand full-well that Gonzalez will be an every day player. However, moving Phillips to SS would hardly weaken the defense there--especially considering Gonzalez was mediocre at best last year, and has certainly lost a step in both directions.

Keppinger was more than adequate at short last year when he played there, so there's no reason he can't play second. Phillips/Keppinger is at least as good as Phillips/Gonzalez--possibly better. It's time you stop giving Gonzalez a free ride based on his past performance. Again, I know he's here to stay. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

 
at 12:23 AM Blogger Mr. Redlegs said...

Phillips at short and Keppinger at second better than a Gonzalez-Phillips tandem?

Charlie, you really shouldn't use electrical typing equipment when you're high. :)

 
at 2:31 AM Anonymous Zahnadu said...

OK, here's one to freak everybody out. The Reds are reportedly talking with the A's and Dodgers, two teams that could have a keen interest in Edwin Encarnacion. Chavez is a walking D.L. report and the Dodgers can't afford to have so litte production from Garciaparra. Imagine this: Encarnacion to the Dodgers, Bailey and Volquez to the A's, Blanton and Andy LaRoche to the Reds. The Dodgers get the stud third baseman for the next decade-plus which makes LaRoche available, the A's get two young pitchers, and the Reds fill the gap at third while getting their pitcher. The Reds would be crazy to trade Encarnacion, and I don't think I'd make this trade, but it's something to chomp on until the spring games start!

 
at 2:58 AM Anonymous redifil said...

Just a few quickies:
-Cubs Suck, love your nickname, and your post.
-I like Blanton and think he would help the reds, but I would give up no more than one of our top young guys (i.e. Bailey, Cueto, Volquez, Votto) for him.
-I'd really like to see us keep Votto. Think he could our best 1B since Perez, and I absolutely loved the Big Dog (I'm old enough to have seen the BRM many times in person and bunches and bunches on da tube). And I don't think you can find "great" first basemen on e-bay. So if Kriv pulls the trigger, I'd rather it be one of those top three young pitchers and, say, Maloney. Keeping Votto, of course, adds to the Reds' overabundance of left-handed hitters, but that eases when Dunn and/or Griffey are gone.Votto could go to the OF then.
*We have to see what Gonzo can do in a less-distracted season. He should be much better in the field this year. Kepp stays as a solid utility guy.
*Just to say: Less than two months til Opening Day.

 
at 6:14 AM Blogger Al in Ohio said...

Mr. Redlegs,

While I enjoy your pithy responses as much as the next guy, you need to read more carefully. I said "righthanders" in my post. Wagner, Guidry, and Whitey Ford are lefties, I believe.

The reason I specified "righthanders" is because I'm aware of the history of "crafty" little lefties in the major leagues. The point I was making is that there have been few RH guys who find great success at that size, for whatever reason.

 
at 9:30 AM OpenID yesyeah said...

There are some interesting points here, but some silly ones too. There is no way in hell you can say Bailey is as good as Blanton. Could he be in a couple years? SURE! But the FACT is, that Blanton has averaged 200ip's a year, with a consistent 2/1 KK/bb ratio. He DOES pitch to contact, which is why he gives up hits, but, he gave up only 16 homers in 230+ innings last year. And that 16 was down from 17 the year before, and 23 the year before that and he pitched more innings last year. So you'll see the hits, but he's about as solid and non-flashy as they come.

Blanton is totally underrated - mainly because he is on the a's and many people don't actually see him pitch.

And some say he's league average. What is league average? Blanton's proved in 3 years of starting that he can pitch 200 innings and at about a 4.00 era. I wouldn't read too much into the splits home/away- it's certainly notable. HOWEVER, look at some like Johan Santana - in 2007 he was 0.81 ERA better on the road, BUT in 2006, he was 1.19 better at home!!! Now, johan has has 6 years of starting as opposed to Blanton's 3 - Johan's overall splits are pretty even, but those numbers do change. Also, remember, moving from the AL to the NL is a huge bonus - because you face the pitcher once and you also are facing weaker hitting. Blanton is a bonafide #2 on the Reds today, and could very well put up similar numbers to Harang (minus the k numbers).

He just turned 28 and had already put in three solid years. He's making about $4million this year and has 3 years of arbitration left (2008, 2009 and 2010) and can be a FA in 2011. He could probably be had for a 3 years deal for about $5million a year. Based on the crazy free agency market, based on his numbers, he'd probably be getting a $10million / year contract (look at what worse pitchers are getting).

In a nutshell, I wish the a's would just freaking sign him to a 3-4 year deal, because he's solid and consistent. Remember too, trading prospects for proven players (especially starters) is a risky proposition. While Cueto is a HUGE prospect (and I would love to get him) you have no idea how he'll fair in the majors. Bailey may turn out to be terrific, or he may be more of the same last year, who knows.

The Reds need some bonafide starting NOW. Bailey may not be ready now. And that is why a deal between the a's and reds is going to be tough. Beane realizes that Blanton's perceived value from other teams is not as high as he thinks - so he's ready to roll with Blanton until a team comes around and is willing to give what he feels he's worth. A player with a career 4.00 era and 200+ innings a year, who doesn't walk people and doesn't give up a lot of homeruns and who is under control for 3 seasons in this day and age, is worth more than you think. But I am not sure the Reds and A's match up prospect wise much.

What would have been terrific, is if the reds had not spent so much dang money on Cordero, and worked out a deal for Blanton AND Street - where they could have given up some prospects, filled 2 holes they needed and saved money in the process.

 
at 10:47 AM Blogger Blake said...

hey, A's fan here. As far as Blanton worth I'd say it's pretty high.

As far as his totals for last year you really have to look at what happened with our catcher situation. We got rid of Jason Kendall who was a fantastic veteran behind the plate and replaced him with a rookie call up in Kurt Suzuki. All our pitchers suffered due to his learning curve.

Haren fell off, Gaudin really fell off, and Blanton slid a bit. Blanton can easily be a great #2 starter and expect to get 7 innings a game out of him and his command has only improved. You guys got Harang from us and look what happened.

Basically Blanton is a great pitcher and considering his durability, quality starts and price he's a real difference maker.

 
at 12:37 PM OpenID yesyeah said...

Really what needs to happen is a Blanton and Dan Johnson swap. DJ, in the NL would be putting up 25+homers with full time duty. He will provide much more power from the 1b position than your alternative (if Votto is indeed packaged) which is Hattey and Keppy - that is just not getting it done from a corner IF spot.

Blanton and DJ for Bailey, Votto and a 3rd, lesser prospect. This makes so much sense it's sick. DJ is not in the A's plans but could be a terrific pickup for the Reds. He's already hit 15 and 18 homers in 109 and 117 games, respectively. Give him the 150+ starts, in the NL and in GABP and that's a terrific pull (he's also cheap: making close to league minimum for 2008 and then arb. eligible for 2009, 2010 and 2011). He can give you 4 years to groom another firstbasemen.

Mark it down - makes sense. Reds get a #2 starter and starting firstbasemen who can help them RIGHT NOW.

 
at 2:42 PM Blogger KY side of Cincy said...

Reaganspad, check back with me in 5 years when Joey Votto is averaging .280 with 18 homers and 75 ribbies. That is your franchise type first-baseman worthy of NOT acquiring a 1/2 starter? Really?

Likewise, I hope you're not the one assessing value to such average first-baseman so as to have another $7 million per year Sean Casey deal in front of us.

Joey Votto has been HORRIBLY over-valued by this fan base and the sports' talk hosts in this town.

FYI, Jeff Keppinger will NEVER be an everyday player for the Reds or anyone else. He is an aloof utility player who can give you some good AB's in spells. Nothing more, nothing less.

 
at 5:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oakland fan here, so take my obvious bias with a grain of salt. However, you NL fans are reading far too much into the Oakland homefield factor. I would say, for Joe Blanton, as several people pointed out, its more a factor of home vs. road comfort and selective matchups.

Fact of the matter is that Blanton only struggles against teams with overwhelming offensive ability, like Boston. His weakness is his ability to finish the premier hitters in the league, he can if his curve is on, otherwise he can't. -- Think Manny Ramirez fouling off pitches in the playoffs.

IMO, if Blanton came to the national league he would dominate above and beyond his AL numbers because quite frankly the national league is an offensive joke by comparison. Not only are the offenses much worse statistically than in the AL (no DH of course), but the amount of meatball pitchers in the NL is twice that in the AL. Simply because of economics and the need for teams like the A's and Twins to reform faster than NL teams have...

Anyway, Blanton is worth it, I don't want to see him go, he is still a developing pitcher as well, just like your prospects.

 
at 12:00 AM Blogger reaganspad said...

wow KY side of Cincy, 280 for Votto? 18 HR's? 75 RBI's?
Those will be his first half averages.

For a team that hasn't had 100 RBI's at 1st base since Perez, people are sure in love with below average production at 1st base. But pitching, that is unacceptable

 
at 8:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still can't figure out why people are using wins and losses to evaluate pitchers. WHIP and ERA, period, and be sure to check those home and away splits on Blanton, Wayne!

 
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