The Dodgers acquired an expensive bridge loan for their starting rotation on Friday, trading for Joe Blanton from the Philadelphia Phillies, for a player to be named later. But then again the cost is mostly money, something the new ownership group has shown an increasing willingness to spend.
Blanton is making $8.5 million in the final year of a three-year contract, and with 62 days left in the regular season has approximately $2,879,781 for the rest of the season.
Blanton is tied for the league lead with 22 home runs allowed this season, but he also has the lowest walk rate in the league (1.21 per nine innings) and he has the best strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.39) in the NL. He is 8-9 on the season with a 4.59 ERA in 21 games, including 20 starts, and has averaged 6.63 innings per start on the season, which is more than anyone but Clayton Kershaw on the Dodgers staff.
The timing of the move is interesting, as Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that Cliff Lee did not clear waivers. Did the Dodgers claim Lee, only to have Philadelphia pull him back, then settle on Blanton? Or did the Dodgers not claim Lee at all?
The Dodgers could have six starters as soon as August 13, as Ted Lilly could return to the team by then. Lilly will make his second minor league rehab start tonight for Class A Rancho Cucamonga, and is scheduled to throw three innings plus a post-start bullpen session, about 60 pitches in total.
One thing that is clear is that the Dodgers were not comfortable giving Stephen Fife another start. After Fife lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his loss to Arizona on Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly was asked if Fife had done enough to earn another start.
"That's hard to say," Mattingly said. "I don't know where we're going to be."
Blanton last started for the Phillies on Saturday, and he has lasted at least six innings in each of his last 10 starts. He beat the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 16, when he allowed two runs in eight innings, with seven strikeouts and no walks.
The Dodgers have taken on roughly $14 million in additional salary this season in their five new players acquired in the last 10 days: Hanley Ramirez ($5.8 million), Shane Victorino ($3.4 million), Blanton ($2.9 million), League ($1.7 million), and Randy Choate ($0.6 million).