As per Buster Olney's ESPN insider blog today, the Mariners are stepping up efforts to obtain Blanton via trade. This is not shocking as Seattle has been rebuffed in their efforts to acquire pretty much every other starting pitcher they've targeted so far this winter and badly need a reliable starter or three. Olney mentions that Adam Jones would be a necessary part of the package coming back for the A's.
I find this to be an intriguing trade idea. Sure the Mariners are in the same division as the A's, but the dynamics in the AL West have changed considerably since 2006 when the A's absolutely dominated the Mariners. With Beane waiving the white flag and the Rangers in rebuild mode as well, the division will likely be a battle between Seattle and Anaheim, and will be a one-sided battle at that if the Mariners don't find a few good starters.
Blanton for Jones straight up might be a net win for the A's in the long run, as "rfloh" pointed out in the Kuroda diary, since 6 years of a power hitting center fielder is a lot more valuable than 3 years of a mid-rotation control pitcher. And Bavasi might just be desperate enough to make that deal, but you never know. But it seems like Beane has planned on trying to acquire a bevy of lower level, projectable prospects for Blanton and Haren as opposed to just getting a major league ready stud or two.
In that same thread I floated the idea of packaging Blanton WITH Harden to entice the Mariners to give up more than just Jones. Acquiring Harden would be a calculated risk by Bavasi, but when he's healthy Rich has pitched extremely well in Seattle and is arguably just as talented as Erik Bedard, whom the Mariners have targeted as well. Getting Blanton mitigates some of the risk inherent with Harden and gives the Mariners an innings eater that has proven success in the AL West. With King Felix, Blanton and a relatively healthy Harden, the Mariners would suddenly have a front of the rotation that could match up well with the Angels.
In return for Blanton and Harden, Beane could ask for Jones and/ or any of these players:
Wladamir Balentien (not a CFer but an intriguing righty power bat)
Brandon Morrow (flame throwing Cal product)
Chris Tillman (young righty starter with good K-numbers in low minors)
Carlos Triunfel (highly projectable, super young middle infielder)
Emiliano Fruto (changeup artist with "mild" control problems)
Jeremy Reed (Beane favorite with good defensive skills in center)
- Another possible landing spot for Blanton is Cleveland, which showed interest in Haren last week. I could see Blanton fitting in well behind Sabathia and Carmona and in front of Westbrook and Byrd. The Indians tend to target the same type of players the A's do in the draft, so I could see Beane liking a few of the players in their system among them:
Adam Miller (One of the top starting prospects in all of baseball for many years)
Trevor Crowe (quintessential, switch hitting lead-off type that could play center)
Asdrubal Cabrera (strong armed infielder that made an impact in the playoffs last year)
John Drennen (projectable possible center fielder - also San Diego native)
I'm not that knowledgeable about Cleveland's system, but if they really want Blanton they could probably make it work.
- The Mets have been interested in Blanton for awhile. What about Blanton for Carlos Gomez and Kevin Mulvey?
- Or Blanton to the Reds for Johnny Cueto and Chris Valaika or Paul Janish?
What do with Blanton?