Joe Blanton pitched very well tonight despite giving up five runs. But it very well could've been his last start as an Oakland Athletic. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Mets are supposedly making a run at getting Joe.
I think it would be a brilliant move by Billy Beane because if you look at the market for starting pitching right now, it's terrible. Joe Blanton is by far the most valuable pitcher if Beane has indeed made him available. So getting a haul for him would be incredibly wise. And the A's will be covered this year in the rotation by Loaiza coming off the DL next week. Yes, Blanton is cheap and young and a good starter, but the A's could improve their offense considerably by getting some huge quality for Joe.
So while the A's got their usual beat down from Placido Polanco and his assault on everything Oakland, the bigger picture is that the A's could be completely reshaping their future by moving Blanton. And perhaps Joe pitched over his head earlier this year? Remember, Blanton had never been a great pitcher until earlier this season. He was basically league average, so perhaps Beane believes that the regression is happening and it's a good time to sell high on Joe.
At the same time, the rotation for 2008 does not wind up looking as solid without Blanton in it because the A's would inevitably have to rely on Haren, Gaudin, Loaiza and some combination of DiNardo, Braden, Windsor or Komine. I'm not putting Harden on that list because he's a non-entity until he proves otherwise.
Still, the deadline just got 1,000 percent more interesting than I thought it was going to be. I'd miss Blanton, but it would be a very intelligent move.