Everyone has their stupid Joe Blanton line every time he took the mound and for that reason alone I was almost glad he was traded last night. Talk about a guy who got almost ZERO respect as a Phillie and those insults alone go to show you the bandwagon that engulfed Phillies fandome after 2008. There were seasons where pitchers of Blanton's calibre were the best they had. The fact that they ended up with the luxury of putting him in the back end of their rotation for the past 4 years is something that shouldn't be overlooked but sadly it was.
No he wasn't Steve Carlton. But when healthy, he was durable. Sure, it was a coin toss if he threw 7 innings of 3 run baseball or 4 innings of 8 run ball at some points. Though he found an average and even during his season, where everyone insists on dishing out insults at him, he managed to be one of the better arms they had. So in a way I'm glad. I'm glad that the durable innings eater who helped win a World Series isn't here to be kicked around by the wagon jumpers anymore.
For regular fans such as myself, we'll always have his Game 4 blast. One of the many great moments of that October.
So where do the Phillies go from here? Where is this team at? People are still going but the ballpark is quiet. Even when Chase Utley homered last night, the magic just wasn't there. I almost consider what we have now as Spring Training 2.0. We need to see if Domonic Brown can hang as an everyday player or if Nate Schierholtz 's change of scenery is good for him. We need to see if Josh Lindblom is a set up arm. We need to see if the likes of B.J. Rosenberg can chew up some frames in middle relief. I imagine we'll soon see if Tyler Cloyd is a big league pitcher too. It's a lost season but it doesn't have to be a lost era.
In 2006, when Bobby Abreu was shipped to the Yankees in another season that was pretty much lost, the team made a run with players who were given an opportunity to step up. In a week where Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, and now Joe Blanton are cast away, the opportunities are there. I really don't think anyone makes a run here but I'm content now with checking out the inventory and seeing where they can go in the offseason and in '13.
A quick minor league note from Reading last night. In his debut in the Phillies' organization, Ethan Martin notched a win with a line of: 6 IP, 5 H, ER, BB, 6 K. With the struggles of Trevor May, he could almost instantly be one of the top pitchers in the chain.