This could be a trade that benefits both the Angels and the Philadelphia Phillies: The Angels deal LF Juan Rivera to the Phillies for SP Joe Blanton. A fringe prospect could be included by either side to sweeten the deal, if necessary.
How the Phillies benefit:
- The Phils have a need for a right-handed outfielder with some pop after Jayson Werth bolted for that ridiculous contract in Washington D.C. Juan Rivera had a sub-par 2010, but was still able to hit 15 HRs in 455 plate appearances.
- Rivera has a decent arm in the OF, but isn't exactly fast. Playing 100+ games in left in the bandbox in Philly would be a better fit than the same number of games in Anaheim.
- The Phils need a little salary relief after acquiring Cliff Lee in free agency. Blanton could cost $9 Million after performance bonuses in both 2011 and 2012. Juan Rivera will cost $5.25 Million in 2011 and will be a free agent after the season. If he has a decent year, he could project as a Type B free agent, meaning he could possibly net the Phillies a supplemental first round pick should Rivera depart following the season.
- Joe Blanton figures to be the 5th starter behind the Four Horsemen of Roy Halladay, Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels. The Phillies have other 5th starter candidates, including Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley, making Blanton the most logical trade bait.
How the Angels benefit:
- Joe Blanton is a solid back of the rotation starter. He is very hittable, however he walks very little. His home runs allowed should drop some if half of his starts are in a better pitcher's park. He has pitched very well in Anaheim during his stint in Oakland. Baseball-Reference.com finds Blanton to be a similar comp to Aaron Cook, Jake Westbrook, and the Angels' own Ervin Santana. Personally, Blanton's stats remind me of Joel Pineiro.
- Blanton has been remarkably durable, logging no less than 29 games started per year since his first full season in 2005.
- Blanton represents protection against another disastrous season from Scott Kazmir or from injury to another Angels starter. He could also be trade bait at the trading deadline should the Angels be out of the race or if Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana, Haren, Joel Pineiro, and Kazmir are all performing admirably.
- The Yankees are supposedly interested in Blanton. Any chance to further weaken the "Evil Empire" should not be ignored.
- Blanton is signed through 2012. If he does well in 2011, it would be easier to let Pineiro go after this walk-year. Kazmir is also signed through 2011 with a club option for 2012. If he bombs, the Angels will pay him a buyout to depart following this coming season.
- After striking out on Crawford and Beltre, the Angels could likely afford to take on the $3.75 Million salary differential from Rivera to Blanton and also the $9 million in 2012.
- I've been a fan of Juan Rivera since he arrived in the thievery that was the Jose Guillen trade, however it seems that he could use a change of scenery and a chance to play more often. The Angels need to free up a spot in the outfield for a leadoff hitter, most likely a batter like Johnny Damon or Scott Podsednik.
If you are looking for a deal to "save" the off-season for the Halos, this isn't it. However, I believe that this could be a trade that will benefit both teams and both players.