As the Los Angeles Angels near the halfway point in this year’s Spring Training, several players on the team’s 40-man roster have made their case for an Opening Day roster spot, but one of those guys who hasn’t is pitcher Joe Blanton.
Last year, the 33-year-old had arguably one of the worst seasons for a starting pitcher as he had a 2-14 record with a 6.04 ERA, 180 hits and 29 home runs allowed, along with a .317 BAA in 132.2 innings pitched. His struggles have appeared to have followed him to 2014 Spring Training as he has 7.59 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched in three games played.
Although Blanton did have an impressive start in Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers where he allowed just one hit in five innings, it will not cover up the fact that he is not a consistently reliable pitcher.
One does not have to look far as his career ERA is 4.51, and he has had two seasons in his 10 years in the majors where he has posted an ERA below 4.00. His struggles on the mound have been there for much of his career, and it came to a head last season.
This should come as no surprise to the Halos when they signed him a two-year deal worth $15 million in December of 2012. The contract was also a head-scratcher at time as he had posted a 4.71 ERA for the 2012 season playing for the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers. After the Dodgers had acquired him at the trade deadline that season, they were smart to let him go as he had a 2-4 record with a 4.99 ERA, 66 hits allowed and a .291 BAA in 57.2 innings pitched.
So with that said, why keep a player who is being extremely overpaid when he only hurts the team in the long run? Just look at last season as the Halos had problems across the board on their pitching staff. Blanton was one of the biggest contributors to their pitching woes as he was a part of at least 14 losses in his 20 starts for the season.
It is also won’t help to keep Blanton on the team as it takes away a roster spot for potential reliable arm out of the bullpen such as Michael Roth (0.00 ERA in 4.0 innings), Brandon Lyon (retired 12 out of the 13 batters faced, 0.00 ERA in 4.0 innings), or Fernando Salas (0.00 ERA with one hit allowed in 4.0 innings), who have all pitched lights out this Spring Training.
The Angels must swallow the bullet, admit they made a mistake in signing Blanton and part ways with him. They will take a huge hit financially, but it will ultimately help the team’s success in the long term.