One was dealt recently and the Phillies are probably hoping that the other can be traded soon as well.
Blanton's Dodger days
Blanton hasn't done well since being shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's 0-2, with an 8.22 ERA and a 1.630 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). To be fair, he's only made three starts since the August 3 trade that sent him to the left coast for a player to be named later.
The former Oakland Athletics' right-hander was traded to Philadelphia midway through the 2008 season. He went 4-0 down the stretch, beat the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Division Series and the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. Of course, the solo blast that Blanton historically hit in the fifth inning of Game 4 of that Fall Classic will always stand as one his career highlights.
Getting a prospect in return for the 31-year-old, who was pitching in the last guaranteed year of his contract, was a nice move for general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. to have made. It's unclear whether the Dodgers made waiver claims on Cliff Lee and Blanton a few weeks ago with hopes of actually getting both men, or if Blanton was the expected Plan B pick-up.
Adding modest Dodgers' Single-A pitching prospect Ryan O'Sullivan (who is the player to be named later in the Blanton deal) to the Clearwater Threshers' staff is fine. All acquired minor leaguers come with no attached guarantee signs, but increasing pitching depth helps the farm system.
Polanco's last stand
At one time Polanco was one of the more underrated players in the game. 'Polly' has been declining since he returned from the Detroit Tigers through a three-year free agent contract that was signed in December 2009. A variety of health issues have affected his performance this season (.255 batting average, .628 OPS) and have limited him to appearing in just 82 games.
The 15-year veteran is currently on a rehabilitation assignment in Florida. After he says goodbye to his temporary Threshers' teammate O'Sullivan in Clearwater this weekend, he's expected to rejoin the Phillies for their home game against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
Amaro must be hoping that he plays well enough to attract waiver trade interest from a contender who believes that this 36-year-old infielder can offer defensive help. Despite his offensive woes, Polanco has posted a .990 fielding percentage at third base this season. While his range is limited, he can also play second base if needed.
If Polanco isn't traded, it seems unlikely that the Phillies would choose to pick-up his $5.5 million option for next season. Their rejection would trigger a $1 million buyout instead.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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