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Elder Abuse II: Billy Beane's Revenge

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It was previously assumed that Pat Gillick's worst possible deal was that abortion of a Bobby Abreu trade just before the 2006 deadline, when he sent not only Abreu but solid mid-rotation starter Cory Lidle to the Yankees for four non-prospects.

That deal might now have competition.

Gillick traded away top prospect Adrian Cardenas, promising pitcher Josh Outman, and power outfielder Matt Spencer to the Oakland A's for pitcher Joe Blanton, who takes a 5-12 record and ERA just under 5 into the second half of an awful season.

I can think of two reasons not to feel horrible about this deal:

  1. It almost certainly signals the end of Adam Eaton's tenure in the Phillies rotation--and as uninspiring as I find Blanton, he's a damn sight better than Eaton.
  2. If Gillick is making moves like this, the drop from him to Ruben "Amoron" Amaro seems a bit less precipitous.
Other than snark, I guess one could view as a positive Blanton's contract status: he won't reach free agency until after the 2010 season. And his track record is as a .500 pitcher who can deliver 200 innings per season of roughly league-average ball.

What he's clearly not, though, is a guy one can envision dominating against playoff-caliber opposition--which, for all their negatives, was something one could say of Erik Bedard or A.J. Burnett.

And what really frigging kills me is that Beane probably extracted more from the Phils than he got from the Cubs a couple weeks back for Rich Harden--who is the kind of talent that can flip a five- or seven-game series.