Beerleaguer says his piece about departed right-hander Joe Blanton.
Care to read on if the headline hasn't already spoiled the premise.
I listened to a lot of talk radio while driving around this weekend and heard a good share of revisionist high praise for Blanton, using phrases like "very solid" and "vastly underrated." There was even some heated grumbling and fist pounding over letting him slip past the non-waiver trade deadline without getting something in return.
But let's face it: the reason he slipped into August is that he's not a major difference maker, and not someone who'll give any team a real edge in the postseason, head-to-head, against higher-caliber pitching. Aside from 2008 - a comfortable win over the Brewers in the NLDS, then a homer in a blowout Game 4 of the World Series, you're getting a boatload of forgettable starts, inconsistency and injury over five seasons, ending with the final year of his three-year, $24 million deal. There were times, like the opening halves of 2009 and 2010, when he was kind of intolerable. For three winters, the Phils made him available, and nobody budged.
Perhaps the most "underrated" part about Blanton was how inconsistent he was. There were lows, but there were certainly highs. When he was on, he helped considerably and played a big role in guiding the Phils slog through a 162-game schedule. He was steady in those second halves of 2009 and 2010 and was having a pretty good season, overall, here in 2012, including some of the best strike-throwing of his career. His 5.71 K/BB rates as tops in the league.
From the moment he arrived in Philly, Blanton went about business in a low-key way. The "four aces" spectacle made him an unfortunate, and undeserved, punchline. Even his name - Joe Blanton - denotes utility and a workman's ethos.
But let's not get carried away on either side: the fat jokes are just as uncalled for as letting him drink free in Philly for the rest of his days. He was Joe average, a league-median, 97 ERA+, back-of-the-rotation starter.
Not that there was anything wrong with that.