The Philadelphia Phillies should look into a one-for-one swap of starting pitcher Joe Blanton and Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis, according to David Murphy of Philly.com. Youkilis may be available this summer with third baseman Will Middlebrooks now at the major league level, and Nick Carfado reported this weekend that the Phillies and San Francisco Giants have taken a look at the 33-year-old slugger. Murphy considers Blanton to be expendable at this point and noted that the Phillies are in serious need of additional offense.
Youkilis has been banged up this year, resulting in a slow start and a line of .219/.292/.344 over his first 64 at-bats of the season. Still, Youkilis owns a career OPS of .878 and hit 17 home runs and 32 doubles for the Red Sox just last season.
On the other hand you have Joe Blanton, who’s gotten off to a quick start for the Phillies this year. Over his first eight appearances, Blanton has maintained an ERA and WHIP of 2.96 and 1.068. Blanton’s career numbers are not as solid as his 2012 production, as the right-hander has a lifetime ERA and WHIP of 4.27 and 1.337.
Murphy thinks the Phillies should seriously consider a Blanton-for-Youkilis swap, but is this a trade offering that is really likely or beneficial to both teams involved?
Murphy lists the following as reasons such a trade proposal could and should arise. Boston needs pitching and the Phillies need hitting. Youkilis ($12 million) and Blanton ($8.5 million) have similar 2012 salaries and could become free agents following the season. The Red Sox also have top prospect Will Middlebrooks swinging a hot bat at third while Youkilis has been on the DL.
While this may certainly be something the Phillies would and should consider, it doesn’t seem to be a trade that would benefit the Red Sox this year or in the future.
Is Blanton really a better alternative than what the Red Sox are calling a back-end of their rotation? While the National League East is impressive, the opposing offenses Blanton is facing are not comparable to the bats in the American League East. Blanton’s track record also shows that he’s likely to regress back to his norms.
Even if you consider Blanton to be a solution to the Red Sox pitching woes, is he worth giving up Kevin Youkilis for straight-up?
Essentially the Red Sox would be buying high on Blanton and selling low on Youkilis, and it wouldn’t seem to make sense for Boston to do either at this point.