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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Joe Blanton Finally Arrives In Cincinnati (With Pittsburgh) As Cueto Departs

Joe Blanton arrived in Cincinnati seven years late.

The Reds had trade discussion with the Oakland Athletics in the winter of 2007 and 2008.

Oakland reportedly was asking for either Homer Bailey or Johnny Cueto and Joey Votto.

At the time Bailey was 21 and had a 4-2 record with a 5.76 ERA in nine starts for the Reds. Cueto was 22 with no Major League experience. Votto hit .321 with four home runs and 17 RBI in 24 games with the Reds.

The Reds naturally, and thankfully balked at such a trade but Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty knew better than Reds' brass.  The following words were written by Daugherty on February 8, 2008:

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Interesting how so many fans are so concerned about trading prospects for established talent. This time, it involves acquiring J. Blanton from Oakland for, apparently, Bailey/Cueto, Votto and a lesser prospect.

I do it in a second because (1) a reason you build your farm system is to have players to trade and (2) If you are a small-money club, you don't get chances to win every year. The Reds' equation this year is simple: Make Matt Belisle your #3 starter, finish 3rd or 4th, win about 80 games; trade for Blanton, win 85 or more, be in the mix all summer.

I look at prospect-hoarding like this: You save your whole life for retirement. You sacrifice when you're young, so you can take it easy when you're not. Then when you retire, you become sick or infirm and all that money you could have spent when you were young enough to enjoy it just sits there.

Blanton is a proven winner, a guy who threw 230 innings last year, gave up only 16 homers in the AL and walked only 40 hitters. Cueto is. . . is. . . we don't know. Same for Votto and Bailey.

Do you want to win after 8 years of losing? Or do you want to brag about the prospects? Spend your money now, while you can? Or hoard it, for an uncertain future that might never arrive?

The subject came up because the Pittsburgh Pirates took Daugherty's advice.  They purchased Blanton's contract from the Kansas City Royals on Thursday after the Royals designated Blanton for assignment to make room on the roster for, guess whom?  They made room for THAT Johnny Cueto.

Blanton finished that 2008 season with the Philadelphia Phillies after starting the season with the A's.  He was 9-12 with a 4.69 ERA for the two teams.

Blanton's best year was 2009 with a 12-8 campaign with the Phillies.  Blanton was in the Philadelphia rotation with Vance Worley, who ironically was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Blanton.
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The 34-year old from Bowling Green, Kentucky was 2-14 with the Los Angeles Angels in 2013 and was out of baseball for a year.

'I didn't do anything for 10 months," Blanton told a gathering of reporters. "It was a little refreshing to be honest. My plan was to never play again."

But as the with Daugherty's proposed trade, fate has cards it needs to show.

Former Reds' pitcher Zach Duke moved into Blanton's Nashville neighborhood.  Blanton agreed to play catch with Duke during the off-season.

"I remembered that I used to be pretty good at this thing," Blanton said. "My agent asked around and a couple teams were interested in me."

Blanton signed with the Royals.  Blanton made four starts among his 15 appearances with Kansas City. He was 2-2 with a 3.89 ERA.

Blanton threw 3 2/3 innings against the Pirates last Friday in a 3-1 Kansas City win, striking out five.

"We watched Joe for awhile," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. "We thought he was a better overall fit for us out of the bullpen (than Worley). We saw him when a starter went down in Kansas City. He got the call and put us down quick and efficiently."


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