Pirates Free Agent Target: Joe Blanton
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen needs some help entering the 2017 season, and ex-Pirate Joe Blanton could provide said help.
As currently constructed, the 2017 Pirate bullpen has some strong pieces. These strong pieces include pitches such as Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio, and A.J. Schugel. However, there are still some question marks.
These question marks need answered this offseason. They can be answered either via free agency or via trade. And one free agent that could help answer these questions is right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton.
In 2016 Joe Blanton pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 80 innings pitched he averaged 9.00 K/9, 2.93 BB/9, 0.79 HR/9, and he posted a WHIP of 1.01. This led the 36-year old Blanton to posting a 2.48 ERA, 3.33 FIP, and a 0.9 WAR last season.
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Joe Blanton pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the final two months of the 2015 season. Coming out of the Pirate bullpen he pitched in both short and long relief. And he pitched well in both situations.
The Pirates acquired Joe Blanton in a trade with the Kansas City Royals in July of 2015. Then in 34 1/3 innings pitched with the Pirates he averaged 10.22 K/9, 2.36 BB/9, and he allowed just one home run. This led to Blanton owning a 1.57 ERA, 2.11 FIP, and a 2.77 xFIP as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
All of this led to Joe Blanton becoming one of the Pirates best, most reliable relievers. And that says a lot considering how good the Pirate bullpen was in their 2015 98-win season. Due to all of this, Blanton is a pitcher that has already earned the confidence and faith of manager Clint Hurdle.
Joe Blanton could serve a variety of roles in the Pirate bullpen in 2017. He could pitch in both short and long relief. Regardless, adding Joe Blanton would make the Pirate bullpen better.