Forgotten Pittsburgh Pirates: Joe Blanton
By Marty Leap
At the 2015 trade deadline, the Pittsburgh Pirates were one of the most active teams in baseball. However, many fans forget the addition of Joe Blanton.
At the 2015 MLB trade deadline, there were few teams more active than the Pittsburgh Pirates. Then general manager Neal Huntington added arguably the best reliever available that deadline in Joakim Soria, as well as sluggers Aramis Ramirez and Michael Morse.
The Pittsburgh Pirates also added J.A. Happ, who pitched better post-deadline than any other starting pitcher traded in 2015. Another pitcher that was added by Huntington and the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline in 2015 was reliever Joe Blanton.
After spending his career as a starting pitcher, Blanton started to transition to a relief role with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2013. By 2015, he was a full time relief pitcher for the Kansas City Royals.
On July 28th, 2015, the Royals desiganted Blanton for assignment despite him having pithced well for him. This led to the Pittsburgh Pirates working out a trade for Blanton in which they sent cash considerations to Kansas City.
With the Pittsburgh Pirates, Blanton would dominate out of one of the best bullpens in baseball.
The veteran righty pitched 34.1 innings for the Pirates. In these 34.1 innings of work, Blanton allowed just 26 hits, one home run and he posted a 1.57 ERA to go with a 2.11 FIP. With the Pirates, Blanton walked just 6.6% of batters faced while logging a healthy 28.5% strikeout rate.
Blanton also pitched out of multiple roles for the Pirates. He was able to pitch in high leverage situations for the Pirates, while also giving the team multiple innings when need be. This led to Blanton being a key cog in Clint Hurdle’s bullpen. A bullpen that, once again, was one of the best in baseball and was a key cog in the Pittsburgh Pirates winning 98 games.
In his 13-year MLB career, Blanton logged 48.1 postseason innings. Unfortunately, this did not include any postseason work with the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the Pirates were, in my opinion, the best team in baseball in 2015, they were upended by the Chicago Cubs in the 2015 National League Wild Card Game to end their postseason run before it ever really started.