BY SPENCER REITER, Contributor
The Phillies front office has been busy lately, being sure to sign all their arbitration eligible players before the hearings come around. This week in particular they locked up Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino. The two deals are nearly identical- Victorino signed a three-year, $22 M deal Thursday night, while Blanton’s three-year $24 M extension was announced that afternoon. The two will become major pieces of this franchise for the next few years. Both have near identical contracts and both will need to perform well to bring another World Series trophy to town.
But who is the more valuable player? Which signing will prove worthy of the money? Lets take a further look.
Joe Blanton– Jo Blo joined the team mid-season, coming over in a trade with Oakland back in 2008 and pitched decently with a 4.20 ERA in 13 games. Although he had a shaky ERA, he went 4-0 in those 13 games. Blanton also pitched well in the playoffs in 2008, as a solid piece on the run to a World Series victory. This past season Blanton had a 4.06 ERA with a 12-8 record. He was a little shaky at points, but didn’t have a bad season. He has always been an innings eater, and promises to give you a shot to win the game every time he pitches. He won’t burn your bullpen, but he won’t pitch a no-hitter either. For a four pitcher, he’s pretty damn good and you can expect the same from him this season.
Shane Victorino- The Flyin’ Hawaiian is loved by most in Philly because of his unique personality, but do his numbers represent something we should love too? In the past 5 years, Victorino has consistently hit in the low .280’s and .290’s. He is also a huge threat on the base path with 71 steals this past season. Victorino is also a quick and smart centerfielder. He makes great and clutch plays, and you hardly see an error. Victorino is made well for the two-spot in the lineup, his speed and contact are keys to his offensive game. The only thing is, the Phillies just signed the one of the best two-hitters in baseball- Placido Polanco. This upcoming season he will be put in a power position in the lineup, in the six or seven spot. He’ll have to keep his same approach and try to make the adjustment. If he tries to change his approach at the plate, he could get into trouble.
So who brings more value?
In my opinion, Shane Victorino is a more valuable player than Joe Blanton. He’s got that winning attitude and plays the game right. He should rejuvenate the back end of the order with his speed and contact. You won’t find anyone who can play a better centerfield either.
The Phillies still may have been smart in locking up Joe Blanton, though. Blanton is a decent pitcher and at least (although it was a little pricey) we were able to secure a good starter and provide some more certainty in the future of the rotation.
Did he really have to LEE-ve?
The money spent on these two players also makes a “phan” think about Cliff Lee. With all the cash dropped on Blanton and Happ, you have to wonder if the money would have been better spent on resigning Lee.
Lee is certainly a bigger help to the team than Joe Blanton and also some of the other players signed in the past 2 months. The Phillies however seem to believe that locking up these players that vary in position is more important that one Cliff Lee.
Whether we like it or not, we will be seeing more Blanton and Victorino jerseys around Citizens Bank Park for the next 3 years. We will miss Lee, but be grateful to have Blanton back for a while. He will be able to contribute and help the Phillies to more winning seasons.
Victorino will be able to do what he has done phenomenally in Philadelphia, be a huge factor in the field and at bat. Look for him to be just as affective in the new lineup and help bring this team to victory once again.
Who do you think will help the Phillies out more this season? Make your opinion count in the comments below.