Joe Blanton, Relief Pitcher, Washington Nationals
Date of Birth: 12/11/1980
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee
College: University of Kentucky
Joe Blanton, relief pitcher for the Washington Nationals, was first drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 2002. He pitched in the minor leagues from 2002 through most of 2004, joining the Athletics for three games in 2004.
Blanton joined the Athletics' starting rotation in 2005. That season, he had a career low ERA of 3.53 and a 12-12 record in 201.1 innings in 33 games. Although he had a high ERA (4.82) in 2006, he also had a career high 16 wins (to 12 losses). His ERA dropped in 2007 to 3.95 and he had a 14-10 record in a career high 230.0 innings.
After 20 games and a losing record of 5-12 in 2008, the Athletics traded Blanton to the Philadelphia Phillies on July 17th. He improved with the Phillies and he finished the 2009 season with a 12-8 record and a 4.05 ERA. In January, 2010, he signed a three-year, $24 million contract extension with the Phillies but he never managed to live up to their expectations. He had a 4.82 ERA and 9-6 record in 29 games in 2010. The following season, he had an elbow injury that limited his playing time to just 11 games.
After 21 games and a 4.59 ERA in 2012, the Phillies traded Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 3rd. He pitched in 10 games with the Dodgers to finish out the 2012 season. That year, he had a career high of 166 strikeouts (to 34 walks) in a total of 31 games.
In December, 2012, Blanton signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Once again, a team didn't get its money's worth from Blanton. In 28 games in 2013, he had a dismal 2-14 record and a 6.04 ERA.
Blanton signed a minor league contract with his first team, the Athletics, on March 31, 2014. However, he didn't stay with them long. On April 13, 2014, he announced his plans to retire.
On February 13, 2015, Blanton changed his mind about retirement and he signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals. After 15 games with the Royals in 2015, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 29th. He played in 21 games with the Pirates and he finished the season with a 7-2 record, 2 saves, 79 strikeouts to 16 walks, and a career low ERA of 2.84 in 76.0 innings.
Blanton returned to the Dodgers on January 19, 2016, when he signed a one-year, $4 million contract with them. He finished the 2016 season with a 2.48 ERA, 7 wins to 2 losses, and 80 strikeouts to 26 walks in 80.0 innings. In the postseason, he pitched 8.0 innings in 7 games and he gave up 8 hits and 7 runs.
Blanton became a free agent on November 3, 2016. He signed a one-year contract with the Nationals on March 2, 2017.
Career pitching statistics for Blanton through 2016 include:
- 376 games played
- 1,723.1 innings pitched
- 99-93 win-loss record
- 1,245 strikeouts to 454 walks
- 4.35 ERA