Joe Blanton, 31, starting pitcher
Final 2012 stats: 10-13, 4.71 ERA, 1.26 WHIP overall; 2-4, 4.99 ERA, 1.42 WHIP in 10 starts (57 2/3 innings) with the Dodgers.
Contract status: Free agent.
The good: During the stretch in September, the right-hander posted a 3.38 ERA and the Dodgers went 4-1 in his last five starts. He pitched at least five innings in all but one of his 10 starts with the Dodgers. The Dodgers won six of those 10.
The bad: Never really gave the Dodgers a dominant outing. After allowing only 18 walks in 133 1/3 innings with the Phillies, oddly walked 16 in 57 2/3 innings with the Dodgers. Not that he was a problem, but he never seemed truly comfortable in the Dodgers clubhouse.
What’s next: He’s available, but I cannot imagine a scenario where he returns to the Dodgers, who are exploring several avenues to upgrade the rotation.
The take: Blanton was almost the definition of mediocre, which is very different than saying he was brutal. He actually pitched well enough to keep the Dodgers in all but one game. It’s not his fault the offense disappeared about the same time he arrived from Philadelphia on Aug. 3.
He was “serviceable,” and if that sounds less than flattering, it’s not meant to be. The Dodgers acquired Joe Blanton from the Phillies, not Cliff Lee. He was not expected to be an ace but give them a better chance to win than farm hand Stephen Fife.
It would have been nice if he had exceeded expectations, instead of coming in slightly under them, but it’s not like every time he started you were almost chalking up a loss.
The Dodgers are looking at adding a front-line starter and are also negotiating to sign South Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin. That’s in addition to the six starters, who assuming healthy, are scheduled to return. So Blanton’s days with the Dodgers appear to be over. He leaves behind a lot of middling memories.