In the past week or so, two Philadelphia sports teams have done big things in their attempts to build contenders. (This goes against everything Philadelphia.)
The 76ers signed free agent power forward Elton Brand away from the Los Angeles Clippers, who had hoped to keep him (and are mad at Brand’s agent for allegedly sketchy tactics). Brand will give you 20 points and 10 rebounds a night, and is a bona fide star player to go along with budding star swingman Andre Iguodala, steady point guard Andre Miller and a good core of young guys.
Just like that, the 76ers are a contender. (Of course, it only cost like $82 million.)
And tonight, the Phillies made the best possible trade they could make at the moment. They sent three prospects (two pretty good ones and a question mark guy) to the Oakland Athletics for starting pitcher Joe Blanton.
Reasons to like Blanton:
He’s only 27, he “eats innings” (pitches a lot), he’s durable, he has pretty good control (which he’ll need in the homerun-happy Citizens Bank Park), and he’s coming to the National League – where he’ll get to face pitchers instead of designated hitters. That’s a big help for one’s ERA.
He may not be CC Sabathia (who was the best available pitcher until Milwaukee got him in a trade from Cleveland), but I think he’s less risky than A.J. Burnett of Toronto and Erik Bedard of Seattle (both of whom were rumored to be in the Phillies; sights).
Will these moves guarantee a championship or two? No. But at least they’re trying. (That’s a new one for us.)
P.S.: Just picked up Blanton for my “money” fantasy team. He’s 5-12, so it figured that he was available.