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Pirates trade for Joe Blanton

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Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have announced that they've acquired veteran righty Joe Blanton from the Royals for cash considerations. They will announce a corresponding move tomorrow. The Royals had designated Blanton for assignment earlier this week.

I was pretty confused by this move until I actually looked at Blanton's stats -- he's been pretty good this season, far better than the gas-can reputation that followed him from his time with the Angels. This season, pitching mostly in relief, Blanton has struck out 8.6 batters per nine innings and walked 1.5, all while throwing a bit harder than he did in Los Angeles. He's still a soft-tosser in the grand scheme of things, however, and at 34, I don't know how likely his success is to continue.

As for what the corresponding move will be, you've got me. I assume Blanton won't start. Mark Melancon, Tony Watson and Jared Hughes presumably aren't going anywhere, Antonio Bastardo is a lefty, and Arquimedes Caminero and Deolis Guerra are out of options. So is Vance Worley, and I don't think Blanton is an upgrade on Worley in a long-relief role anyway. Not all those guys have pitched well lately, but it's hard to see the Pirates pulling the plug on any of them to clear space for a no-upside veteran like Joe Blanton. Well, except Bastardo, but again, Bastardo's a lefty. It could be that the Bucs' acquisition of Blanton helps them prepare for a trade. We'll see.