Trade becomes official

Just got the release from Josh, which I pasted below. Again, this is a scaled-down version of the eight-player deal the clubs never consummated earlier this month. That one was CC Sabathia, Casey Blake and Jamey Carroll for (I believe) Santana, Matt Kemp, James McDonald, Cory Wade and Andy LaRoche. I didn’t know who those players were when I reported that deal and McCourt denied he had nixed the trade for financia reasons and that the real problem was that the players simply didn’t match up. Once I found out who the players were (in dribs and drabs over the past couple of weeks), I tend to agree with him. Anyway, here’s the release. Corresponding roster move probably won’t be announced until they tell the player affected, but it almost has to be either LaRoche or DeWitt.

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today they have acquired third baseman Casey Blake and cash considerations from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for minor league catcher Carlos Santana and minor league right-hander Jonathan Meloan. The announcement was made by Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti.

“Casey Blake is a gamer,” said Colletti. “His experience and character will be a plus as we head down the stretch in the final two months of the regular season.”

Blake leads the Indians with a .289 batting average and 58 runs batted in this season. He has hit 11 home runs and has posted a .365 on-base percentage and .465 slugging percentage. Blake’s .393 batting average with runners in scoring position ranks fifth in the Major Leagues in 2008.

The Des Moines, Iowa native set career highs for Cleveland in home runs (28), RBI (88), hits (159) and runs scored (93) in 2004. Last season, Blake slugged 18 homers and drove in 78 runs while helping the Indians reach the postseason. In the American League Championship Series, he batted .346 (9-for-26) with one home run and two runs batted in.

He has appeared in 859 career games spanning 10 seasons with the Blue Jays, Twins, Orioles, and Indians. The versatile veteran has played the majority of his career at third base, but also has logged significant playing time at first base and right field.

Blake attended Wichita State University, where he was drafted by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft. In his biography in the 2008 Indians Media Guide, Blake lists his favorite baseball moment at Kirk Gibson’s game-winning home run for the Dodgers in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

Meloan, 24, is 5-10 with a 4.97 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) for Triple-A Las Vegas. He has struck out 99 batters in 105.0 innings for the 51s. The right-hander reached the Major Leagues in 2007 for the first time, appearing in five games for the Dodgers and posting an 11.05 ERA in limited action. He is in his fourth professional season after being selected in the fifth round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

Santana, 22, is batting .323 with 14 homers and 96 RBI in 99 games for Single-A Inland Empire. The Dominican Republic native is in his fourth professional season after being signed as a free agent on Aug. 13, 2004.

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  • TeamHasHoles

    The trade is fine. He’s free (other than the players we gave up for him, which were relatively expendable). I’m sure Ned, under his breathe was saying, “I’d like to thank Logan White for ALLOWING ME to trade two of his prospects so I could finally do my job and help the big club.”

    Neither Ned nor Casey Blake should be around after this season. I expect Blake DeWitt will be sent down and I expect next season Andy Laroche will be the everyday 3rd baseman. In fact, Dewitt should start taking grounders at 2nd base again, he’d be a great 2B for the Dodgers with the bat, just needs to get familiar with the position IMO.

  • scanman33

    And Tony thought he was getting the day off…

  • max_power

    If we would have kept Meloan has a reliever he’d probably be up on the big club helping us out since Saito went down. Santana is still raw but he had a bright future. What if he stayed in the organization and a couple of years from now, god forbid, Russell gets hurt what are we going to do? Rely on one of Ned’s backups he signs? It’s just taking away depth for a rental. It might not bit us this year but it can in a couple of years.

    Honestly if Andy LaRoche was given any time to win the 3rd basemens job he’d probably do better then Casey Blake. But who cares really. We are screwed with Ned as our GM. We won’t get better. This trade won’t do much as long as we continue you run Slappy and Fatty out there everyday and let our good players waste away on the bench.

    And Tony! Is that Sabathia deal for real? What a horrible deal! There goes our offense if we make that deal! Maybe Frank knows what he;s doing! There is hope!

  • max_power

    If we would have kept Meloan has a reliever he’d probably be up on the big club helping us out since Saito went down. Santana is still raw but he had a bright future. What if he stayed in the organization and a couple of years from now, god forbid, Russell gets hurt what are we going to do? Rely on one of Ned’s backups he signs? It’s just taking away depth for a rental. It might not bit us this year but it can in a couple of years.

    Honestly if Andy LaRoche was given any time to win the 3rd basemens job he’d probably do better then Casey Blake. But who cares really. We are screwed with Ned as our GM. We won’t get better. This trade won’t do much as long as we continue you run Slappy and Fatty out there everyday and let our good players waste away on the bench.

    And Tony! Is that Sabathia deal for real? What a horrible deal! There goes our offense if we make that deal! Maybe Frank knows what he;s doing! There is hope!

  • scanman33

    Notice Ned doesn’t mention a thing about Blake’s actual ability to play baseball.

  • lawdog

    DOH!!

    \Anybody but Santana! He has all the earmarks of the next Mike Piazza offensively. The kid can rake it and hits for a high average. From what I’ve heard, I believe he also was developing into a decent defensive catcher, unlike Mike. He might have been the best position player prospect in the organization even if he is still at the A level.

    And for what?

    Casey Blake will be 35 years old next month. In the name of all that’s holy, that’s older than Nomah! Sure he’s hitting .289 with a .365 OBP but those are career high numbers. He only hit 20 hrs once in 2005 (a year he hit .241 with a .308 OBP!!) He had a good year in 2006 hitting .282; OBP .356 and 19 hrs; but fell off to .270, .339 with 18 hrs last season. He’s never driven in 100 rbis.

    I guess he’s not chopped liver, but why do we keep giving away potential stars like Santana for over the hill geezers. With Blake, Nomah and Kent starting in the infield our sinker ball pitchers might as well throw in the towel now. Those guys collectively have the “range” of three 89 year old, 98 pound, peg-legged bag ladies. All those infielders grounders are going to roll all the way to the wall in the gaps.

    And does anyone really think this 35 year old bat will solve our offensive woes? Ned did it again! He must be stopped before he completely ruins this team! (If it’s not already too late.)

  • Tony Jackson

    Scanman, I AM getting the day off. Beginning … right … NOW

  • http://www.firenedcollettinow.com/ Fire Ned Colletti Now

    Dodgers just traded what would be a top 5 prospect on most lists in 2009 and a potential setup man for Casey Blake.

    Great.

  • http://www.firenedcollettinow.com/ Fire Ned Colletti Now

    I dunno, the fact that we have May and Martin doesn’t make Santana expendable to me. As in, it doesn’t mean we should just give what would be one of the top catching prospects in the game for a 34 year old free agent to be. Say Santana has a good season in AA next year, he would be one of the most sought after prospects in the minors, and he would certainly fetch more than Casey freakin’ Blake.

    This has always been my problem with Ned, he just doesn’t seem to get the value for the players he gives.

  • TeamHasHoles

    I have no problem trading a good looking prospect for a consistent player such as Blake. That’s just the price of doing business these days. This isn’t the same organization it was 5 or 6 years ago, which had next to no good prospects to speak of. The Dodgers have a lot of talent at all levels right now thanks to LW, DW and the amateur scouting staff. Giving one or two up doesn’t bother me that much.

    The problem I have is that the Dodgers REFUSE to give Andy LaRoche the same chance they gave Loney, Kemp and Martin to prove themselves at this level. He should get 450 MLB ABs before you discount him as a guy who can’t help you. Having said that, they have a chance to steal this division and Blake can help them be more consistent in RBI situations.

    This trade only bothers me if Andy gets his chance next season.

  • TeamHasHoles

    This trade only bothers me if Andy DOESN’T get his chance next season.

  • Mario DiLeo

    Don’t forget about A.J. Ellis in Vegas, didn’t get the GWRBI in the AAA All-Star Game? I would think he gets the first call if anything happened to Martin, God forbid…

  • Dave R.

    “Casey Blake is a gamer”. Great. If he’s a “gamer”, does that mean he can help this team go deep in the playoffs or even win the West?

    Also, is Andruw Jones an “anti-gamer”?

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    A.J. Ellis is 27 years old. He came into this season a career .253 minor league hitter. Reached his high in HRs last year with 8. He did however have a .373 career OBP (walks a lot), and a .350 slugging percentage. At best, he probably projects as a backup.

  • Buddy

    Well, even though LaRoche should be the everday third baseman, it still speaks to Colletti’s inexplicable fascination with veterans who take up unnecessary space. At least this time he acquired someone with a respectable on base percentage who can drive in runs (yes, sabermetrics rules). It’s also better than that horrible proposed Sabathia deal. (Sabathia may have walked at the end of the year anyway).

    Tony, I appreciated the Sports Illustrated article you shared a couple of days ago. Yes, this organization is a mess top-down with McCourt and Colletti running things. McCourt’s focus is on revenue-generation and not winning championships. (The lesson here is that the Red-Sox do both through the excellent skills of Theo Epstein). If only Logan White was running things and didn’t have to worry about McCourt’s interference.

  • joshburke2

    Stage Two:

    Ethier, LaRoche, and Stults for Jack Wilson and [?].

  • MikeClarke

    Typical move by the “Village Idiot” Ned Colletti!

    The first words out the talent evaluator Neddy’s mouth was, Casey Blake is a Gamer!

    Hell, I am Gamer too, I play hard in my men’s softball league…

    The Dodgers are not a World Series contender, so burning two solid prospects for Casey Blake who plays below average defense, brings no running speed, and displays mediocre power for a corner infielder or outfielder for that matter is a disgrace!

    LaRoche’s minor league numbers and track record is as strong as any of our young players, so I do not understand the hesitation to trust the guy!

    At least we are down to the final two months of the “Village Idiot Era.”

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    MikeClarke,

    Hopefully the final two months. And if true, there’s lots of damage that can be done in two months. I’ll hold my breath until the trading deadline passes on July 31. After that the damage he can do is probably limited.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    Here’s Keith Law’s take on the Blake trade. It’s a view I wholeheartedly agree with.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3506590&name=law_keith

  • coach

    After DeWitt game saving play cs Snakes Torre lauded him by saying he will be around a long time..he did nit say Vegas.. Thanks for busting ur but DeWitt here’ a bus ticket. Same for La Roche.. his laisted on the Depth Chart as 3b 1b.. so…He is on the pine tonite Nomar is at first..pretty soom guys are not going to want to play here if they say one thing and do another.

  • http://www.firenedcollettinow.com/ Fire Ned Colletti Now

    I know a lot of people seem to think that Carlos Santana is some throw-in because he’s in A+ ball, but seriously, he would easily been in the Dodgers’ Top 10 prospects lists next year, if not Top 5.

    Once again, value. Sure, Blake isn’t a bad risk to take if you can get him for nothing. The problem is the Dodgers didn’t get him for nothing. No other team interested in Blake was willing to give up a front line prospect and a major league ready arm. Maybe that should tell you something?

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    After I posted the link to Keith Law’s article (above), I realized that anyone attempting to open it would have to subscribe to ESPN-IN. Since I’m sure not everyone does, here it is, cut and paste style.

    “Indians get a solid return for Blake

    Saturday, July 26, 2008 | Feedback | Print Entry

    The Dodgers, determined to avoid playing Andy LaRoche at all costs, acquired Casey Blake from Cleveland for two prospects. Blake is in the middle of a bounce-back year at the plate, hitting for the highest average of his career while showing his usual marginal patience and fringe-average power. Blake’s problem — and now the Dodgers’ — is that he’s a statue at third base; he’s okay on balls hit right to him, but he offers very little lateral range. Add him to an infield that already has pillar-of-salt Jeff Kent at second base, and Derek Lowe might have cause to sue.

    Carlos Santana is a recent convert from third base to catcher, and like most players converted to the position, he has an above-average arm. He’s also a good receiver and has unusually good plate discipline. He has a compact swing and generates power through hard contact and upper-body strength. He projects as an everyday catcher with great defense, average power and an average to above-average hit tool.

    Jonathan Meloan has worked this year as a starter with awful results. It’s no surprise, as he projected all along as a good reliever. He works with a solid-average 88-92 mph fastball, but he’s effective because he has two plus offspeed pitches, a 12-6 curveball with great depth and an 86-87 mph cutter with a long, late break. His downside is that despite his size (he’s 6-3), he gets no downhill plane on his pitches and tends to leave his fastball up in the zone.

    Meloan could probably pitch in Cleveland’s bullpen this year, and at worst should be in it in April of 2009. Long term, he should be an above-average short reliever, maybe even an unconventional closer because he can miss so many bats in spite of the average velocity.

    In total, it’s a great return for Blake, who at most would have fetched two draft picks this offseason, and could have fetched just one, with the players selected with those picks much further from major league value than Santana and Meloan. When you consider that Cleveland signed Blake as a minor-league free agent on a one-year deal in 2003, received almost five years of big-league production and flipped him for two prospects, the ROI on the original deal must be off the charts.

    The Los Angeles Times on Saturday reported that the Dodgers are shopping LaRoche for relief pitching or middle infield help. That’s as good a buy-low opportunity as you’ll find, and teams with shortstop options or middle relievers to spare should be calling the Dodgers as we speak.”

    OK, that’s the end of Law’s article. The comments that follow are mine.

    Santana’s stats this year are as follows:

    AVG. = .323
    OBP = .431
    SLG. = .563
    OPS = .994
    AB = 350
    2B = 34
    3B = 4
    HR = 14
    RBI = 96
    BB = 69
    SO = 59

    He’s a switch hitter, had 7 SB, and 9 SF. I realize he’s done this in A-Ball, but he’s just too good a prospect to be thrown away for the 35 year old Casey Blake. I don’t even like the inclusion of Meloan, but could have accepted this deal if either A.J. Ellis or Lucas May were included instead of Santana (although I would not have been ecstatic). If the Dodgers get to the playoffs and then get knocked out early, this deal will NOT have been worth it. I’m not interested in the playoffs, I want a team that can go all the way and win the WS. I doubt if Casey Blake is the piece that will get them there.

  • Brooklyn Dodger

    Chin-Lung Hu had 4 hits tonight at LV, and is now hitting .351. Maybe his vision has cleared up.

  • Buddy

    As usual, Keith Law’s analysis is spot on.

  • kjack1

    As a Dodger fan, this is pretty scary if true……

    From ESPN MLB Trade Deadline Blog -

    The reason the Indians were able to get Carlos Santana, a very high-level prospect, in the Casey Blake deal is that the Indians took on all of Blake’s remaining $2 million salary. Several general managers around baseball wonder whether L.A. doesn’t have cash flow problems.

    ht tp://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3506532&name=mlb_trade_deadline&action=login&appRedirect=http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=3506532&name=mlb_trade_deadline

  • http://www.firenedcollettinow.com/ Fire Ned Colletti Now

    Apparently the Dodgers are shopping LaRoche for relief or middle infield help now.

    Genius. Trade another elite prospect for another stopgap piece of a crap.

  • LimpingGibby

    As we all know, the Dodgers are weak offensively ranking near the bottom of baseball in nearly all categories. They have an especially hard time beating anyone’s front line pitching.

    I looked up their stats against their opponents top 2 starters (or 3 in a few cases where it’s a little unclear who might be better) to date.

    In 45 starts, these starters are averaging a bit over 7 innings per start vs the Dodgers, giving up just under 6 hits per start, and 2.18 runs per start (total runs, not earned). The Dodgers overall record in games when facing one of these pitchers is 15-30.

    Within the division, they are 1-3 when facing Haren/Webb, 1-3 when facing Cook, Jimenez, 1-5 when facing Peavy, Maddux, or Wolf (gone I know), 2-0 when facing Cain (no starts for Lincecum yet).

    Vs. potential playoff opponents (insert Mora: Playoffs!? here), they are a combined 5-7 vs top starters for CHI, MIL, NY, STL, and FLA (havent played PHI yet).

    Vs the AL, they are 0-7 vs LAA, DET, CLE, CHWs top starters including Sabathia who is now on MIL (whom the Dodgers are 2-0 vs Sheets and Parra).

    To sum up the obvious, the Dodgers are weak, especially against anything of quality. They are a punchless bunch of slappies whom opposing pitchers have no fear of.

  • TeamHasHoles

    Nobody here is a harsher critic of Colletti than I am, and after reading the posts here over the last day even I have to say in regards to this trade, and in the immortal words of another somewhat famous person with the last name Billingsley, “Don’t you think you’re being a little hard on the Beav?”

    Look, we all know that Colletti can only keep his job with the Dodgers next season if he gets the Dodgers at least into the NLCS (and probably the World Series). I think the guy’s entitled to do a little something at this point to try to get the Dodgers there (after all it is his job on the line) and he has created this mess. He’s already being punished by McCourt by not being allowed to spend one more penny on this team. So he got creative to get the Indians to pay for Blake and he gave up a decent prospect (a 22 year old converted catcher in his 4th professional season who hasn’t gotten out of A-Ball is not a “can’t miss” prospect in my book. He could certainly become a good player however I think you guys are going a little overboard as are Keith Law and other critical media folks). Catching is not a real immediate need for the Dodgers and Meloan was slipping on the Dodger radar, clearly. Great value for these guys? Not particularly, but does it kill our farm system? Not at all and Logan White (not someone who seems to agree with Colletti’s direction either) would probably be the first to tell you that.

    I’m anything but a Colletti apologist. I still don’t know how he has a friggin’ job right now, I’ve said that often here, but I think you guys are being a little too critical of this particular move.

    Look at where the Dodgers stand for next season. No secondbaseman, shortstop, or thirdbaseman with any MLB experience under contract. An unsettled Closer situation with Broxton unproven as a closer right now and Saito not likely back (age/injury-prone). Derek Lowe likely gone and possibly Brad Penny too, and an unsettled outfield situation with $18 million committed to a “Stiff Bum” who will undoubtedly cost a decent or great young player a job simply because of money being committed. Sure the Dodgers will have about $70 million dollars to spend on payroll, but does McCourt wanna spend the money? And how many hole-filling ML UFAs are there out there worth signing? Sabathia? Nathan? K-Rod? There’s nothing at secondbase that I can see or shortstop (other than Renteria or bringing back our injury-prone friend Rafael). Do we trade more prospects to get a middle infielder? No? That means it might be time to look at our kids. Is Hu ready? From what I saw, I’m not sure he’ll ever be more than a back-up (but I’m willing to see more). Abreu might not be in the good graces of this club anymore, so what do the Dodgers do at secondbase? DeWitt? Some people like him more than LaRoche at 3rd (not me), but he has no power to speak of and at a corner infield position with a team that lacks power everywhere, can you really afford that from DeWitt? Maybe secondbase would suit him better.

    These problems concern me far more than losing Carlos Santana ever would and that’s a greater mess that Colletti has made. At least Casey Blake is a decent ballplayer who will undoubtedly contribute something (unlike Jones).

    Big picture people, Big Picture!

  • http://www.firenedcollettinow.com/ Fire Ned Colletti Now

    The big picture is that the Dodgers should have been able to trade Santana later on for somebody who’s going to be around for more than 2 months.

    You made my point for me. :o