For all the love we’ve given to Manny Ramirez, let’s not forget about the other acquisition the Dodgers made to spruce up the offense for the stretch drive: Casey Blake. Blake’s been outstanding, sporting a .303/.329/.553 line for a 124 OPS+ and 4 homers, just one fewer than Manny. There’s no question that Blake’s been an instant upgrade over Blake DeWitt at the hot corner – in just 20 games, Blake (uh.. Casey) has accumulated a VORP of 6.9, while DeWitt’s struggles over his last two months brought him down to just 0.9 for the season. In terms of 2008, this deal has been a big winner – there’s no question there.
But let’s look back to what I said at the time of the trade:
Look, I don’t really mind getting Casey Blake. He’s a useful guy. I just think that what Colletti gave up to acquire him is mind-blowingly out of proportion.
That would be catcher Carlos Santana and pitcher Jon Meloan, if you’ve forgotten. While Meloan had been struggling at AAA this year, Santana was simply destroying A-ball. Sure, there’s no guarantees that will ever translate to major league success. On the other hand, Baseball Prospectus has this update on Santana’s season…
We first tipped you off on Carlos Santana as an up-and-comer in the Dodgers system in Late may. He had firmly established himself as a true prospect by the time the trading deadline arrived, finishing up with a .323/.431/.563 line at High-A Inland Empire before being shipped to the Indians in the Casey Blake deal. The West Coast scouts saw him as an everyday big-league catcher at the time, and he’s been even better since the trade, slugging .367/.441/.600 in 15 games for High-A Kinston in a much tougher offensive environment. One scout who recently saw Santana in the Carolina League agreed with the assessment of his bat, while also showing optimism for his defensive work. “I know he came here with the reputation of an offensive catcher, but he’s not [just] that,” said the scout. “He has a lot of work to do back there, but that’s where his ceiling is, and he receives okay and has a plus arm.” The scout was surprised at Santana’s athleticism, grading him out as an average runner who had no problems with the stick. “He hits the ball hard in every at-bat,” continued the scout. “He’s definitely really interesting.”
Again, Blake’s been good so far… but as I did as soon as the deal went down, I have a really bad feeling this is going to come back and bite us in the ass in the not-too-distant future.
* Over at The Hardball Times, they take an in-depth look at the Dodgers season so far and what lies ahead. I’m not kidding when I say “in-depth”; this thing is long and detailed. It is, of course, tailored for the non-diehard Dodger fan, so there’s not a whole lot there we don’t already know.
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness