Finally! On Saturday morning, the Dodgers pulled the trigger and landed 3B Casey Blake from the Indians for a pair of lower-tier minor leaguers giving them a solid bat at one of the positions where one was desperately needed: third base. He also gives the Dodgers a ton of flexibility, playing first base as well as in the outfield when needed.
Let’s first talk about Blake’s numbers: he’s hitting .289, 11 HR, 58 RBI. Nice. Sure, he’s a free agent after this season, but there’s no reason to think that Casey can’t re-sign with the Dodgers who will be looking for a replacement for Raffy Furcal. Plus, this guy plays hard and the Dodgers need gamers. I bet he and Jeff Kent are going to get along famously.
Plus the guy is a clutch hitter, hitting .398 with runners in scoring position (something the Dodgers most certainly are not this year). If you want to get as psyched as we are about this trade, check out this article in yesterday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer: “The Mighty Casey: Blake Maintains Pace as Tribe’s Best in Clutch in ’08”
This year, the Tribe’s versatile third baseman entered Friday’s series opener with Minnesota hitting .402 with men in scoring position, .326 with runners on second or third with two out and .600 with the bases loaded. But he is hard-pressed to explain it.
“I’m not doing anything different. … I tried to keep the same approach [as 2007], and that’s why it’s so weird,” said Blake, who is hitting .287 (92-for-321) with 11 homers and 58 RBI. “It’s one of those things. I just try to hit the ball hard somewhere.”
Blake said he hopes that fans appreciate his blue-collar work ethic and said it is a privilege to roll up his sleeves everyday and go to work.
“I’m not real flashy … I don’t believe in that,” Blake said. “I show up every day ready to play hard. … I’ve had some tough times here [with the fans] but I’m glad they’re embracing me. It’s nice to have them on my side.”
In return, the Indians will receive Carlos Santana, a catcher in the Class A California League where he has 14 homers and is hitting .323. Also acquired in the deal is AAA pitcher Jon Meloan who is 5-10, but is also a strikeout machine, racking up 335 in 262 innings.
Sure the Dodgers gave up some potential major league talent in this deal, but the NL West is ripe for the picking and the Dodgers managed to strike first in a big way while not giving up the farm in the process. Nice job Ned, but you’re not done yet!