Indians Add Value Without Giving Much Away

July 28, 2008 at 9:49 am 5 comments


The Cleveland Indians made a few trades this weekend. They traded veteran Casey Blake and cash to the Dodgers for minor leaguers Jonathan Meloan and Carlos Santana. They also struck a deal with the Cardinals to land starter/reliever Anthony Reyes in exchange for pitcher Luis Perdomo and cash.

Some people might think the Indians gave up a starter in Casey Blake but that’s not the case. Blake is a utility bat that can play corner outfield and first base but is below average at thirdbase. He can be replaced by any number of players on the 40-man roster.

The players they got in return all have value and two of them can be intrical parts by 2009.

Here is Keith Law’s report on Meloan and Santana:

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.

Santana is currently crushing High-A ball to the tune of .323/.431/.563 with 34 doubles, 4 triples, 14 homers, 96 RBI, 88 runs scored, 7 steals, and a 69/59 BB/K rate in 350 at-bats. He has good wheels to go with his tools Law mentioned above. He could very well be the Indians starting catcher by the start of 2010.

I’ve always loved Meloan and thought it was a mistake moving him to the rotation. The Indians bought low on him and they are getting a guy, like Keith said, that will help their bullpen out and might even be a closer. His numbers this year as a starter are 5-10, 4.97 ERA, 99/60 K/BB, 119 hits allowed, and a .289 opponents AVG in 105 innings. Last year as a reliever he was 7-2 with a 2.03 ERA, 91/27 K/BB, 36 hits allowed, 20 saves, and a .156 opponents AVG in 66.2 innnigs in 49 games.

The guy they got from the Cardinals is best known for going 2-14 last year but that is not the type of pitcher he is. He can be a very good 5/6 starter or a long reliever out of the pen. I think he could ultimately be a right handed version of J.P. Howell if all goes his way. He is a fallen prospect that needs a change of scenery badly and got one. They gave up a live arm in Perdomo has performed very well but never above Double-A and he is already 24 and is a Double-A repeater and a minor league reliever. He has the chance to be a relief option for the Cards and it wasn’t a bad return for them since Reyes was a guy they gave up on.

The Indians have reloaded with trades including these two and the C.C. Sabathia trade earlier that landed them slugger Matt LaPorta among others.

The Dodgers on the other hand gave up a guy who could be in their pen and help this year for a guy who is hitting above his norm and is awful at third. Can you imagine all the balls getting through the infield when Blake is at 3rd, Nomar Garciaparra is at short, and Jeff Kent is at 2nd?

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Erik  |  July 28, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Blake is a nice player… but will he help the Dodgers win an NL West championship? not really. The Indians have been very active this season. Also dealing Sabathia to the Brewers. Which could alter the face of the NL Central. The deal with the Cardinals isn’t going to change the complexion of the race. And the prospects they got were decent. I think the Indians are the team in 2020 jk. But they got younger in a hurry… Now to see who else can they unload before the deadline. Should be interesting.

  • 2. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 28, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    I like Blake but not enough to start his zero range at third. I still don’t understand how they can play Blake over Andy LaRoche who has more walks than strikeouts in the bigs and in AAA. He hasn’t shown power like in the past but he is better defensively than Blake and he offers more discipline with an undisciplined lineup.

  • 3. supremesportsjustice  |  July 28, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    The Dodgers need more than Blake, but I will respectfully disagree Jonathan when you say you’d rather start LaRoche over Blake. I think Blake is a huge upgrade in terms of hitting, and even though he strikes out, he draws his fair share of walks resulting in a decent on base percentage. Blake will have an impact for the Dodgers…they need more, but he’s a fine start. This team lacks any sort of power (12HR leads the team), and Blake will provide it. They can live with his shoddy defense.

  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  July 29, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Blake is having his best year ever and his BABIP is .341 which is unusally high for him. I just don’t see how this is an overall upgrade at all.

  • 5. supremesportsjustice  |  July 29, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Huge, I say….huge! Ha ha. All I know is that if I were a Dodgers fan, I’d feel better having Blake at 3B than LaRoche…who I think is going to be a very late bloomer. 3HR and a .217 career batting avg in 152 at-bats is not the player I want at 3B when I’m making a playoff run. I know LaRoche is young, but I don’t think his learning curve should come during a pennant race.


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