Dodgers send pair of prospects to Indians for Blake

Updated: July 27, 2008, 10:23 AM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

The Cleveland Indians traded third baseman/outfielder Casey Blake and cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor leaguers on Saturday.

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

The Indians received minor league catcher Carlos Santana and right-handed pitcher Jon Meloan. Santana is hitting .323 with 14 homers for Inland Empire in the Class-A California League. The hard-throwing Meloan is 5-10 with a 4.97 ERA at Triple-A Las Vegas, but he has piled up 335 strikeouts in only 262 innings in his minor league career.

Casey Blake
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesCasey Blake laces a double during the fourth inning Saturday night in his first game since being traded.
Blake started at third base Saturday night and was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored in the Dodgers' 6-0 victory. Blake, who was batting .234 through the end of May, is hitting .352 in 45 games since then with 29 RBIs. He is the fifth player to start at third base this season for Los Angeles.

"[Blake's] the type of player I think that can help this ballclub," Dodgers manager Joe Torre told The Associated Press. "We're not necessary looking for some blockbuster move, but a piece that can really add to what we're trying to do. And the more people you can acquire that have the work ethic that he does, I think it's got to be a positive."

The Dodgers, 51-52 after Saturday's win, have been looking for a dependable bat for weeks, and Blake's name first came up when they were in trade talks with the Indians for ace CC Sabathia, who was dealt to Milwaukee.

"There were quite a few rumors out there," said Blake, playing for his fifth big league club and first in the National League. "Nothing like this has ever happened to me, so it's all a new experience. A lot of emotions hit me at once and I didn't really have a lot of time to let any of them soak in. I kind of got anxious real quick."

With the trade of Xavier Nady to the Yankees on Friday, Blake was possibly the most highly sought-after bat on the market. Other teams that pursued Blake included the Rays, Mets and Phillies.

Those three teams would have played Blake in the outfield. But with the trade completed, he'll become the Dodgers' everyday third baseman, replacing slumping rookies Blake DeWitt and Andy LaRoche.

DeWitt was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Blake. Blake, who can be a free agent after this season, was batting .289 for the Indians, with 11 homers, 58 RBIs and a .398 average with runners in scoring position.

This was the first time Blake has been traded since making his major league debut with Toronto in 1999. He was claimed off waivers three times, eventually signing with the Indians in December 2002 after stints with the Blue Jays, Orioles and Twins.

"It's kind of tough because I'm not mentally attached to this team yet, but hopefully it won't take long to get to know these guys," Blake said. "I played against them a month ago, and you could tell they seem like a great bunch of guys and a great team. They should win this division. You couldn't ask for a better situation."

The Indians said Santana will report to Class-A Kinston.

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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