Plain and simple, the Dodgers are vastly overrating veteran 3B, Casey Blake, who they acquired at the trade deadline from the Cleveland Indians last season. The prospect we gave up for Blake, catcher Carlos Santana, is now considered by many (including Baseball America) to be the Indians top prospect, over Matt LaPorta (who they got for CC Sabathia). Why would the Dodgers give up such a great prospect for a lame-fielding, light-hitting, below average OBP guy; a player that would cost most teams a C or B level prospect at best? Because the Dodgers were strapped for cash and needed the Tribe to cover Blake’s salary. So what we have here is a team totally overrating an average player and giving away a future star to get him.
GM Ned Colletti later tried to justify the trade by claiming “Blake has been a big help to our team with the bat and is a team leader”. First of all, Blake was NOT a big help with the bat. His post All-Star break numbers (which is when the Dodgers had him) are merely average. He hit .264 with a .327 OBP% and 29 RBIs. Not really what you’d call a game changer. On the other hand, Carlos Santana only hit .352 with a .452 OBP% in the minors last year. Sure, it was the minors vs. the majors but I can assure you that Casey Blake has never hit .352 in his professional career nor has he ever sniffed a .400 OBP%, let alone a .450+ OBP%. As for Blake being a “team leader”. I won’t dispute that but I do think the idea is overblown. These are grown men we are talking about and they make lots of money. They have plenty of reason to be motivated without having “great character guys” around them. Besides, take a look at some of the World Series teams of the past and many of them thrived off of clubhouse tension. Take Billy Martin’s Yankees for example. The feud between Thurmon Munson and Reggie Jackson is largely what drove that club.
Recently, some alarming rumors have been spreading round the home front. Guess who are the only two clubs vying for Blake’s services? You hit the nail on the head of you said the Dodgers and Indians… Some may make the case that both teams have had him and want him back because they know he’s a good guy but others (including me) will make the case that they are the only ones who want him because the rest of the league knows he’s nothing more than a glorified backup. Ned Colletti is placing “character” and “friendship” over a player’s actual game. Then again, what’s new?