Back on July 26th, the Dodgers acquired Casey Blake and I've been simmering mad ever since. I understood at the time of the trade that we were hurting at 3rd base and I accepted the deal. My pot didn't start boiling until Peter Gammons reported that we included Carlos to offset the two million still owed Blake. Baseball America a more trustworthy site then Peter Gammons reported the same thing when they talked about how the Indians were able to acquire Carlos.
The Dodgers wanted Casey Blake to fill a hole at third base, but they also didn't want to pick up any of the roughly $2 million in salary remaining on his contract. In return for paying Blake's remaining salary, the Indians were able to increase their return, getting Santana along with righthander John Meloan
If you do a search on Carlos Santana you will find 38 entries for him at True Blue starting in August of 2007. I started writing here in July of 2007 and within a month I wrote my first post about Carlos Santana when he came to life in the MWL, producing the best offensive output for a prospect in July, even while playing in the tough MWL.
That however was not the beginning of my appreciation of Carlos. Way back before he was even a catcher Nate Purcell had mentioned we had a prospect named Carlos Santana. I love Carlos Santana, I can listen to his guitar work for hours and in fact am listening to it right now. So I checked his namesake out and was intrigued with his solid OB skills combined with a modicum of power. Over the next few years if any question was asked of BP or BA about Carlos Santana before this year you can bet it was me asking the question. At the time I felt he'd be lucky to have a big league career and I was only intrigued because very few Dominicans display excellent plate discipline at that age. When I found out he was going to be moved to catcher, it gave me hope that he'd hit enough to be able to carve out a real career. As much as I liked him, his July in 2007 kind of came out of nowhere and for the rest of the year he was awful. Still that July kept me intrigued and he made my top 30 Dodger list.
No one, and I mean no one saw 2008 coming. He started hitting from day one and then got better and better. Still no one heard of him, he never made the BA prospect list that they send out every day to subscribers. He never made the BA Hot List until after he was traded even though he was tearing it up every week. Maybe he was too consistent. Anyway he was ignored by everyone until we traded him and then all the sudden people took notice of what he'd been doing all year long. Some shrugged it off and said it was the easy California League and an anomaly. That train of thought went into the dumpster when he was assigned to the Cleveland Indiand A+ Carolina League Kingston, Ohio team. In 105 at bats for that team he produced an OPS of 1.042. To show you how impressive that was, the closest person to him in OPS on that team weighed in at .879 and that was Beau Mills the Indians 2007 number one pick. He capped off his wonderful season by being named the MVP of the California League. Even the renowned Keith Law can't get it right. In a recent chat someone asked this question about Carlos.
O (Pittsfield, MA): If Carlos Santana is so great, how did the Indians land him for Blake?
Keith Law: The Dodgers have Martin, Colletti doesn't value prospects that highly, and Santana (like a few other prospects dealt midyear, like Tabata) really took off after the deal.
Wrong, the numbers he put up in the Cal League where he won the MVP were all done before the deal.
Now everyone has noticed that the Indians have a switch hitting catcher, with great plate discipline, combined with growing power. BA sure noticed because they made him the Indians number one prospect. That means, he is ranked higher then Matt LaPorta the guy who the Indians got in return for CC Sabbathia.
Think about that. The Indians gave up CC Sabbathia for Matt LaPorta. The Indians gave up Casey Blake for Carlos Santana. Carlos Santana is currently ranked as a better prospect then Matt LaPorta. Granted, Michael Brantly and Jon Meloan were also included in these deals but they cancel themselves out.
Did anyone cry baseball rape?
My anger sprays in all directions.
1. At Andy LaRoche for doing such a poor job of showing the Dodgers he could handle the job in 2008 and beyond. We can all make excuses for his poor showing, but this was his 2nd stint and he is 24 years old. The at bats weren't many before they decided he wasn't the answer but he didn't prove them wrong with such an anemic display with the Pirates.
2. Frank McCourt for requiring that Ned make sure that we didn't take on any salary during these deadline deals. Who are we, the Padres? The Marlins? Were selling prospects? Embarrassing
3. Ned and staff for not finding someone else to sell. If you are going to badmouth your current catcher about his defense and partying you might want to hold onto your best catching prospect and get them to take someone else to offset the salary. Or better yet, realize that Casey Blake is Casey Blake, not someone you trade a top prospect for. Based on the comments by Ned, I don't even think they knew what they had in Santana as he made some silly remarks about him being unable to stay at catcher. That only matters if you are an average hitter, when you start hitting like Carlos who cares where you end up? 3rd base is still a position that the Dodgers seem light on if that is where he ends up.
I wouldn't be irritated at all if Santana had been the guy we traded for Manny instead of LaRoche. Hell, he's the better prospect right now. What gets my goat is that he was the guy we traded for Casey Blake. Reverse the whole thing I wouldn't care. So why do I care since the the net result is the same. Beats me, but I'm sure going to miss writing about Carlos Santana and Dodger fans are going to miss watching him play in Chavez Ravine.