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MLB Trade Rumors: Casey Blake traded to Dodgers; Will Manny be traded??

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This morning I posted the Yankees-Pirates deal involving 4 prospects for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte. As I was driving to the Phils-Braves picture day game with my family, WFAN radio reported that this deal was revised. The Pirates received Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Kaarstens instead of Phil Coke and George Kontos.

Here is what ESPN's Keith Law had to say about the two prospects:

Daniel McCutchen's velocity has gradually improved since college, when he was mostly 88-90 mph, to 90-93 mph now. While he lacks a true outpitch, he has above-average command and control and should be able to work as a solid fifth starter in the big leagues. Jeff Karstens is sort of a poor man's McCutchen, a sixth starter in the big leagues who is nice to have in Triple-A but shouldn't get regular turns in a rotation.

The Los Angeles Dodgers made a deal today to shore up their 3b situation...well according the Ned Colletti, that is. Ned traded promising high single-A catching prospect Carlos Santana and AAA-pitcher Jon Meloan to the Indians for veteran, free agent to be 3bman/OFer Casey Blake. Meloan was the Dodger's 8th best prospect and Santana their 25th best prospect according to Baseball America entering the 2008 season.

Blake has had a solid year this year hitting .289-11-58 with a .365 on-base percentage and .465 slugging percentage. Giving up Santana in the deal, who is batting .323 with 14 homers and 96 RBI in 99 games for Single-A Inland Empire, and Meloan, on paper doesn't sound like much. Especially, if you consider that Santana is blocked not only by allstar catcher Russell Martin, but also, AA catcher Luke May.

But, KLaw had this to say about the deal:

In total, it's a great return for Blake, who at most would have fetched two draft picks this offseason, and could have fetched just one, with the players selected with those picks much further from major league value than Santana and Meloan. When you consider that Cleveland signed Blake as a minor-league free agent on a one-year deal in 2003, received almost five years of big-league production and flipped him for two prospects, the ROI on the original deal must be off the charts.

Joe Sheehan from Baseball Prospectus didn't mince words:

Trading for Blake isn’t a problem in and of itself, but the Dodgers have both paid too much talent for his services and are using him to block a comparable, perhaps even better, player. Trading two prospects of this caliber for 200 at-bats of Casey Blake is a ridiculous waste.

I am not sure what KLaw or Sheehan said about Ned when he traded Joel Guzman and Sergio Pedroza for two months of Julio Lugo. I am sure they were ripping him apart. This leads to one question: what has Guzman done since the trade? Short answer: he may never sniff a major league AB again. I write this because Ned has one very intelligent talent evaluator working for him: Logan White. For the past two years White appears to be gaining more and more respect from owner Frank McCourt. So, if White approved of the deal...a big if.....then I have no problem with the deal as long as Andy Laroche stays in LA and is HANDED the 3b job in 2009.

As a result of this deal, Blake Dewitt was optioned to AAA Las Vegas, and he will be playing 2b. Jeff Kent is a free agent at the end of the season, so Dewitt has a good shot at a starting 2b job next year, especially with Joe Torre managing. Laroche on the other hand is still being mentioned in trade rumors for a middle releiver.  That would be a ridiculous mistake.

The Blake deal, along with Ned's dismal track record of free agent signings, could make or break Ned's short career as a GM in LA. McCourt has had a quick trigger finger since he bought the team, so Ned is probably on a short leash. Especially with a fine talent evaluator like White primed to take over.

In other trade rumor activity, we have the following:

Buster Olney reported in his blog this morning that the Boston Red Sox may consider trading Manny Ramirez after his latest self-centered antic of pulling himself out of the lineup with a sore knee after team doctors stated the knee was fine.

Olney mentions several teams including the Angels, Mets, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Cardinal and Marlins as possible trade partners.

The Cardinals are desperate for a closer, and are considering making Adam Wainwright their closer when he returns from the DL. Other possibilities include trading for Brian Fuentes or George Sherrill. This after Ryan Franklin has blown 3 saves in the past week, including tonight's game vs. the Mets where he gave up a game tying homer to Fernando Tatis. Franklin now has 6 blown saves in 20 chances.