Tag:Casey Blake
Posted on: December 8, 2008 10:20 pm
 

Manny remains in the background for Dodgers

LAS VEGAS -- As they promised last month, the Dodgers have so far ignored the big-name free agents and focused instead on their multiple other needs.

As Scott Miller wrote earlier today, it appears that they'll re-sign third baseman Casey Blake. That means that Blake DeWitt can play second base, but it still leaves the Dodgers without a shortstop. Also, the Dodgers remain in the market for a setup man.

And where does that leave Manny Ramirez?

Nowhere yet, and people familiar with the Dodgers say they don't expect general manager Ned Colletti to focus on Ramirez anytime soon. Colletti may not focus on Ramirez at all, because it's believed that any Ramirez negotiations will be handled directly by owner Frank McCourt. McCourt was also heavily involved in the deal with the Red Sox that made Manny a Dodger in the first place.

As for CC Sabathia, the Dodgers seem to know that they'd have a real chance for him if they would only seriously enter the bidding. But it still seems very unlikely that they'll do that.

Posted on: July 26, 2008 12:38 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2008 2:03 pm
 

Dodgers to get Blake from Tribe

The Dodgers have agreed to a trade with Cleveland for third baseman Casey Blake, CBSSports.com has confirmed.

The Indians will pay part of Blake's $6.1 million contract.

The trade, announced early Saturday afternoon, sends catcher Carlos Santana and right-hander Jon Meloan to the Indians. Santana is the key to the deal for the Indians. In 99 games this season at Class A Inland Empire, he's hitting .323 with 14 home runs, 96 RBIs and more walks than strikeouts.

Blake has been hot over the last month, with a .347 average, four home runs and 12 RBIs in his last 21 games. The Dodgers had been looking for a shortstop, but with the market thin at that position, they shifted their focus and obtained Blake to play third base and give them an offensive boost.

Dodger third basemen have batted .245 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs. All three totals are among the lowest in the majors this year.

Blake has been coveted by several teams, in part because of his ability to play multiple positions. He's played third and first for the Indians this year, and as recently as 2006 he played 93 games in the outfield.

The trade is more bad news for the Mets, who had pursued Blake as an outfielder and had also tried to trade for Xavier Nady, who was instead dealt from Pittsburgh to the New York Yankees Friday night. The Mets could turn to Seattle outfielder Raul Ibanez, who they've already discussed, even though they would prefer to acquire a right-handed hitter.

The Mets have been hindered in trade talks by their lack of depth in position-player prospects.

"There's only one position player in the system," said one scout who knows the Mets organization.

The player he referred to is outfielder Fernando Martinez, who is at Double-A Binghamton but has been out of the lineup with a right hamstring strain.
Posted on: July 23, 2008 4:02 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2008 7:26 pm
 

Phillies focus on Grabow, Sherrill

The Phillies, who had been among the more aggressive teams pursuing Colorado closer Brian Fuentes, have shifted their attention to Pittsburgh left-hander John Grabow and Baltimore lefty George Sherrill, according to sources.

Phillies special assistant Charley Kerfeld has been in Houston watching the Pirates, and the Phillies had three different scouts in to watch the Orioles during their current homestand. While the Phillies have also shown interest in Pittsburgh outfielder Xavier Nady, a deal for Grabow is considered a much stronger possibility.

As for Fuentes, there's still some question about whether the Rockies will trade him. Even if they do, the Phillies now consider him too expensive in terms of the players they would have to give up.

The Orioles seem increasingly likely to trade Sherrill. The Baltimore Sun reported that both St. Louis and Milwaukee have shown interest, but the Angels might have a better chance to get him by offering shortstop Erick Aybar. As one scout who has followed the Orioles said: "Baltimore is dying for a shortstop, and Aybar could be a regular for them."

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has told people that his phone has been ringing off the hook since Sherrill pitched so well in the All-Star Game last week.

*****

One scout who has watched Seattle regularly this season said that while he doesn't really like left-hander Jarrod Washburn, he still thinks Washburn would be a decent fit with the Yankees.

"That's who he needs to pitch with, because he needs runs," the scout said. "He's another Bill Bavasi mistake. If the Mariners can get rid of Washburn, they should. If they get rid of him, that would help whoever gets that (Seattle GM) job next year."

*****

The Mets know they have little chance of winning without closer Billy Wagner, and they also know there's no way they have enough chips to trade for someone who could successfully replace Wagner if he can't pitch. That's why they still list a corner outfielder, preferably one who bats right-handed, as their primary need, with relief help and even another starting pitcher behind that.

The Mets have talked about Nady and also Jason Bay, but it's doubtful they have enough to get either one from the Pirates. It might be more realistic to think that they could get Casey Blake from Cleveland, or Austin Kearns from Washington. Seattle's Raul Ibanez has also been discussed, even though he bats left-handed.

 

Posted on: July 17, 2008 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2008 7:27 pm
 

Trade talk, and answering questions

It's no real surprise to see Tony Clark going from San Diego back to Arizona. Clark is from San Diego, but he has lived for years in the Phoenix area and very much wanted to get back there. The Diamondbacks needed help off the bench, and also the veteran presence that Clark brings, and the Padres have reached the point where they realize they don't have a chance this year.

There were those in baseball who thought Arizona would be a possible destination for Mark Teixeira, should the Braves trade him. Like Clark, Teixeira has a home in Arizona, and could possibly have been interested in staying there long-term. But Arizona didn't want a full-time first baseman who would take at-bats away from Chad Tracy and Connor Jackson. The Diamondbacks were encouraged by the 25 runs they scored in the final four games behind the All-Star break, and convinced themselves that at this point their offense doesn't need the big-time boost from someone like Teixeira.

It's also no surprise to see the Phillies trade for a pitcher, even though Oakland's Joe Blanton was far from their first choice. The Phils were looking for a difference-maker, and it's hard to see Blanton being that kind of pitcher. The one plus is that he normally pitches a lot of innings, and the Phillies might score enough runs to help him succeed.

Other talk circulating in the baseball world today:

-- The Mariners continue to be open for business, and there has been some talk that they would even be open to dealing young shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. But one official who has spoken to the Mariners said he was told Betancourt was one of four players the M's wouldn't talk about, with the other three being Ichiro Suzuki, Jeff Clement and Brandon Morrow.

-- The Rays' interest in Rockies closer Brian Fuentes has been talked about for days, but a baseball official said Tampa Bay has also talked to Oakland about Huston Street. The Rays are also in on Casey Blake, who could well be traded by the Indians.

-- Even after trading for CC Sabathia, the Brewers are well-positioned if they want to make another deal. Matt LaPorta was the key piece in the Sabathia trade, but one scout said LaPorta was no better than the fourth best prospect on Milwaukee's Double-A Huntsville club. "(Third baseman Mat) Gamel is an impact guy, and so is (shortstop Alcides) Escobar," the scout said. "And (outfielder Michael) Brantley has a chance to be an All-Star. For a lot of people, including us, LaPorta is going to be no better than an average everyday player."

-- One other Milwaukee player to watch is shortstop J.J. Hardy. The Blue Jays are very interested in him, and some people believe that if Dustin McGowan hadn't gotten hurt, a deal could have been made (the Brewers aren't interested in Burnett). There's still a chance, those same people believe, that the Jays could pursue Hardy this coming winter.

-- The Tigers haven't been saying very much about Dontrelle Willis, who was sent to Class A Lakeland more than a month ago (and more recently was in Detroit to have his knee examined). The word is that in Willis' workouts in Lakeland, his control hasn't been any better than it was in Detroit. People familiar situation said Willis has been doing a lot of running, trying to take off some of the weight he has added.

-- While the White Sox are telling people that they're satisfied with their team and unlikely to make any significant moves, there are those who wonder whether they'd deal shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who will be a free agent at the end of the year. Whether he's dealt or not, it's unlikely Cabrera will be with the Sox next year, because rookie Alexei Ramirez is expected to take over at short, his natural position.

*****

Some e-mails, and some quick responses:

From Josh T.: "Did you even watch the (All-Star) game? Did you see any other pitcher pitch? Did you see the defense on each side? All you can talk about is the freakin' Yanks and Boston"

Let's see, the All-Star Game was at Yankee Stadium, the MVP plays for Boston. No, I can't figure out why anyone would have written about the Yankees and Red Sox. You're right. Next time, I'll be sure to feature someone who had a bigger effect on the game. Cristian Guzman, maybe?

From Jason: "You're an idiot to suggest that CC Sabathia isn't an All-Star because he didn't make this year's team. I could make a team out of the players not on this year's (All-Star) roster and beat them in a game."

Sorry, but if you don't make the All-Star team, you're not an All-Star. If you don't believe me, then try to collect that All-Star bonus in your contract without being named to the team.

From Scott: "I don't understand why you included the pitcher from Kansas City (Zack Greinke) in your (On The Block), other than for filler."

We included Greinke because the Royals are willing to talk to other teams about him this month. No, he probably won't be dealt, because it would take a huge package to get KC to actually make a deal, but we thought it was interesting that they're even willing to discuss him.

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Posted on: June 27, 2008 6:51 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2008 7:25 pm
 

Watch out for the Lions? Hurdle has hope

The Detroit Lions have one playoff win in the last 51 years. There's no reason to think they're headed for the Super Bowl.

No reason but this one: Clint Hurdle says the Lions of 2007 were a lot like his Rockies of 2006. And the 2007 Rockies, as you may remember, made it to the World Series.

Hurdle was born in Michigan, and he remains a big fan of the state's teams. With the Rockies in Detroit this weekend, Hurdle had a chance to speak with long-time Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell -- and also with Lions coach Rod Marinelli.

"I felt the same way about the Rockies as I feel about the Lions, that they'd have their day, and then they'd be off and running," Hurdle said. "Rod and I talked about the common fabric of their '07 season and our '06 season. Because in '06, we were on top of the division after the All-Star break, and within a three-week period we had fallen to the bottom of the division."

The Lions started last season 6-2, then lost six straight games before finishing 7-9.

"I told him we'd get together and share some of the lessons I think I learned from that ('06) season," Hurdle said. "You never know how close you really are."

*****

The Cardinals lost two of three this week in Detroit, but they left an impression.

"The Cardinals are a much better team than I thought," Tiger manager Jim Leyland said. "I think they're really good. I was really impressed. They run the bases better than anyone we've played. They compete as good as anyone we've played."

Leyland was especially impressed that Albert Pujols was able to go 4-for-4 in his first game off the disabled list.

"That's the worst thing that could have happened to general managers," he said. "Now nobody will want to go on a rehab assignment."

*****

One thing to think about as baseball discusses the future of maple bats: Some players could have trouble making an adjustment.

One hitting coach said that maple distorts hitting almost the way that aluminum bats do, because maple is a harder wood than ash. Some hitters have been using 31-ounce maple bats, and because the wood is so hard they can still make solid contact when they get jammed.

"With ash at 31 ounces, you've got nothing," the coach said.

*****

Trot Nixon is just 5-for-32 in his first nine games for the Mets, so it's hard to say he's made much of an impact. But there are those in Cleveland who think the Indians miss his presence, if not his .251 batting average.

"We've struggled to get an identity this year," third baseman Casey Blake said. "I think last year Trot Nixon really helped us."

 *****

Last August, the Tigers' Carlos Guillen hit a 3:30 a.m. walkoff home run to win a rain-delayed game against the Yankees. Wednesday night against the Cardinals, Guillen went 4-for-5 in a game that included a 2 1/2-hour rain delay.

Is there a connection?

"Someone told me a long time ago that a lot of guys waste time during rain delays," Guillen said. "A lot of guys just play cards. I try to stay loose. I ride the (stationary) bike. I stay focused. In this game, you've got to take advantage of anything you can."

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com