CLEVELAND - Looking for an upgrade at third base as they make a push for the playoffs, the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Casey Blake from the Cleveland Indians for two minor leaguers yesterday.
The Indians, who also sent cash to the Dodgers as part of the trade, received catcher Carlos Santana and right-hander Jonathan Meloan.
Later yesterday, the Indians acquired pitcher Anthony Reyes from the St. Louis Cardinals for minor league pitcher Luis Perdomo.
"He's the type of player I think that can help this ballclub," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "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 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."
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 of 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.
Blake, who turns 35 on Aug. 23, is batting .289 with 11 homers and 58 RBIs, and he has been Cleveland's most clutch player, hitting .398 with runners in scoring position. He was batting only .234 through the end of May, but is hitting .352 in 45 games since then with 29 RBIs.
"I've had a pretty good approach for a couple of months now," Blake said.
He signed a $6.1 million contract at the start of the season, and the Iowa native has said he would like to finish his career with the Indians.
Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said the Indians will pursue Blake in the offseason if he becomes a free agent.
Cleveland came within one win of the World Series last year and was favored to defend its AL Central title. But costly injuries and underachievement by some of their top players dropped the Indians back in the division and forced Shapiro to begin retooling for the future.
Meloan pitched in five games as a reliever for the Dodgers last season.
The club converted him into a starter this year, and the 24-year-old was 5-10 with a 4.97 ERA at Triple-A Las Vegas. The Indians have transferred his
option to Triple-A Buffalo, where he will pitch in relief.
Santana, a 22-year-old switch- hitter, batted .323 with 14 homers and 96 RBIs at Class-A Inland Empire. He led the California League in RBIs, on-base percentage (.431) and runs (88). Since June 26, he's batting .393 with six homers and 30 RBIs in 28 games.
The Indians said the Dominican Republic native will report to Class-A Kinston.
The 26-year-old Reyes has split this season between the Cardinals' bullpen and the starting rotation at Triple-A Memphis. The right-hander was on St. Louis' opening day roster and went 2-1 with a save in 10 relief appearances. He was placed on the disabled list in June with a sprained right elbow.
At Memphis, Reyes was 2-3 with a 3.25 ERA in 11 starts.
Perdomo has made nine appearances at Double-A Akron. The 24-year-old began the season at Class-A Kinston.