As the trade deadline looms, baseball writers everywhere have been consuming themselves with the seemingly endless list of players that could be on the move before it is all said and done. Since dealing CC Sabathia, the Indians have fallen out of the trade spotlight a bit, since names like Matt Holliday and Mark Teixeira have vaulted to the top.
But while we do not have any power sources like the two aformentioned, we do have a few names that have apparently continued to stir interest among the MLB ranks. From Tim Brown’s recent article at Yahoo!:
After moving Sabathia, the Cleveland Indians remain in sell mode and are listening to offers for Blake, Paul Byrd and Jamey Carroll, and they could be convinced to discuss shortstop Jhonny Peralta. The Dodgers, who would prefer to acquire a true shortstop and move Nomar Garciaparra to third base, are in on Blake and McPherson, the former Angels prospect who is healthy again and has hit 32 home runs in Triple-A for the Florida Marlins. The Dodgers also need help in the bullpen but are not believed to be interested in Street. The Tampa Bay Rays would love to have Blake cover right field for them, but so far no one has met the Indians’ price.
Now given the recent play by Peralta (as well as his very, very friendly contract), I would assume that it would take one heck of an offer to pry the (gulp) shortstop from our fingers. But the one part of the above that caught me by surprise is that no one has “met our price” for Casey Blake thus far.
What could our price be? Aside from the Rays, the Mets have reportedly expressed interest in the third baseman/right fielder/first baseman. We’re obviously not asking for an Evan Longoria in return here, but if the demand for Blake’s services continue to rise (read: Twins, Dodgers), we could be seeing a case of last-minute moves with this one even though he did not play in yesterday’s game.
But given the fact that Blake will be a 35-year old free agent at the end of the season, and would likely demand something more than his current deal of $6.1 million, what sort of market is there? If we hold him, and he walks, we get a first-round supplemental draft selection. But so would any team that would acquire him – increasing his value. He sees over four pitches per plate appearance – something teams love. He can play a bevy of positions – always a plus.
Focusing on Tampa Bay, their rotation is going to be full of young, very good arms. Perhaps they would be willing to give up one of their minor league arms? I doubt we can nab Jeff Niemann for Blake, given the whole one-year thing. Other names that have been floated around message boards and rumor mills have been Reid Brignac (a 22-year old shortstop) and Justin Ruggiano (a 26-year old outfielder with speed).
Ruggiano fits the “lower level prospect” mold that could garner someone like Blake. Brignac is typically considered a top-five prospect within the Rays’ system, so that may be a bit tougher to pull off without adding a few more pieces on our side.
What’s good to see is that Shapiro isn’t just shelling out chips to anyone who makes a phone call. While the Indians are definitely on the sell-side of things, we continue to look for the best offer out there.