A Brief History Lesson for Cleveland Indians’ Front Office Haters

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Carlos Santana

acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for 3B Casey Blake

Say what you will about Santana, but this trade is one of the defining moves of Shapiro’s time in the front office.

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Getting a high-upside middle of the order bat in return for an aging Blake was a huge steal for the Indians. At the time of the trade, Keith Law wrote the deal off as one the Dodgers would be regretting for a long time. Santana was ranked 13th on Law’s Top 100 prospects and 26th on Baseball America’s Top 100. According to Law:

"After hitting a combined .330/.435/.569 in high-A — walking more than he struck out — he projects as a middle-of-the-order, switch-hitting run producer…Given his tremendous control of the strike zone and above-average power, he has very little to do to turn into an above average big league catcher, but there’s a high probability he develops into much more."

It was an outstanding move by Antonetti in exchange for a player who turned 36 before the end of the 2009 season. Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times once wrote, “It might not exactly rank up there with Fred Claire’s trade of Pedro Martinez, but if there was one deal General Manager Ned Colletti would like to have back, it was when he sent catching prospect Carlos Santana to the Indians.”

Struggling mightily this season, it’s easy to gloss over the impact Santana has made with the Tribe over the last few seasons. While he’s been putrid with runners in scoring position this season, the 29-year-old now first baseman is still playing well above league average at his position and offers the Indians a lot more good than he does bad.

Blake played a little more than three seasons with Los Angeles before retiring after the 2011 season.

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