Former Dodgers prospect Carlos Santana helps Cleveland Indians reach World Series

In 2008, the Dodgers acquired third baseman Casey Blake, in a push toward the World Series. They never would have imagined that the Class A prospect they traded to get Blake would qualify for the World Series before they would return.

Eight years later, Carlos Santana and the Cleveland Indians are in the World Series. Santana, 30, hit 34 home runs this season — tied with ex-Angel Mike Napoli for the team lead — and ranked eighth in the American League with a .366 on-base percentage.

The Dodgers did not want to trade Santana, but then-owner Frank McCourt had told then-general manager Ned Colletti that the payroll could not be increased in the middle of the season. Colletti had to abandon a larger deal that would have brought Blake and CC Sabathia to Los Angeles and he had to include a premium prospect in Santana so the Indians would agree to pay the balance of Blake’s contract.

At the time of the trade, the Dodgers indicated they believed Santana would hit well enough to reach the major leagues but would not play well enough defensively to remain at catcher. If he ended up as a designated hitter, after all, he would be of little use to a National League team.

Santana arrived in the majors in 2010; the Indians moved him to first base in 2014. He made the majority of his starts at DH this season.

Blake hit a combined .184, with one home run in 38 at-bats, in the Dodgers’ National League Championship Series losses to the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008-09. Santana hit .167, with two home runs in 18 at-bats, in the Indians’ ALCS victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Bunt? Who me?

Chicago Cubs ace Jon Lester glared at the Dodgers dugout after Joc Pederson tried to bunt for a base hit in the second inning. Lester threw him out.

The book on Lester might be to try to rattle him by dropping a bunt and seeing if he would make a wild throw to first base, but Cubs Manager Joe Maddon said that is easier said than done in this generation.

“In the major leagues today, you probably can count on maybe two hands really good bunters for a base hit,” Maddon said. “It's not as easy as it appears to be, and it's just, ‘Why don't you have your guys bunt?’ or ‘Why don't you have so-and-so bunt?’ Well, he's not good at it.”

Short hops

Vin Scully delighted fans Thursday by shouting “It’s Time for Dodger Baseball!” live from a suite on the same level as the Vin Scully Press Box. … Turner has reached base safely in 15 consecutive postseason games, a franchise record. Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder Carl Furillo reached base in 14 consecutive postseason games — all in the World Series — in 1953, 1955 and 1956. … Maddon on Cubs starter John Lackey, who appeared to scream on the mound after second baseman Javier Baez threw away a potential double-play ball in Game 4: “It’s John. He vibrates at that frequency. You know that. He’s an edgy human being. He’s an edgy baseball player. So if you’re surprised by it, that’s your fault. John’s always been that guy. He gets angry.”

Times staff writers Bill Plaschke, Pedro Moura and Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.

Twitter: @BillShaikin

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

Baseball Los Angeles Dodgers Jon Lester Carlos Ruiz World Series Chicago Cubs Cleveland Indians

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