The Dodgers got Casey Blake after the team needed a third baseman with Nomar being perpetually injured and Blake DeWitt too young to be relied upon for the remainder of the season. So off goes Jonathan Meloan and Carlos Santana. We saw Meloan but we weren't aware we had a guitarist of his caliber in the organization. He goes to the Indians and, what do you know, he can play catcher! He was their top prospect immediately and seems to be a building block of the Tribe's future. Last season, Ned desired some bullpen help and lefty Orioles closer George Sherrill came on to provide a late-inning shut-down set-up guy. So off goes Josh Bell and Steve Johnson.
Casey Blake has been a solid third baseman and decent mid-to-late order batter, good for 20 homers and solid defensive play. George Sherrill did well to end last season but wasn't great in the playoffs and has been horrendous this season. Two veterans who we still have (unless GS gets picked up off of waivers) and no World Series title. In exchange, we gave up two guys who would be #1 and #2 prospects in the system now.
So what am I defending Ned against? I would say that these guys weren't exactly top prospects at the time. They were high potential but low in the system at the time and high risk. They were also the kind of deals that were made to win a World Series and then you forget what it took to get there. It always looks bad when you use up the entire wooden body of a wood-fired plane and don't make it but if you did make it, you would walk off the plane cold but a winner.
It's funny how Russell Martin probably was blocking any attempt Carlos Santana would have made to make the team and the next year Casey Blake was blocking Josh Bell. This year, the system is dry enough that anymore emigration and Ned would be going for broke. An ace pitcher, shutdown reliever or a second baseman with an expiring contract might just make the Dodgers an October contender. I am an idealist and would like the Dodgers to win the WS and keep our shallow stock of youth. There will be some choices to be made and help may cost a hefty price. With the future ownership of the team in jeopardy, Joe Torre on his way out and the youthful core about to get expensive, time is running out. At whatever cost, if the Dodgers win it, though, no one would care.