A league source has informed me that the Rays attention is now on Cleveland Indians cornerman Casey Blake due in part to the high price for Xavier Nady. I'm not sure if a deal is close or even imminent between the Rays and Indians, but Blake is a 34 -- soon to be 35 -- year old free agent following this season with a .279 GPA and an OPS+ of 118 that would place him behind only Eric Hinske and Evan Longoria. In some ways Blake is essentially a right-handed Hinske, although he's likely a slightly better fielder.
Here's what I had to say about Blake last week:
Casey Blake Corner Fielder Cleveland: signed through 2008 at 6.1 million.
What would a trade post be without a little speculation? Try this for instance, why did Andrew Friedman pick the Cleveland series to watch the team live for a few games? Maybe it's a pure coincidence, but with some murmurs last weekend about the Rays being interested in Blake the Indians definitely obliged by placing him in the middle of the order and at first three of the games with a cameo at third. Blake isn't really what the Rays are looking for - considering he's essentially a right handed Eric Hinske - but if he's used as purely as Jonny Gomes replacement he's not bad; he sees over four pitches per plate appearance and has a decent grasp on the zone. He's only worth a win a season, which is reasonable considering his price shouldn't be too great, and he's a type B free agent, meaning the Rays would get a first round supplemental pick if they decide to let him walk which they probably should, considering Blake turns 35 in late August.