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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rockies release Casey Blake, could retirement be next?

Scout to me in 2008: “You know who the best player on the Indians is? Casey Blake because of his (something~something) grinding heart.”

The ColoradoRockies have released third baseman Casey Blake, the club announced via Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

...As for Blake, he was brought in as a free agent this past offseason after spending the previous three-plus seasons with the Dodgers (he came over in a deadline deal from the Indians in 2008). Being cut right now may be a forced retirement—considering he’ll turn 39 in August, had neck surgery last September and couldn’t hold off Pacheco for the starting job this spring.

If Blake is forced to retire, he can look bad on a pretty admirable 13-year career. He was never a star by any stretch, but was an important member of three different playoff teams. He has a career .264/.336/.442 line with 167 homers, 616 RBI and 644 runs.

Repoz Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:15 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rockies

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   1. phredbird Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4090609)
too bad for ol' casey. he helped make '08 and '09 a ton of fun ... along with manny.

things sure went south quickly, i must say.
   2. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:31 PM (#4090611)
I had no idea he was still playing.

Edit: And that's embarrassing because I live in Los Angeles. Obviously I don't pay much attention to the Dodgers.
   3. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4090614)
As I posted over in the Dugout...

Hell of a story. Didn't make it to The Show until he was 25, spent his age 25-28 seasons in AAA except for a total of 125 PA in the bigs, signed on with the Indians as a 29-year-old minor league free agent, only made the '03 Tribe because Ricky Gutierrez was hurt and nobody else could play third base...and then he goes out and pops 167 home runs, puts up a career OPS+ of 107, three 20-HR seasons, and finishes in the top ten in the NL in OPS+ once.

The guy did an awful lot with a limited skill set. Was never a great defender, but was passable at the 4C positions and by all accounts worked his butt off preparing to move to second base after the Indians signed Aaron Boone. (Blake moved to RF instead.)

If this is the end for Casey, I'll have a lot of fond memories of the guy. Maybe not the greatest ballplayer, but just about every team could use a guy who can play four positions passably, hit 30 doubles and 20 dingers a year, and just quietly go about his business.
   4. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4090617)
How done is he? Because the Braves need Chipper insurance.
   5. phredbird Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4090618)
piehole, i often get free tix from my boss, and offer the extras on BTF. let me know if you'd like to go to a game. i've been to games with tripon and broth of abominable things (CoB).
   6. Spahn Insane Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:36 PM (#4090621)
If Blake is forced to retire, he can look bad on a pretty admirable 13-year career.

That's an unfortunate Freudian slip.
   7. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4090624)
How done is he? Because the Braves need Chipper insurance.

OPS+ of 99 last year as a part-time player, though his injured neck is an issue. If he's physically able to play, I think he'd make an entirely reasonable bench player. He's certainly not good at this point, but he's cromulent.
   8. phredbird Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4090625)
sam, imho the neck thing is not good.

he posted a 98 OPS+ in 2010 in 146 games, but fell off from that pretty bad last year. and he has even less power than before. maybe he can field the position, but i doubt it.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4090626)
The Indians are starting Jack Hannahan at third and Casey Kotchman at first - could he go back to Cleveland?
   10. nick swisher hygiene Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4090627)
3--yeah, that's a nice summary--can I say that this is one of those stories that makes me feel Repoz should take his oh-so-clever intro and stick it up his ass?
   11. phredbird Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4090629)
oops, i realize going from 98 to 99 OPS+ doesnt read as falling off, but he only played in 63 games last year and hit 4 homers. to me that's a bad sign for 3b who might have mobility problems because of his injuries.
   12. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4090632)
Maybe not the greatest ballplayer, but just about every team could use a guy who can play four positions passably, hit 30 doubles and 20 dingers a year, and just quietly go about his business.


Yep. He's one of those guys you always create in video games because you can jerk someone around and make them play four different positions and they won't complain. I always liked him.
   13. phredbird Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4090633)
can I say that this is one of those stories that makes me feel Repoz should take his oh-so-clever intro and stick it up his ass?


heh. casey wasn't a very prickly type. he got a lot of respect from the local media. but he also used to get a little ribbing for growing a beard to cover up his long chin. one year he cut the beard off and i swear he had a chin longer than jay leno. it was scary.
   14. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4090635)
Solid beard.
   15. Perry Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:51 PM (#4090636)
How done is he? Because the Braves need Chipper insurance.


He's physically barely been able to play this spring -- only managed 20 ABs (3 hits, 0 walks, 1 HR).
   16. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 27, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4090647)
He's physically barely been able to play this spring -- only managed 20 ABs (3 hits, 0 walks, 1 HR).


Sounds like he's done-done. Too bad, for him and the Braves. It would have been a good fit. Back to people asking way too much for Marlon Byrd.
   17. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: March 27, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4090655)
I once helped Casey Blake with a crossword puzzle. He didn't know what the capital of Belarus was.
   18. puck Posted: March 27, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4090677)
He's physically barely been able to play this spring -- only managed 20 ABs (3 hits, 0 walks, 1 HR).


Yeah, but he was on a hot streak, .333 with a 1.333 SLG in his last 3 AB's!

...and couldn’t hold off Pacheco for the starting job this spring.


Pachecho this spring: .436/.500/.64

I'm sure he's totally for real this time, after .636/.692/.818 (13PA's) in Spring 2010 and .286/.355/.464 (but with a hot start) in Spring 2011. ZiPS has: .262/.317/.363 for a OPS+ of 73.

Edit: the Denver Post says Nelson and Pacheco are expected to share 3rd, which makes sense. Neither is an overwhelming choice, but at least they don't still have that piker, Ian Stewart!
   19. MM1f Posted: March 27, 2012 at 08:23 PM (#4090716)
Hell of a story. Didn't make it to The Show until he was 25, spent his age 25-28 seasons in AAA except for a total of 125 PA in the bigs, signed on with the Indians as a 29-year-old minor league free agent, only made the '03 Tribe because Ricky Gutierrez was hurt and nobody else could play third base...and then he goes out and pops 167 home runs, puts up a career OPS+ of 107, three 20-HR seasons, and finishes in the top ten in the NL in OPS+ once.


This is what I logged on to post. Among position players, how many guys who didn't stick in the bigs til their age 29 year have had better careers?
   20. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: March 27, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4090725)
Among position players, how many guys who didn't stick in the bigs til their age 29 year have had better careers?

Hank Sauer comes to mind. But there can't have been many.
   21. zonk Posted: March 27, 2012 at 08:50 PM (#4090730)
Hall of "Him?"
   22. flournoy Posted: March 27, 2012 at 09:02 PM (#4090741)
Among position players, how many guys who didn't stick in the bigs til their age 29 year have had better careers?


I think Melvin Mora (who stuck at age 28) is a really good career comp for Blake.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4090752)
Ryan Ludwick also comes to mind, but Blake's career was better.

For relievers, Doug Jones didn't really get started til age 30, and had quite a career. Kent Tekulve too.

Then there are all the Negro Leaguers, but those are different circumstances.
   24. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 27, 2012 at 10:21 PM (#4090781)
Paul LoDuca was the first name that came to my mind. Got his first MLB at-bat at age 26, had 199 PA in the majors before age 29. Went on to have another 4,103 plate appearances, 4 All-Star appearances, and 15 WAR.

EDIT: Blake was arguably better--certainly a better hitter.
   25. Davo Dozier Posted: March 27, 2012 at 11:16 PM (#4090808)
The Indians traded him to the Dodgers for Carlos Santana at the 2008 deadline.

While this will/already has gone down in history as a horrible trade--fairly--it should be noted that Casey Blake did everything he could to prevent it from being awful, putting up the two best seasons of his career in 2009 and 2010. And he was certainly an upgrade over Blake DeWitt for the '08 team...since they only made the playoffs by two games, he very easily could have been the difference.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: March 27, 2012 at 11:43 PM (#4090821)
#25 ... not so fast.

Blake had 10.7 WAR after that trade and, as noted, helped the 2008-9 Dodgers make the playoffs. Santana's looking super-studly but it's still just 6.1 WAR. This trade has a long way to go before it can go down in history as horrible.
   27. cmd600 Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4091201)
#26 - Blake was only under contract through the end of 2008 at the time of the deal. The Dodgers got 1 WAR for Santana. They got 9.7 WAR for their 3 year contract.
   28. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4091210)
Among position players, how many guys who didn't stick in the bigs til their age 29 year have had better careers?

Casey Blake's fellow Dodger Jamey Carroll, though with only ~400 PA per season instead of ~550.
   29. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM (#4091233)
Dale Long, Gavvy Cravath, Walt Moryn, Ed Charles, Ron Coomer, and Davey Lopes are other late starters.

Garret Jones and Luke Scott are also on this career track.
   30. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4091269)
Back in Gavvy Cravath's day it was not that unusual, because the minor leagues weren't that different from the major leagues. For someone like him he might rather make a good living playing in California than go to the major leagues thousands of miles away. (unless he got sold between leagues of course)
   31. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4091292)
Casey Blake absolutely owned the Tigers. 23 homers and a .948 OPS vs Detroit. .952 OPS in 31 PAs against Verlander. OWNED US.

He put together a pretty damn fine career, all told.

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