You know you’re wondering. Only a week remains before Opening Day and the Indians still can’t find a good left fielder or a consistent right handed bat.
So when you learned yesterday the Colorado Rockies released Casey Blake you felt a slight pull. Injured lat or the creeping cringe of some alternate reality?
We all know and like Blake. Nice guy, decent player, versatility at 3B, 1B, LF or RF, occasional power. Older dude with a beard (at times), likes to hunt.
He spent parts of six years at 3B with the Indians and posted a respectable stat line (.266/116/417/108 OPS+).
The Tribe traded him to the Dodgers in July 2008 for Carlos Santana (thank you, Lord). A one sided, we have Russell Martin and we need a 3B right now move by the Dodgers and a sharp pounce by the Tribe. So if we get Blake back the trade is even better, right? Right?
Blake had four productive seasons in Los Angeles. However, he’s 38 years old and a pinched nerve robbed him of most of 2011 along with much of his power (63 g, .252/4/26/99 OPS+, 2 stints on the DL). The Dodgers replaced him with that perpetual I Always Have A Torrid 2 Week Stretch Each Season star, Juan Uribe.
Blake signed a $ 2 million, incentive laden free agent deal with Colorado in the offseason but never got out of the gate this Spring, hitting only .150 (3 for 20) with 1 home run. The Rockies have a hot prospect waiting, so why waste money or playing time on the old man?
What does a Blake Redux offer the Indians? Nothing, if he is not healthy. Probably very little even if he is, other than some versatility as a reserve OF (and maybe a cool new What If? flashback commercial).
Right now it appears Jose Lopez makes the Indians as a bench player. He plays 3B, 2B and 1B but not the OF. He’s younger than Blake but also brings a lesser track record, a declining trend line and fewer warm fuzzies from past association. If he hits, his projected run production would probably be similar to Blake.
Blake would be a defensive upgrade over Donald and Duncan in the OF and can play RF for a time if Choo is needed in CF when Brantley inevitably gets hurt.
Given the Tribe’s penchant for known quantities and veteran players, a reunion with Blake can not be totally dismissed. Obviously the scouting material available to the team will determine if Blake is a potential asset or a redundancy and whether the pinched nerve lingers or he just got off to a slow start.
Does the fact the subject has not been publicly asked/answered mean anything or is it the dread silence of the grossly improbable? Antonetti was quick to squash the Vlad Guererro rumors.
Would you take Blake over Lopez?
Better yet, would you take Blake over Spilborghs/Cunningham/Pie/Canzler?
Or better third, punt and leave the Redux to Rabbit?