Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/14/14
Major_league_baseballseattle_1fad

Casey Blake is reportedly joining the Rockies on a non-guaranteed, one-year deal worth up to $3 million. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like too much money — and the Rockies are a perpetual contender in a weak division — so blocking a cheaper prospect might not be of the utmost concern. It’s a small, short deal that fills a need.

What is notable about the move, though, is the motley crew of infielders that the team is collecting at third base. With Arizona Fall League MVP Nolan Arenado yet to taste a day of Double-A ball, the Rockies need stopgap players to help bide the time until Arenado is ready. Blake is the final piece in a four-headed monster at the position.

Incumbent Ian Stewart is gone, and in his place are a few new faces. DJ LeMahieu came over in the deal that sent Stewart packing, but his minor league statistics don’t show any power or patience. He only once cracked a .100 ISO in a full season, and his best walk rate was 7.1% in A-ball. But he doesn’t strike out, and he can play a little second or third, so he could make for a fine backup infielder.

You could drop the same moniker on Jordan Pacheco, as well. He only once showed above-average power in the minor leagues, and that was in A-ball. One time, he walked at an 11.7% rate, but that was in high-A. As he’s progressed through the system, his power and plate patience have waned. In triple-A last year he had a .099 ISO, walked 7.3% of the time, struck out 11.7% of the time and stole two bases. LeMahieu had a .079 ISO, walked 5.7% of the time, struck out 10.9% of the time and stole five bases. Both are right-handed. Maybe one will work out.

Should we add former shortstop Chris Nelson to the list? If Jonathan Herrera takes second base, with occasional help from Eric Young Jr., then Nelson might play some third. Nelson is another right-hander, but — unlike the others — he actually has some power (.218 triple-A ISO, .196 in double-A in 2009). Until last season, he walked at an average rate too. He does strike out more than LeMahieu and Pachecho, but he still should remain better-than-league-average in that category.

The fact remains that none of these three options so far is a lock to even put up the .257/.317/.387 line that the average National League third baseman reached in 2011. Nelson might have the best shot, but he might be needed elsewhere.

Enter Blake. The 38-year-old was at his worst season last year and only had 239 plate appearances. His was an injury riddled year, yet he still managed a .252/.342/.371 in those limited at-bats — which pretty much duplicated an average third baseman’s production. His upside in Colorado would be if he produced a league-average strikeout rate (20.4% career), league-average power (.178 career, but down recently) and slightly above-average patience (8.7% career, but up recently). His three-year UZR average is close to plus-10, so he won’t give it all back with the glove.

Blake didn’t get regular playing time until he was 30, and that’s a shame. Most years, he’s been a decent third baseman — last year was the first time he failed to produce surplus value. But the late debut means that he seemingly became a brittle older dude quicker than most players.

Now, at the tail-end of his career, Blake now is most useful on a short-term contract with a team that has decent backup options and a long-term prospect on the way. And that suits the Rockies just fine.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Chargers keep playoff hopes alive with comeback win

Robin Lopez responds to Khloe Kardashian dating rumors

Report: Jermaine O'Neal 'intrigued' about joining Mavs

Report: Robert Griffin III likely to return to Redskins

Izzo criticizes coaches, players after embarrassing loss

Report: Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Is Rampage Jackson heading back to the UFC?

WATCH: DeSean Jackson mocks Eagles after win

Michael Vick: Jameis Winston is the future of the NFL

Report: No NFL team is moving to Los Angeles in 2015

Report: 49ers looking for young, offensive mind as next coach

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Dan Mullen wears funny 'Christmas Vacation' sweater

WATCH: Redskins FB gets in Eagles fan's face after TD

WATCH: Utah runs trick play on first offensive play of game

Mick Cronin misses game with unruptured aneurysm

Steve Alford: Kentucky is best team I've coached against

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

UNC wearing Jordan-era throwback uniforms

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.