Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 12/21/11

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:
Most strikeouts by a hitter in a single season
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Final College Football Playoff rankings: Alabama reigns

WATCH: Tyler Lockett opens 2nd half with 75-yard TD

Newton benched on first play, Anderson immediately throws INT

Former commissioner Bud Selig and Braves GM John Schuerholz are headed to the Hall of Fame

WATCH: Josh Lambo has worst FG attempt of season so far

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Chiefs win game with incredible special teams play

WATCH: Jeff Fisher lost his challenge flag vs. Patriots

Colin Kaepernick benched for Blaine Gabbert in Chicago

Gronkowski releases statement, has no plans to retire

Sean Payton unhappy about Brandin Cooks trade rumors

Report: A 2015 investigation led to Kevin Wilson’s departure from Indiana

Top 10 takeaways from Sunday’s Week 13 NFL action

Best of Yardbarker: CFB Championship Week chaos

Five teams on upset alert in NFL Week 13

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL sweaters)

New faces help Spurs continue unparalleled success

The Pirates prepare for rarely chartered waters in dealing Andrew McCutchen

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 12/2: High-kicking it into the weekend

Jeff Fisher is the unkillable cockroach of NFL head coaches

Four teams to keep an eye on at the 2017 Winter Meetings

Eugene Monroe opens up about NFL’s drug policy

Ideal MLB offseason blueprint for every team

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Final College Football Playoff rankings: Alabama reigns

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

New faces help Spurs continue unparalleled success

The Pirates prepare for rarely chartered waters in dealing Andrew McCutchen

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Everything you need to know for CFB Championship Week

Jeff Fisher is the unkillable cockroach of NFL head coaches

Four teams to keep an eye on at the 2017 Winter Meetings

Porzingis reshapes Knicks by elevating his game

TailGreater: Your championship week playlist is set

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker