The Rockies announced today that they have released veteran third baseman Casey Blake. A combination of ineffectiveness and health concerns derailed his hopes of making the roster, and even with the decision to send super prospect Nolan Arenado to the minor leagues, it was increasingly clear that it was not worth it to keep Blake around for any extended period of time.
General manager Dan O’Dowd had the following to say about the decision:
“Once we made the decision that Casey was not going to make our club, we wanted to do what was best for him. It was an absolute pleasure to have Casey wear a Rockies uniform. His professionalism and work ethic were tremendous additions to our camp and we wish him the best of luck.”
Ultimately Blake’s brief story with the Rockies is one of tragic inevitability. It was clear from the start that his bat speed was a step slow and his abilities to contribute on the big league level behind him. He batted .150 in 20 ABs this spring.
The Rockies are now presumably left with Chris Nelson and Jordan Pacheco as options at third base, as Brandon Wood looks like he will start the year in the minors. Nelson brings solid defense and athleticism; he will need to become more consistent at the plate to hold down the job. Pacheco never stops hitting but consistently struggles on defense, a deficiency that likely means the Rockies cannot afford to have him in the everyday lineup at this point.
My personal preference would be to have Nelson seize the job and have Pacheco slide into a role as a super utility player. Someday Pacheco might find a fit in the everyday lineup, but for now his
defensive ineptitude versatility better suits a reserve role. That leaves Nelson with another chance to show the Rockies that he was worth a first round pick way back in 2004.