Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dodgers Sign Casey Blake To 3-Year Deal

I have to admit that I am a bit surprised by this news. Talking to Blake towards the end of the season, I was under the impression he wanted to go back East and play out the remainder of his career. But considering the weather back East right about now, I'm sure another three years in LA sounded too good to turn down.

LOS ANGELES – The National League West Division Champion Los Angeles Dodgers today agreed to terms with third baseman Casey Blake on a three-year contract with a club option for the 2012 season. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.

“We are excited to bring back a player whose performance on the field and leadership off the field contributed so much to our division championship this year,” Colletti said. “Our club changed when Casey arrived, and we are thrilled that he wants to continue his career with the Dodgers.”

The Dodgers went 34-26 after Colletti acquired Blake July 26 from the Cleveland Indians for two minor leaguers, catcher Carlos Santana and right-handed pitcher Jon Meloan. The deal also included cash considerations.

Starting July 26, Blake’s 10 home runs ranked second on the club to Manny Ramirez’s 18.

Blake, 35, matched his career high with 36 doubles in 2008, and batted .274 with 21 homers, 81 RBI, and 71 runs scored in a combined 152 games with the Dodgers and Indians.

With the Dodgers, he hit .251 with 12 doubles, 10 homers, and 23 RBI in 58 regular-season games.

Blake’s .985 fielding percentage at third base starting July 26 was the best in the National League over that span and was second among major league third basemen behind Jack Hannahan’s .991 percentage with Oakland. Blake started at third base in 56 of the Dodgers’ 60 regular-season games beginning July 26.

The Iowa native is a career .264 hitter with 201 doubles, 128 home runs, and 447 RBI in 917 games over 10 major league seasons with Toronto (1999), Minnesota (2000-01, 2002), Baltimore (2001), Cleveland (2003-08), and the Dodgers (2008). He has logged at least 30 doubles in each of his five full big league campaigns.

Blake hit .267 (8-for-30) with a homer and four RBI in eight post-season games in 2008, his second straight playoff appearance. He was with Cleveland in 2007, which advanced to the American League Championship Series.

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