The Rockies appear to be stocking up on potential third basemen entering the 2012 season. Colorado has reportedly agreed to terms with 37 year old 3B/1B Casey Blake. Blake was a solid bat for the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers when he was healthy. His last full season was in 2010 when he hit .248/.320 with 28 doubles and 17 homeruns. While signing Blake isn’t going to excite many fans or critics, he does provide essential depth to a Colorado offense that struggled in 2011 despite fielding such superstars like Troy Tulowizki and Carlos Gonzalez.
Blake is expected to be in the mix for the starting third base position along with the light hitting Jonathan Herrera, Jordan Pacheco, recently acquired D.J. LeMahieu, former elite infield prospect Brandon Wood and emerging as an unlikely candidate, utility player Michael Cuddyer. The Rockies recently dealt the struggling Ian Stewart to the Chicago Cubs and are left attempting to fill whatever void he may have left.
Whichever option the Rockies prefer to use at the hot corner, it figures to be a short-term replacement. Colorado’s top prospect, 2nd rounder Nolan Arenado is seen as the third baseman of the future. The 21-year old will be ticketed for AA and produced a line of .298/.349 with 32 doubles and 20 homeruns last season in the California League.
Currently, the leading candidates for the third base vacancy figure to be Blake, Pacheco and Wood. Cuddyer figures to man a corner outfield slot. Pacheco is a career .303/.377 hitter in the minor leagues but lacks the necessary power to become an everyday third baseman. Blake is a proven veteran but is certainly in the twilight of his playing career. Wood has struggled to adjust to major league hitting but in a similar hitting environment at AAA Salt Lake he put up monster numbers.