Just wanted to weigh in on the pursuit of Casey Blake. I think it’s a good idea, although I’d be intrigued by the prospect of trying to keep Joe Crede healthy enough to play 120 games in 2009 with the prospect of him playing third base in the new ballpark (on grass) in 2010. I’m amused by the conflict that exists among many Twins fans: The team doesn’t go after free agents and then, when it does, management is pursuing the wrong guys. Do something, but NOT THAT!
If Casey Blake had come to Minnesota last season, taken over third base and hit 10 home runs in 53 games, we would have hailed the acquisition as a success and, quite possibly, the reason for the Twins winning the AL Central. Keep in mind that Blake at third would have allowed Brendan Harris to play more shortstop, which seems to be his best position (despite limited range) and spared us some of Nick Punto’s painful late-season at-bats. The latter move would have been an acceptable offense-for-defense tradeoff, especially with Punto more available to play the late innings at short or third.
While not exactly Corey Koskie, Blake would have been a slight defensive upgrade over Harris at third and a definite improvement over Brian Buscher. Those of you holding out for a Buscher/Harris tandem at third base in 2009 need to watch enough replays from last year to know that Buscher is a frightening full-season option, especially in a traditional platoon with the left-handed bat getting most of the playing time.
Also, while we tend to think of Buscher as a hitter, he had 6 extra-base hits in 137 plate appearances after July 26 (when Blake went to the Dodgers); Blake had 23 in 233.
To put Blake in the same class as the Hernandez/Everett/Batista/Ortiz signings of recent years is silly. He would be an improvement for a team that needs to get better.