MLB Free Agency: Should New York Yankees Consider Casey Blake as Bench Depth?

Doug RushSenior Analyst IOctober 24, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 1: Third baseman Casey Blake #23 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws the ball during the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on August 1, 2011 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images)
Kent Horner/Getty Images

With baseball's free agency period growing closer towards us, we've all talked about the big names.

Albert Pujols. Prince Fielder. Carlos Beltran. CC Sabathia.

But we have to talk about the lesser-known names, because sometimes those are the key parts to a winning team.

Wallace Matthews from ESPN wondered if the Yankees would make a play for Casey Blake this winter, especially considering Eric Chavez is heavily leaning towards retiring.

Blake will be 38 once the 2012 season starts and his best days of being a starting third basemen are long gone.

He only played in 63 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers this past year due to an injured neck that required surgery.

With Chavez retiring, it opens up a spot on the bench and if the price is right for Blake, I think the Yankees should strongly consider it.

The Dodgers bought out Blake's $6 million option for 2012 about three weeks ago, which put him on the free agent market.

In no way do I think Blake should get anything more than $1 or $2 million for a guaranteed roster spot. His injury is a great cause for concern and his numbers have been steadily dropping.

However, if he is healthy, he can be a pretty decent defensive replacement late in games—just like the Yankees used Chavez for in 2011—and he can be a good veteran leader to have in the locker room.

If another team wants to try and offer Blake a starting job for 2012 then by all means, he should probably take it at this point in his career.

However, if teams are not going to guarantee him a starting position then accepting this type of bench role might be the best idea for Blake in his career.

But for Yankees GM Brian Cashman, these are the types of moves he made during last year's winter offseason and it ended up paying off with a division title and a trip to the postseason.

Blake has primarily been a third basemen his entire career, but has played some first base and left field, just like he did for the Dodgers in 2011.

Now, the Yankees could just go with rookie Brandon Laird as the backup option for Alex Rodriguez, which would be just fine.

If Blake is healthy and can help the Yankees—especially with his glove—then I think it's a small-risk, high-reward type deal for the Yankees.