Rockies Release Casey Blake, Await Nolan Arenado

For the Colorado Rockies, the long-term plan at third base is pretty clear: Wait for Nolan Arenado and then let him be awesome. The 20-year-old was recently rated the No. 42 prospect in the league by Baseball America, and in 2011 he posted an .836 OPS in advanced-A.

But Arenado isn't ready yet, nor did the Rockies figure he would be. The Rockies needed a stopgap. In December, they figured that stopgap could be Casey Blake. It ain't gonna be Casey Blake.

Blake signed a $2 million contract with incentives, but that $2 million was non-guaranteed, so the Rockies are on the hook for only a fraction of that total. Truth be told, this wasn't hard to see coming. Blake's been bothered by continuing neck discomfort this spring, and he's batted 3-for-20 without a walk. Meanwhile, Jordan Pacheco has batted 17-for-39, while Chris Nelson has batted a not-terrible 12-for-45. Both of those guys are capable of manning the hot corner, and that's presumably what they'll do until Arenado forces his way up.

At 38, with no job and present health concerns, it's possible that Casey Blake has played his last game in the majors. If that's the case, he's done a hell of a job for a guy who didn't really break in until he was 29. His 167 career home runs are more than Tony Phillips and Pete Rose ever hit.

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