Brian Wilson Presents: The Best of Casey Blake

Casey Blake has retired. While some might think of him as the “veteran presence” the Dodgers acquired for Carlos Santana (Colletti!), Blake had his other moments.

Blake did have some good seasons with both Cleveland and Los Angeles, and went to the playoffs with both teams. He was rarely exceptional, but he generally provided good value for a guy who did not become a major-league regular until he was 29. In memory of his career, let’s look at his three biggest hits according to Win Probability Added.

Blake did play in 27 playoff games, but his three biggest hits according to WPA all came during the regular season. Somewhat surprisingly, none of them were home runs or even game-winning hits. All three came with the Dodgers (for Cleveland fans who are wondering — the fourth biggest was a Dodgers hit, too).

3. April 14, 2010. Neither the Dodgers nor Diamondbacks ended the 2010 season well, but this game was early enough in the season to retain that “spring feeling.” It was a back-and-forth affair, with the Dodgers taking the lead, then losing it. In the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers were down 6-7. Manny Ramirez led off the inning with a double, and was promptly pinch-run for by Jamey Carroll. After James Loney struck out (plus ├ža change!), Casey Blake had his one hit out of six tries in the game, doubling in Carroll to tie the game (.424 WPA). Blake’s heroics ended up going for naught, as the Diamondbacks ended up taking the game in extra innings.


2. April 21, 2011. If Dodgers fans thought 2010 was tough… On this day, at least, they won. Blake did have a big home run in this game, a solo homer that broke a 1-1 tie with two outs in the bottom of the seventh against the Braves. However, that was not his biggest play of the game according to WPA. The Braves took a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth. In the bottom of that inning, Jamey Carroll was on second with two outs. Blake singled him in (against Craig Kimbrel) for .427 WPA and tied up the game. While the Dodgers would not win the game until the bottom of the twelth on a Matt Kemp two-run homer (.313 WPA), Blake’s ninth-inning single was the WPA swing (on the Dodgers’ side) of the game.


1. April 15, 2010. Just a day after #3, Blake had his biggest (WPA) moment. Once again, it was not the game-winning hit. The Diamondbacks jumped ahead of the Dodgers 3-0, but the Dodgers tied the game up in the bottom of the seventh on a two-run dong. Arizona went back up 5-3 on a Justin Upton solo home run and, later, an error in the field by our hero. In the bottom of the ninth, the Dodgers pulled within one on a Manny Ramirez RBI. After James Loney got a hit (no, seriously), Blake singled in Manny Ramirez, and, as a bonus, Stephen Drew returned Blake’s earlier favor and committed an error, which allowed The Machine (a.k.a. James Loney) to score, as well, tying up the game. In a re-run of this blog entry, Ethier had the game winning-hit in extras, but Blake’s hit-plus-error was the Dodgers’ biggest WPA play of the game at .468.


We hoped you liked reading Brian Wilson Presents: The Best of Casey Blake by Matt Klaassen!

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Matt Klaassen reads and writes obituaries in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can't get enough of him, follow him on Twitter.

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cable fixer
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cable fixer

question about the santana/blake deal. with what has come to light about the dodgers preference under mccourt to not take on payroll in these deals but rather absorb the cost in prospect form, should we be as severe in our judgment of colletti?

or is it one of those things where, if you’re giving up a future 4-6 WAR talent for a rent-a-player, well, there’s just no excuse unless the owner has a (figurative) gun to your head.

Sam
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Sam

Jon Weisman of Dodgerthoughts recently made the good point that, at the time in 2008, “Blake for $2 million and Jon Meloan (the other prospect in the Santana trade)” would have been far too one-sided in LA’s favor, given that Blake was one of the best-hitting 3B in the league in 2008 and Meloan was just a fringe relief prospect. Weisman indicated that it was far more likely that the deal was “Blake for $2 million and Carlos Santana,” and that Ned was forced to include Meloan in the deal instead of the $2 million due to orders from higher-ups. This is a reversal of the typical narrative of McCourt costing the Dodgers Santana, but is also a correction of the typical narrative of Ned Colleti getting bailed out from blame for one of his worst moves of all time, so I’m cool with it.

cable fixer
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cable fixer

interesting thanks!