The Rockies have signed the Beard to a 1-year $2 million contract pending a physical. It also includes $1 million in performance bonuses.
The 13 season veteran was a likeable character during his 3 1/2 years with the Dodgers. The Dodgers traded minor leaguers Jon Meloan and Carlos Santana to Cleveland for Casey Blake and cash in July of 2008 in order to bolster the team during the final two months of the season. In 2009 he had a .280 batting average with 18 homeruns and 79 RBI.
Blake began to decline in 2010 and 2011. He only played in 63 games last season with the Dodgers, and his extreme rustiness spurred a strange elbow infection and a neck injury which he had subsequent surgery on. The 38-year old spent three stints on the DL, and his injury proneness impelled us to nickname him Rusty Anchor. Last season he hit .252 with only 4 homeruns and 26 RBI. He had 51 hits and 50 whiffs.
Yet Blaker had many memorable moments for the Dodgers. One such Blaker moment was during the 2009 NLDS vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. Casey drew a key walk from closer Ryan Franklin on a full count in the 9th inning during game two of the series. Matt Holliday had just bumbled Loney’s liner, and Blake seized the opportunity to rattle Franklin some more before Ronnie Belliard singled off the first pitch dealt to him by Franklin. Then flustered Franklin threw three balls in a row to Russell Martin, and the fourth pitch was a passed ball by Molina loading the bases up. Then we all know what happened next. Mark Loretta‘s game winning hit launched the Dodgers to victory and a 2-0 series lead.
Another magical Beard moment was the balk-off win he finagled against Arizona in May, 2010. With two outs in the ninth inning, Blake broke for home while on third base startling pitcher Esmerling Vasquez into a balk allowing the Dodgers to win 5-4 over the D-Backs at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers declined to offer Blake arbitration in late October. He had a $1.25 million buyout.
Casey plays well in Coors Field. He has a career .311 average in the mile-high city. He also hits lefties well, so if he stays healthy Colorado will have a good bat off the bench in Blake.
We’ll miss Blaker, that is until the first time he uses his cunning veteran tricks on us.