Here’s a look at the free agent market for third basemen:
Rich Aurilia (37)
Casey Blake (35)
Hank Blalock (28) – $6.2MM club option for ’09 with a $0.25MM buyout
Willie Bloomquist (31)
Aaron Boone (36)
Russell Branyan (33)
Craig Counsell (38)
Joe Crede (31)
Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Wes Helms (33) – $3.75MM club option for ’09
Chipper Jones (37) – $8-11MM vesting option for ’09
Mark Loretta (37)
Fernando Tatis (34)
Ramon Vazquez (32)
Jones won’t hit the market. Blalock and Crede have health issues, while the others would be stretched as starters. Except for Casey Blake. He’s the best free agent option at third base.
Blake, 35, is hitting .282/.351/.480 in 560 plate appearances this year. He’s not much defensively, making eight fewer plays than the average third baseman this year. He’s about average at fielding bunts.
Blake is earning $6.1MM this year. Perhaps he will receive a two-year deal in the $15MM range. The Indians told Blake to keep them in mind, but he hasn’t made any decisions yet. He should have plenty of suitors, possibly including the Twins, A’s, Brewers, Dodgers, and Giants. Blake can also play first base and right field, expanding his options.