Blake Gets $6.1 Million Contract

Casey Blake

Indians third baseman Casey Blake received a significant raise Friday, signing a one-year contract for a reported $6.1 million. The 34-year-old had earned $3.75 million in 2007, when he hit .270 with 18 homers and 78 RBI. Blake asked for $6.9 million and the club countered with a $5.4 million offer. The two sides essentially split the difference and avoided going to an arbitration hearing.

The Indians have not gone to arbitration with any player in 18 years, since enduring the process with left-hander Greg Swindell and outfielder Jerry Browne in 1991.

Signed as a minor-league free agent in 2002 after years of bouncing through the Toronto, Baltimore and Minnesota systems, Blake has compiled a .264 average with 105 homers and 359 RBI in 716 games over five seasons in Cleveland.

He played two years at third base for Cleveland before being asked to switch to right field in 2004 after the ballclub signed free-agent third baseman Aaron Boone. He began the 2007 season as a first baseman, but by the end of April took over at third when young Andy Marte struggled and then was sidelined with a hamstring injury.

From May 4 through June 18, Blake hit safely in 39 of 42 games, including 26 in a row, the longest streak in the majors for the season. His walkoff homer gave Cleveland a 6-5 win in 11 innings over rival Detroit on Sept. 17 that all but eliminated the Tigers as the Indians claimed the AL Central Division title.

He was one of Cleveland's hottest hitters during the seven-game loss to Boston in the AL Championship Series, batting .346 (9-for-26) with one homer.

CASEY BLAKE IN 2007 & MLB CAREER TOTALS

Team G AB H AVG HR RBI SB BB SO
Indians 156 588 159 .270 18 78 4 54 123
MLB Totals 765 2768 726 .262 107 366 29 259 613

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