They signed Blake to a one-year, $6.1 million deal in February to avoid arbitration. No one is going to starve on that kind of money, but the key to the deal was its length, not its monetary value.
If the Indians wanted Blake to stick around past 2008, they could have added a club option for 2009. A one-year deal, however, carries a different meaning.
"I was hoping for something [multiyear] because I like it here," Blake said, "but my gut feeling was they'd do a one-year deal. They've got a lot of issues to deal with -- C.C. and some other things."
This is not to say the Indians won't re-sign Blake after this year. But would it be as a 35-year-old third baseman or as a utility player? The Indians still don't know if Andy Marte is a big-league third baseman, but prospect Wes Hodges has been impressive and Beau Mills, last year's No.§1 pick, can play third.
In Sabathia's situation, free agency may look like a shining path paved with stones of gold. Blake, who spent seven years bouncing from Toronto to Minnesota to Baltimore and back to Minnesota before getting a chance in Cleveland, knows the great unknown isn't always that great.
"I don't know if I get too excited about free agency," Blake said. "I'm familiar with this organization, they're familiar with me. They know what they have in me as a player.
"I like loyalty in this game. I'm not a huge fan of guys bouncing around from team to team, but you have to do what you have to do sometimes."