The Mariners have been connected to a number of the biggest names on the market this offseason, but their first move was a smaller signing that will give new manager Lloyd McClendon some additional versatility off the bench. Seattle officially announced a two-year signing of Willie Bloomquist on Thursday. His deal reportedly guarantees him a total of $5.8MM.
Bloomquist, a client of Scott Boras, batted .317/.360/.367 without a homer or stolen base in 139 plate appearances for the Diamondbacks in 2013. Bloomquist has spent the past three seasons in Arizona, batting a combined .289/.328/.368 with four homers — all of which came back in 2011. The 36-year-old served as a Swiss army knife for manager Kirk Gibson, playing shortstop, second base, third base, left field and right field in his time with the D-Backs.
This contract is a homecoming for Bloomquist in multiple ways. Bloomquist is a Washington native and also spent the first seven seasons of his big league career in Seattle after being selected by the M's in the third round of the 1999 draft.
The signing of Bloomquist figures to be a minor move in what should be a busy offseason for the Mariners. Seattle is reportedly seeking two impact bats, a starter and a closer. They've been linked to big fish like Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz thus far on the offensive side of things, while names like Grant Balfour and Brian Wilson have drawn the Mariners' interest in their search for a closer.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported that the two sides were close to a deal (on Twitter), and Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic was the first to report Bloomquist would earn $5-6MM (also via Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to report the agreement and the $5.8MM guarantee (Twitter links).