Willie Bloomquist Rumors

Mariners Sign Willie Bloomquist

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).


Mariners Close To Deal With Willie Bloomquist

11:44am: Bloomquist's deal is expected to be a two-year pact in the $5-6MM range, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter).

10:49am: The Mariners are nearing a deal with free agent utility player Willie Bloomquist, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter).

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.

A deal with Seattle would be 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.

This post was originally published on Dec. 2, 2013.


West Links: Washington, Berkman, Astros, D-Backs

It's time for a managerial change in Arlington, opines ESPN's David Schoenfield, who breaks down Rangers manager Ron Washington's questionable bullpen management over the past week. Schoenfield concedes that the Rangers have had poor luck this season, including injuries to Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis' failure to return. However, he ultimately concludes: "…a team with flaws can't win if its manager is making decisions that hurt its chances of winning. The Rangers have seven games remaining. I suspect they'll be the final seven games Washington manages for the Rangers."

Here's more out of baseball's Western divisions…

  • Lance Berkman hasn't decided if he will retire after the season or try to play again in 2014, he told Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle. Whatever Puma decides, no announcement will come until after the season.
  • The Astros have secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft, and unsurprisingly they're already looking at NC State lefty Carlos Rodon, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart. Rodon has long been assumed to be the No. 1 pick in next year's draft. Houston has selected Stanford right-hander Mark Appel and Puerto Rican prep shortstop Carlos Correa with the previous two No. 1 selections. McTaggart spoke with scouting director Mike Elias about the team's approach to the draft.
  • The emergence of Chris Owings leaves the Diamondbacks with uncertainty at shortstop, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. GM Kevin Towers would like to get playing time for both Owings and Didi Gregorius but knows that a time-share will hinder both players' development. As Piecoro points out, Arizona also has Cliff Pennington under contract for next season. Willie Bloomquist, a free agent, isn't likely to return to the Snakes, he adds.


Quick Hits: Span, White Sox, Soriano

The Phillies acquired Hunter Pence from the Astros for prospects Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and Josh Zeid and a player to be named later on this date last year. Here are the latest links as we look forward to yet another busy trade deadline…


West Notes: Upton, Colon, Bloomquist, Billingsley

Colorado is the epicenter of scouting activity this afternoon as Cole Hamels starts against the Rockies. The Angels, Dodgers, and Rangers are scouting the Phillie left-hander, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (Twitter links). The Tigers are on hand taking a look at Marco Scutaro, tweets Tracy Ringolsby of Root Sports.  Here's the rest of the news from the AL and NL West with the most recent up top:


NL West Notes: D’Backs, Barmes, Darvish, Dodgers

The Diamondbacks finalized a new deal with Willie Bloomquist today and the move has had an impact for at least two NL West teams. Here are the details.


D’Backs, Bloomquist Reach Two-Year Agreement

The Diamondbacks reached a two-year agreement worth $3.8MM with utility man Willie Bloomquist, reports Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.  Peter Gammons was first to report the deal on Twitter.  Bloomquist had reached free agency by declining his side of a mutual option on November 1st.

A deal between the D'Backs and Bloomquist's agent Scott Boras seemed unlikely a few days ago, when Boras and GM Kevin Towers debated who owed who a phone call.  Boras explained to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic on Saturday, "It sounds to me like what happened is, they got upset when Willie opted out. They got emotional and they went out and signed a guy who hit .169."

Boras was taking a shot at John McDonald, another utility infielder who the D'Backs re-signed to a two-year deal earlier this month.  Towers has been generous with such role player multiyear contracts, as Geoff Blum was inked to a two-year deal a year ago.  The Diamondbacks are well-covered in case Stephen Drew is still recovering from July ankle surgery when the season begins.  They're also covered if they are not able to sign Aaron Hill, leaving an opening for a second base platoon.

Bloomquist, 33, hit .266/.317/.340 in 381 plate appearances this year, playing mostly shortstop and left field.  The Giants had also made an offer to him this month. 


NL West Notes: Bloomquist, Giants, Dodgers

The Rockies are interested in Kevin Millwood, Rich Harden and Bruce Chen and the Diamondbacks have signed Chris Jakubauskas. Here are some more news items from the NL West as the offseason continues…

  • The Diamondbacks and Willie Bloomquist had a miscommunication over the weekend, but the club hasn’t given up on re-signing the utility player, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter). The sides had dialogue Sunday and Monday, according to Piecoro.
  • The Giants are a possibility for Bloomquist, according to Yahoo’s Tim Brown (on Twitter).
  • Former MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth said he’s not currently interested in buying the Dodgers, according to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times. Ueberroth has led bids for the Dodgers and Angels in the past.

Willie Bloomquist Drawing Interest

According to agent Scott Boras, Willie Bloomquist is drawing "a lot of interest" on the free agent market, writes Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Boras says Bloomquist may sign with a club that considers the 33-year-old more than just a utility player.

Bloomquist's chances of returning to Arizona next season are looking slimmer, however. The two sides experienced a communication breakdown after Bloomquist declined his half of a mutual option. The D'Backs have since inked John McDonald to a two-year deal as a utility infielder and are hoping to retain Aaron Hill as well, meaning there may not be room in the infield for Bloomquist. The D'Backs and Boras talked to Piecoro about the miscommunication:

"I don't think it's up to us to lob a call," GM Kevin Towers said. "We exercised our end [of the mutual option]. We showed we wanted the player back. By exercising the option, we're pretty much saying, 'We'd like to have the player back.' By them declining, it's like, 'We don't want to come back at what you want us at.' Then, well, what do you want?"

Boras, meanwhile, said that when he turned down the option, he sent a letter to the D'Backs conveying his client's desire to return, and had been waiting for a call from the team.

"Is it our duty to be in touch with them every hour on the hour so we know nobody else signed?" Boras said. "When you want someone, you go get them. We're not the employer. They offer the contracts and pay the money. We don't…. It sounds to me like what happened is, they got upset when Willie opted out. They got emotional and they went out and signed a guy who hit .169."


NL West Notes: Padres, Giants, Blanco

The Dodgers will soon be up for sale, since owner Frank McCourt has agreed to part with the club. Click here for details on the Dodgers and keep reading for more notes from the NL West…

  • Padres GM Josh Byrnes has interviewed candidates for front office openings and may announce an assistant GM soon, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune
  • It appears that the Giants are more likely to spend on a center fielder than a shortstop like Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently suggested Coco Crisp, Grady Sizemore and David DeJesus could be options for San Francisco this offseason.
  • Though 40-year-old catcher Henry Blanco declined his side of the mutual option he had with the Diamondbacks, the sides are discussing a new deal, according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (Twitter links). Blanco “should be back” on a new contract that will likely include an option for 2013.
  • The D’Backs remain interested in Willie Bloomquist, according to Magruder. The utility player also declined his side of the mutual option he had with the Diamondbacks