Willie Bloomquist Rumors

Minor MLB Transactions: 7/6/15

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • The Mariners have released utilityman Willie Bloomquist, the club announced (via MLB.com’s Greg Johns, on Twitter). Bloomquist was designated for assignment recently after a tough .159/.194/.174 start to the season. Seattle will owe the versatile defender the rest of his $3MM salary for the year.
  • The Red Sox outrighted right-hander Zeke Spruill after recently designating him, per a club announcement (h/t to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, via Twitter). As he’s never before been outrighted and has little service time, Spruill did not have the opportunity to elect free agency after clearing waivers. The 25-year-old will continue working at Triple-A, where he’s worked 53 1/3 innings with a 5.40 ERA with 3.9 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9 over 53 1/3 innings for Pawtucket.

Mariners Designate Willie Bloomquist

The Mariners have designated Willie Bloomquist for assignment, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. The utilityman will seemingly be replaced on the active roster by Chris Taylor.

Bloomquist, 37, has slashed just .159/.194/.174 over his 72 plate appearances on the year. He was playing out the second season of a two-year, $5.8MM deal signed before the 2014 campaign. Never a significant offensive contributor, Bloomquist at least managed to hit at near his career levels last year (.643 OPS on the season; .658 career).

His value, instead, lies in his defensive versatility. This year alone, Bloomquist has played at first, second, short, third, and both corner outfield spots. But with his production at the plate dropping so precipitously, Seattle obviously felt it was time for a move.


AL West Notes: Kazmir, Angels, Mariners, Correa

Athletics left-hander Scott Kazmir left today’s start against the Tigers with soreness in his throwing shoulder, and manager Bob Melvin told reporters after the game that Kazmir is undergoing an MRI (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Jane Lee). It’s not known at this time whether or not Kazmir will require a stint on the disabled list, but as an impending free agent and a potential trade target, that status of Kazmir is one that could have significant impact on storylines around the game in the coming months. To this point in the season, Kazmir has been brilliant, notching a 2.93 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 47.1 percent ground-ball rate in 58 1/3 inning. Kazmir is earning $11MM in the second and final season of a two-year, $22MM contract.

Here’s more from the AL West…

  • Following the Angels‘ trade for Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Marc Krauss could find himself headed back to Triple-A, but the team could also place Collin Cowgill on the disabled list, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Gonzalez’s notebook post looks at several roster situations for the Angels, including the team’s uncertain second base situation and the injury status of right-hander Mike Morin, who doesn’t sound to be returning anytime soon. Morin will miss “weeks, not days,” per manager Mike Scioscia.
  • The Mariners have been operating with a six-man bullpen for a couple of days as a means of delaying the need to make a decision on the team’s veterans, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Delaying a move by even a few days gave the Mariners time to further examine trade possibilities, Dutton notes, but they’ll soon need to add a reliever to the mix. Candidates include Lucas Luetge, Mayckol Guaipe and Kevin Gregg, though Gregg would require a 40-man roster move and force the team’s hand even sooner. Players currently at risk, Dutton writes, are Rickie Weeks, Willie Bloomquist, Justin Ruggiano and Dustin Ackley. It seems highly unlikely that the Mariners would do something as drastic as designating Ackley for assignment, but if they’re truly exploring trade possibilities, he’d likely have the most appeal of the four players listed by Dutton. One way to buy a bit more time would be to option Chris Taylor back to Triple-A to make room for a reliever that’s already on the 40-man roster.
  • Astros GM Jeff Luhnow tells Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle that there will be no second-guessing on when the team should have brought up top prospect Carlos Correa, regardless of how the season ends. Luhnow says that despite Correa’s gaudy numbers at Triple-A, he’s still benefiting from the time there, as he’s being exposed to more offspeed pitches than ever before and being forced to make adjustments within at-bats. Luhnow said that even in an extreme scenario such as missing the playoffs by one game, there would be too many factors — managerial moves, daily roster decisions, player performances — to say whether or not promoting Correa early would’ve altered the course of the season.


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.