The Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday that they’ve hired Willie Bloomquist as a special assistant to president and CEO Derrick Hall, where he’ll contribute both to the business and baseball operations side of the organization. In his new role, Bloomquist, who announced his retirement as a player earlier this spring, will attend community events, meeti with corporate partners, interact with season ticket-holders, assist in Spring Training workouts and visit with the club’s Minor League affiliates over the course of the season. Bloomquist expressed excitement over once again being part of the D-backs organization, stating in a press release: “In my 14 seasons in MLB, this is where I feel I played my best baseball and made some of my fondest memories as a player. With the leadership this organization has in place, I am excited for what the future holds and am eager to do my part in helping make this a championship caliber organization and fulfill the goal of being World Series champions.” In parts of 14 MLB seasons, Bloomquist batted .269/.316/.342 and logged at least 200 innings at every position except catcher and pitcher.
Elsewhere in the NL West…
- Padres bullpen coach Doug Bochtler, who helped former teammate Trevor Hoffman and former AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana refine their changeups, calls Fernando Rodney’s changeup one of the best he’s ever seen, writes Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune. While Rodney struggled tremendously in 2015, he’s off to an excellent start in 2016, displaying the same 96 mph heat he’s long been known for and showing renewed dominance with his changeup, yielding just a .080 average and generating a career-best 28.7 percent swinging-strike rate with the pitch. Rodney’s deal comes with just a $1.6MM base salary but allows him to earn up to $5MM this season based on appearances and games finished, Lin writes, and whatever incentives he earns in 2016 are tacked onto the value of next season’s club option (which has a $2MM base).
- Nick Groke of the Denver Post spoke to Rockies farm director Zach Wilson, who said that the club doesn’t have a timeline for the promotion of some of its most promising young arms. As Groke writes, the club has, in the past, rushed pitchers such as Eddie Butler to the Majors out of necessity, but there’s no plan to repeat that mistake with the likes of right-hander Jeff Hoffman, left-hander Kyle Freeland and others. Groke provides a rundown of seven of the organization’s top minor league arms, with quotes from Wilson on many of them.
- The Giants aren’t close to shaking up their rotation yet, writes Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. While both Matt Cain and Jake Peavy have struggled tremendously this season, Schulman writes that club officials believe the experience of Peavy and Cain still gives them the best chance to win. However, Schulman also notes that there are some internal steps being taken that could eventually lead to rotation shuffling if neither starter can prove to be competitive on a regular basis; right-hander Joan Gregorio and left-hander Andrew Suarez have each been promoted (to Triple-A and Double-A, respectively), while 2014 first-rounder Tyler Beede has impressed thus far at Double-A. The Giants would like to see Chris Heston, who made 95 pitches in his latest outing, deliver consecutive starts in the vicinity of 100 pitches before considering him as a rotation option, Schulman adds. It’s worth noting, too, that while Peavy was again hit hard last night, Cain just minutes ago completed the eighth inning of an excellent start (two runs, six hits, no walks, seven strikeouts) against a very strong Blue Jays lineup.