- The Giants offered Bloomquist a two-year deal worth more than $3.8MM before he re-signed in Arizona, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter). San Francisco’s offer was worth $4.6MM over two years, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown. The D’Backs remain interested in Aaron Hill.
- The Giants are looking for a shortstop as a fallback for Brandon Crawford, according to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter). Baggarly notes that some Giants coaches are big fans of free agent Clint Barmes.
- Brad Lefton of the New York Times explains the origins of the posting system MLB teams use to bid on Japanese players. Within the piece, Lefton reports that the Diamondbacks scouted Yu Darvish this past season.
- Not surprisingly, the Dodgers won't be able to bid on free agents such as Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols until the team is sold, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- The Rockies will consider pursuing Roy Oswalt, according to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding.
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.
- 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.
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."
- 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,
The D'Backs announced that they exercised their sides of the mutual options for Henry Blanco and Willie Bloomquist, while declining their team options for Zach Duke and Aaron Hill (Twitter link). However, Bloomquist has declined his side of the mutual option and would like to work out a longer deal, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (on Twitter).
Blanco's option is worth $1.15MM and includes a $250K buyout. It's not yet clear whether he'll return to Arizona for a second season. In 112 plate appearances in 2011, the 14-year veteran posted a .250/.330/.540 line with eight home runs. Bloomquist's option was worth $1.1MM. The 33-year-old played left field, shortstop and second base in 2011, while posting a .266/.317/.340 battling line in 381 plate appearances.
Hill posted an .878 OPS with the D'Backs after struggling in Toronto for a combined season line of .246/.299/.356. Though the D'Backs would like him back, his $8MM option was too much for GM Kevin Towers' liking. Hill's contract also included an $8MM team option for 2013. Duke posted a 4.93 ERA with 3.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 76 2/3 innings, so there was no doubt that the team would decline its $5.5MM club option in favor of the $750K buyout.
- Dan Hayes of the North County Times cites a Padres team source who doubts that Aaron Harang will be back with the team in 2012 (Twitter link). Hayes says that right now, it's not clear if Harang's $5MM mutual option was rejected by either side yet.
- The Diamondbacks are expected to exercise their half of the mutual options they hold on Willie Bloomquist and Henry Blanco, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.
- Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times notes that the Dodgers lead the Majors with 10 pending free agents. Dilbeck says that the club is looking to go young behind the plate next year, and doesn't expect to offer arbitration to Type B free agent Rod Barajas.
Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers spoke to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic yesterday. Highlights:
- Towers would like to bring back second baseman Aaron Hill, but not at his option prices of $8MM for each of the 2012 and '13 seasons. The 29-year-old hit .315/.386/.492 in 142 plate appearances for Arizona, his first stint in the National League. He's represented by Beverly Hills Sports Council, as our Agency Database shows.
- Towers is "leaning toward" exercising Willie Bloomquist's $1.1MM mutual option and will "probably" pick up a $1.15MM mutual option on catcher Henry Blanco. Piecoro expects both players back, so these might be rare cases where both sides exercise their end of mutual options.
- The GM is undecided on whether to tender a contract to lefty Joe Saunders, depending on whether he thinks the team's young starters are ready. Saunders is due a raise on this year's $5.5MM salary, which we'll dig into later this week here at MLBTR. Towers believes the team has the payroll space for both Hill and Saunders, if that's the route he chooses. I think Saunders will be tendered a contract, since he'd have some trade value.
- Left fielder Gerardo Parra's possible Super Two status is "too close to call right now," said Towers. As of August 23rd, a source told me the cutoff appeared to be two years and 145 days of service, which is the exact amount Parra has.
- Towers seeks a bat to complement first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and Piecoro thinks that might mean re-signing Lyle Overbay.
- Towers feels that the Diamondbacks' pitching staff is in "pretty good shape." The GM doesn't see "big, big" offseason needs, though he won't rule out a run at the "right kind of marquee guy."
The tightest division race in the National League is happening out west, where the Diamondbacks have taken a two-game lead over the Giants on the strength of five straight wins. ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider link) likens Arizona to a No. 14 seed in an NCAA tournament, holding a lead late in the game and gaining confidence that they can pull off an upset. Here are this morning's notes from around the NL West:
- The D'Backs didn't go out and acquire a replacement for Stephen Drew when he fractured his ankle, and Willie Bloomquist is making the decision look good, writes Olney. Since Drew's injury, Bloomquist is hitting .295/.349/.423 as the team's regular shortstop.
- J.C. Romero tells Troy Renck of the Denver Post that his friend LaTroy Hawkins had good things to say about the Rockies' organization, which pushed the lefty toward Colorado. Romero will throw a bullpen and take a physical today, and could be added to the Rockies' roster if both go well.
- Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times wonders what's next for the Dodgers' Casey Blake, who is "not the least interested in calling it a career" and "has no desire in going out on some injury-riddled, less-than-fulfilling season," according to Dilbeck.
- The Athletics have called up two former members of NL West clubs, both of whom were involved in trades earlier this season, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Brandon Allen, formerly of the Diamondbacks, and Bruce Billings, acquired from the Rockies in the Mark Ellis deal, will join the A's for today's game.
Updates to a few recently completed contracts…
- John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer has the breakdown of Joey Votto's new contact with the Reds. The reigning NL MVP will earn $5.5MM in 2011 and $9.5MM in 2012 before jumping up to $17MM in 2013. His $6MM signing bonus will be paid out between now and 2014.
- MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports that Takashi Saito has a clause in his contract stipulating that the Brewers must release him after the 2011 season. That prevents the team from offering him arbitration if he qualifies as a Type-A free agent.
- Jim Thome's deal with the Twins includes a boatload of incentives, reports Joe Christensen of The Star Triibune. The slugger will earn $200K for 200 plate appearances, and $300K each for 300, 350, and 400 plate appearances.
- Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com tweets that Willie Bloomquist's contract with the Diamondbacks will pay him $900K in 2011. It also includes a mutual option for 2012 worth $1.1MM.
- MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets that Austin Kearns' contract with the Indians contains incentives tied to plate appearances. He'll earn $50K each for 400, 425, 475, and 500 plate appearances.
- ESPN's Jayson Stark put together a list of the offseason's most creative contract clauses.