According to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, Scott Boras said his client Willie Bloomquist is drawing “a lot of interest” on the free agent market. Yawn. I can’t recall the last time Boras didn’t say that about one of his clients, so the real interesting part of this story is how he ended up hitting free agency in the first place.
Bloomquist declined his portion of a $1.1 million mutual option earlier this week after the Diamondbacks exercised their half. It sounds like Boras had every intention of getting in touch with Diamondbacks about a new deal, but the two sides experienced some miscommunication in the days that followed, complete with a missed phone call from one of Boras’ assistants. As a result, the Diamondbacks signed John McDonald to a two-year, $3 million contract. Depending upon what happens with Aaron Hill and the health of Stephen Drew, Bloomquist may be fairly redundant as far as utility infielders go, which makes it fairly likely he’ll end up elsewhere.
This is probably more energy that Boras hopes to spend on a lower-profile client like Bloomquist, but it’s clear he’s not thrilled with how the situation played out.
“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.”
And it’s also fair to say that Boras is just emotional because things didn’t work out exactly as he planned. As someone named Omar (and no, not Minaya) once said, “It’s all in the game.”
Former Mets catcher Johnny Monell signed a contract with the KT Wiz of the Korea Baseball Organization, per a report by Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. The 30-year-old originally struck a deal with the NC Dinos on Thursday, but the deal appeared to fall through at the last minute, according to Cotillo’s unnamed source.
Monell last surfaced for the Mets during their 2015 run, batting a dismal .167/.231/.208 with two extra bases in 52 PA before the club DFA’d him to clear space for Bartolo Colon. While he’s had difficulty sticking at the major league level, he’s found a higher degree of success in the minor league circuit and holds a career .271 average over a decade of minor league play. He played exclusively in Triple-A Las Vegas during the 2016 season, slashing .276/.336/.470 with 19 home runs and a career-high 75 RBI in 461 PA.
The veteran backstop appears to be the second MLB player to join the KT Wiz roster this offseason, as right-hander Donn Roach also signed with the club last month on a one-year, $850,000 deal.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.