Whatever bad blood there was between agent Scott Boras and the Diamondbacks over the Willie Bloomquist situation was short-lived, as Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reports that Arizona has re-signed the veteran utility man to a two-year, $3.8 million contract.
Boras said earlier this week that the Diamondbacks were upset with Bloomquist for declining his half of a $1.1 million mutual option for 2012, so they acted quickly to re-sign fellow utility man John McDonald to a two-year deal instead. Or as Boras put it: “They got emotional and they went out and signed a guy who hit .169.”
Now that “guy who hit.169” is Bloomquist’s teammate again.
And ultimately Bloomquist was obviously smart to decline the $1.1 million option, because he got a 72 percent salary bump and an extra year of guaranteed money at age 34. Must have been the .657 OPS.
Bloomquist was pushed into regular action at shortstop this year because of Stephen Drew’s injury, but the plan for 2012 likely involves him filling a more typical bench role. McDonald is now somewhat redundant, although his value is almost strictly from middle infield defense whereas Bloomquist is at least a somewhat useful hitter and will be used all over the diamond. Still, that’s a lot of money to invest in a pair of banjo-hitting mid-30s utility men.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.