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.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.