Diamondbacks re-sign Willie Bloomquist to two-year deal

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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.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉