Last offseason Willie Bloomquist returned to Seattle for a second stint with the Mariners, signing a two-year, $5.8 million deal that seemed like a clear over-pay for a 36-year-old, career-long utility man.
He hit like his usual self in a part-time role last season, posting a .643 OPS while missing time with a knee injury, but after batting .159 in 35 games this season the Mariners decided to cut bait. Bloomquist has been designated for assignment to make room for Chris Taylor’s return from Triple-A.
This is the 14th season in which Bloomquist has spent at least some time in the majors, which is amazing considering he’s a career .269 hitter with a .658 OPS who received more than 350 plate appearances just twice (2009, 2011) and never cracked a .750 OPS.
Given how well-liked Bloomquist seemed to be by both teammates and media members a career in coaching or broadcasting probably awaits him, but it’s possible he’ll try to latch on somewhere at Triple-A to keep playing.
Philadelphia signed Aaron Harang to eat innings this season and his arm has remained healthy enough to make a league-high 17 starts, but a foot injury has sent the 37-year-old right-hander to the disabled list.
Harang has been shut down with plantar fasciitis, which is a potentially ugly injury that tends to linger. He’s done his job for the Phillies, taking the mound every fifth day and posting a decent 4.08 ERA while soaking up losses on a bad team, although his performance slipped recently.
Harang signed a one-year, $5 million deal, so the injury puts a dent into whatever slim chance the Phillies had of trading him for a semi-competent prospect before July 31.
Chad Billingsley, who had been on the disabled list, replaces Harang in the rotation.
Giants right-hander Matt Cain is off the disabled list and will make his 2015 debut today against the Marlins, returning from ankle and elbow surgeries to start for the first time in nearly one year.
Cain last started on July 9, 2014, when he was shut down with a 2-7 record and 4.18 ERA in his second straight disappointing season. He made four minor-league rehab starts–three of them at Triple-A–and posted a 4.19 ERA with a strong 19/5 K/BB ratio in 19 innings to convince the Giants he’s ready to return.
Tim Lincecum is headed to the disabled list after being hit in the arm by a line drive, clearing the path for Cain to reclaim his rotation spot. Cain is making $20 million this season and is owed $20 million in both 2016 and 2017, plus a $21 million option or $7.5 million buyout for 2018. That contract combined with his strong pre-2013 track record and Lincecum’s struggles mean the Giants are very much counting on Cain being a big contributor in the second half.