Cornering the market on scrappiness, Diamondbacks sign Willie Bloomquist

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Geoff Blum apparently didn’t fill new general manager Kevin Towers’ “scrappy utility infielder” quota for the offseason, so Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Diamondbacks have signed Willie Bloomquist to a one-year, $1.05 million deal with a mutual option for 2012.

That means Diamondbacks fans will now be treated to months of newspaper articles and announcer-speak about how Bloomquist longs to be an everyday player and brings much more to the table than his numbers suggest.

Meanwhile, he got a chance to play regularly for the Royals in 2009 and hit .265/.308/.355 in 468 plate appearances for a 97-loss team and his .653 career OPS ranks eighth-worst among all active players with at least 2,000 plate appearances ahead of only Juan Castro, John McDonald, Cesar Izturis, Adam Everett, Nick Punto, Willy Taveras, and Alex Cora.

On the other hand, he’s surely among the MLB leaders in “scrappiness” during that same time frame.

Nathan Eovaldi to make 2018 debut for Rays soon

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Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.

Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.

When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.

The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.