The Red Sox, Phillies, Tigers, Yankees, among other teams, need backup infield help which is like music to the ears of a team such as the Royals, who have Willie Bloomquist as a viable backup.
Bloomquist has a leg up over other versatile backup infielders such as Ty Wigginton by virtue of the fact he's simply not as good as Wigginton. That's not to say Bloomquist is terrible -- he can play multiple positions adequately. His bat won't nab him any Silver Sluggers, but it's adequate enough for someone in his position. The case for Bloomquist is also bolstered by his speed. He stole 25 bases in 2009 over 486 plate appearances.
Despite the .243/.288/.392 line on the season, he's hitting .368 in the past six weeks with 38 at-bats to his name.
"I’m not advocating Willie going anywhere," manager Ned Yost told the Kansas City Star , finding Bloomquist too valuable. "I can’t tell you how valuable he is. He’s at the top of his position. I can’t think of another super-utility player who is as good as Willie outside of maybe Jamey Carroll [of the Dodgers].
"[Bloomquist] gives you a great at-bat," Yost continued. "You can pinch-run him. You can double-switch him. Once you get him in the game, you can move him around. There’s just so much you can do with a player like Willie."
Bloomquist is also very affordable as he would cost just $850,000 if acquired. It works both ways, however, as Kansas City wouldn't be desperate to deal the utility infielder for financial reasons. One thing that may push KC into swapping him is the fact he is a free agent after the year and won't bring back any draft-pick compensation.
"It’s kind of fun to hear you name [in trade rumors] once in a while," Bloomquist said of all the speculation. "It shows that people still know who you are. If there’s some interest in you, that’s not a bad thing. That means people like you, and you’re doing something right."
That's certainly true, if contending clubs with World Series aspirations are casting an eye towards Bloomquist.
One team to watch out for is the Red Sox. In years past, Boston has not had a true utilityman but has found Bill Hall working wonders for the squad this year. Manager Terry Francona has fallen in love with the flexibility Hall offers. With all the injuries suffered in Beantown, adding a second utilityman would free up a lot of pressure to bring up a specific player who can play a specific position. Even if Bloomquist doesn't end up in Boston, they figure to give him a call once free agency starts.
-- Evan Brunell
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