Tag:Willie Bloomquist
Posted on: June 17, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:49 pm

Pepper: New Marlins ballpark draws raves

Edwin Jackson and Daniel Hudson are facing each other for the first time following last season's trade. Danny Knobler joins Scott Braun to take a look at the impact this trade has had and also looks ahead to other compelling interleague matchups.

By Evan Brunell

NEW PARK: The Marlins took media on a tour of the new ballpark Thursday, and it's the first real look at what the park wil be revealed as. There was a prior visit in spring training, but the ballpark at that point was mostly a construction zone. Now, thousands of seats are installed, the foul poles are up and the view of the Florida skyline has drawn rave reviews.

One interesting note is that there will be minimal foul territory, with less than 10 feet between the poles and walls leading to each corner, which means fans will be close to the action. One wonders what effect this will have on park factors and if the park could be hitter friendly.

"That's the only foul territory," said Claude Delorme, executive vice president of ballpark development. "Basically, it's either in play or it's in the seats. Every seat is a really quality seat. … We have more seats in the upper deck of Sun Life than the total capacity of this ballpark."

The response for the new park has been impressive, with more full season tickets being sold for next season than ever in franchise history. President David Samson views this as a good thing "because people are buying the ballpark, not the product."

Color me unconvinced. At some point, fans are going to want to see a winning product and a payroll that doesn't look out of place in the NHL's capped league. (The NHL capped payroll in this just-concluded season at $59.4 million.) As every other team with a new park can tell you, there is an initial bump in attendance in the first year, but that quickly dissipates. The Marlins will have a big fight on their hands to retain their season-ticket holders, and if the present and past is any indication they will lose that fight. (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

: A Pittsburgh radio host declared that if the Pirates reached 34-34, he would wash the entire team's jock straps. The Pirates are now 35-33, so the milestone has been reached. Have fun, John Seibel! (Big League Stew)

: Before every homestand, Willie Bloomquist brings a child from the Phoenix Children's Hospital to a game, and Wednesday night's guest, Abe Spreck, predicted that Bloomquist would hit a home run. He of 14 career blasts in 780 career games. Bloomquist tried to tell Spreck, 14, how impossible it would be, but guess what happened? Yup. (Arizona Republic)

SPEAKING OF... Remember when there was a brouhaha a few days ago about Wrigley Field being a dump? Apparently that may not be too far off as word filters out that the rooftop establishments that allow extra seating for Cubs games are rarely inspected by health officials. Not good, but as one of these rooftop professionals quipped, "I think the only thing the people could get sick from is the way the Cubs play." (These establishments are not owned or operated by the Cubs.) (Chicago Tribune)

FORTUNATE 50: Sports Illustrated reveals its 50 most-paid American athletes for the year, and 17 baseball players landed on the list. The top five are Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia, Joe Mauer, Vernon Wells and Derek Jeter. No surprise that three Yankees are in the top five. (SI.com)

GLORIFIED DH: When Eric Hosmer sat on Thursday, it wasn't Billy Butler who took his place -- it was backup infielder Wilson Betemit. Manager Ned Yost conceded that Butler won't start any games in National League parks, which will reduce him to a pinch-hitter. Remind me again why it's OK to take away one of the team's best weapons, built specifically within the rules of the league, in exchange for having a pitcher walk up to the plate, take three half-hearted swings or lay down a sacrifice bunt that may or may not work? (Kansas City Star)

SLUGGISH SOX: The White Sox aren't performing well, and the Twins' recent run has the spotlight being shined squarely on Chicago as underperformers. Skipper Ozzie Guillen says there aren't any quick fixes to be had, though. (Chicago Tribune)

PITCHERS BAT EIGHTH: Manager Tony LaRussa is a big fan of batting pitchers eighth instead of ninth, although he doesn't do it on a regular basis. Nats manager Jim Riggleman recently made the switch and the team is 5-0 since. (Washington Post)

GUTHRIE HURT: Jeremy Guthrie was unable to come out for the sixth inning of Thursday's game after suffering a back strain. The injury has drawn concern given how Guthrie is so durable and adamant about pushing through adversity. He will undergo an MRI Friday. (Baltimore Sun)

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Posted on: April 4, 2011 5:30 pm

Cubs win in front of lowest attendance since '02

By Matt Snyder

Sure, there are outliers, but usually when you watch a game involving the Cubs and Wrigley Field, it's a rarity to see more than a few empty seats. As you can see from the background of the picture here, it was a veritable ghost town in Wrigley Monday afternoon.

The paid attendance was actually 26,292, so there were thousands and thousands of no-shows. The 47-degrees and 23 m.p.h wind likely contributed to the decisions of so many people to skip out on the game. Even so, the paid attedance was the lowest figure since September of 2002. (Paul Sullivan of Chicago Tribune via Twitter)

The few who did show up saw a Cubs victory. Randy Wells served up a home run to Willie Bloomquist to open the game, but the Diamondbacks didn't score again the rest of the game. A solo home run for Alfonso Soriano tied the game in the third and a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from Carlos Pena in the fourth tied it up. The Cubs added two insurance runs in the eighth before Carlos Marmol bounced back from Sunday's blown save to lock it down in the ninth. It took Marmol a second to get himself into gear, too. He walked the first batter he faced and then went 2-0 to Kelly Johnson. He then settled in and didn't allow a baserunner the rest of the way.

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Posted on: January 19, 2011 11:07 pm

D-Backs to pay Ransom

The eagle eyes at mlbtraderumors.com have spotted the Diamondbacks' signing of veteran utility guy Cody Ransom on a transactions page.

Does this seem like overkill to anyone else? Arizona signed baseball Swiss-army knife Willie Bloomquist less than a week ago, leaving their bench situation settled except for an already crowded battle for the final spot, with Tony Abreu, Cole Gillespie, Ryan Roberts, Brandon Allen, Wily Mo Pena and Collin Cowgill in the mix.

After batting .190 each of the past two seasons in limited action with the Yankees and Phillies, it's tough to see where Ransom is a major factor in that race. But presumably it's an inexpensive minor-league deal, and as they say, you can never have too much depth.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: January 13, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: January 13, 2011 4:21 pm

D-Backs to sign super sub Bloomquist

Willie Bloomquist
Jon Heyman of SI.com reports via Twitter that the Diamondbacks have agreed on a $1.05 million deal with utility man Willie Bloomquist or 2011 with a mutual option for 2012.

Bloomquist, 33, was traded from the Royals to the Reds in September and put up a combined 2010 line of .267/.299/.380. He's the ultimate utility player, having played every position on the field other than pitcher and catcher each of the past three years. He's not a big hitter (just 13 career homers in more than 2,000 plate appearances), but is a versatile defender and a speedy pinch-runner.

Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes that Arizona's bench is now likely to include catcher Henry Blanco, outfielder Gerardo Parra and primary infielders Bloomquist and Geoff Blum, with the final spot coming down to a battle between Tony Abreu, Cole Gillespie, Ryan Roberts, Brandon Allen, Wily Mo Pena and Collin Cowgill.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: September 13, 2010 2:52 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2010 4:23 pm

Reds acquire Bloomquist from KC

Willie Bloomquist
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports via Twitter that the Royals have traded utility man Willie Bloomquist to the Reds for cash or a player to be named later.

Bloomquist would not be eligible for Cincinnati's postseason roster, but the Reds apparently think they need an extra piece off the bench as they try to shake off a bumpy stretch and lock up the National League Central. Bloomquist is batting .265 with three homers and 17 RBI in 170 at-bats this season. He's a versatile veteran who can play anywhere on the field except catcher.

The Reds need bodies, as they are dealing with multiple injuries. Chris Heisey missed a game recently with a bothersome left biceps injury, and Orlando Cabrera hurt his left heel Sunday. Jay Bruce has been out since August 30 with pain in his side, and the Reds are hopeful he can return Tuesday.

Bloomquist is making $1.7 million in the second year of a two-year contract with the Royals. Prior to that he had played his entire career for Seattle, so this will be his first experience in the NL.

UPDATE: Bruce has been added to the lineup for the Reds' Monday night game against the Diamondbacks.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 25, 2010 5:56 pm

Bloomquist has last laugh

Willie Bloomquist
You had to do a double-take when the Royals posted their lineup Wednesday. Because the lineup was, in a word, laughable.

As pointed out by Tom Gage of the Detroit News, the entire nine-man lineup entered with a combined 21 home runs for the season. Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, on the other half of the lineup card, personally had 31.

But the most ridiculous part was Willie Bloomquist batting third. Seriously? The Royals are so bad Bloomquist is batting third for the first time in his career? Nice enough guy, but he's lucky to be in a big-league uniform.

He's one of the worst hitters in the majors, particularly against right-handed pitching (which, of course, was the situation Wednesday). His slash line against righties this season: .205/.221/.253, for an OPS of .474 -- .474 ! In 730 career major-league games over nine seasons, Bloomquist had 12 home runs.

Oops, make that 13. Naturally, Bloomquist came up in a tie game in the 12th inning and hit a solo homer against right-hander Alfredo Figaro. It was his fourth career home run against a right-hander.

Bloomquist went 2-for-6 and made a genius out of manager Ned Yost. Before the game, reporters asked Yost about the choice of Bloomquist in the three-hole. His response: "I guarantee you he'll get a couple of hits. You watch."

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: July 5, 2010 3:29 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 3:46 pm

Bench player Bloomquist attracting attention

Willie Bloomquist It's not often you hear of teams in demand for a backup player, but that's happened quite often so far in 2010.

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

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: June 21, 2010 6:52 pm

Yankees should look into getting backup infielder

Alex Rodriguez On Saturday, Derek Jeter sat out with a heel problem while Alex Rodriguez, recuperating from a sore hip, DH'ed.

That left Ramiro Pena (pictured talking to Rodriguez) at shortstop and Kevin Russo at third base.

Pena, 24, is hitting .190/.235/.206 on the season in 63 at-bats while Russo, 25, isn't much better with a .196/.260/.239 line. The Yankees, for their $206 million payroll, have gone cheap with backup bench infielders and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports feels the Yankees need to be on the hunt for better solutions.

While the squad isn't looking for help currently, Rosenthal looks ahead to September and thinks New York may need a body ready. With the AL East race as tight as it is, the Yankees may not be able to afford to rest him in September. As he's battling hip issues, he may be relegated to DH and Pena or Russo at third base for any length of time is not palatable. For Jeter's part, he's no spring chicken and is on pace for one of the poorest seasons in his career.

Rosenthal has trouble naming viable candidates, however. Omar Infante of the Braves and Macier Izturis of the Angels won't be available, while the Royals' Willie Bloomquist and Toronto's John McDonald don't represent a significant offensive upgrade. The same is true for Jayson Nix, recently designated for assignment by the White Sox. The Cubs' Ryan Theriot is a possibility if his slump continues, and Geoff Blum could be had -- except Blum has no recent extended time at short.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona, however, has said that Bloomquist is one of the best utility players in the game and Blum at the very least would be a solid option at third base.

In addition, the Milwaukee Brewers have Craig Counsell, who has the defense and the offense that could do well as a backup in New York. The Arizona Diamondbacks could dangle Augie Ojeda, although the 35-year-old is having a horrific season at the plate, albeit in just 30 at-bats.

The Yankees are expected to pursue a hitter as they near the trade deadline, but Rosenthal has it right: the team should be proactive and acquire a solid utility infielder to protect against any injury impacting the stretch drive. Sometimes, pennats are won and lost by the obsure players.

-- Evan Brunell

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com