It seems that the small spat between Scott Boras and the D-backs front office has been smoothed over, as, according to both MLB Network/NESN's Peter Gammons and CBS Sports' Scott Miller, Arizona has re-signed infielder Willie Bloomquist to a two-year deal worth a total of $3.8MM. Bloomquist's choice to opt out of his half of a mutual option worth $1.1MM was a brilliant one in the end, as he earned himself another $2.7MM in doing so. In the end, it seemed that the D-backs beat out the Giants for Bloomquist's services, as SI's Jon Heyman tweeted that both teams had offers out to Bloomquist as recently as last night.
Back in the latter parts of free agency last year, Bloomquist agreed to a one-year, $750,000 contract for 2011 with a mutual option for 2012 worth $1.1MM (with a $150,000 buyout that never came into play), seeming to fill the final slot on the D-backs roster for 2011. Bloomquist was a personal favorite of manager Kirk Gibson for what Jeff Sullivan beautifully described (a worthwhile read) as "The hustle. So much hustle." Early in the year, Bloomquist platooned with left fielder Gerardo Parra, getting off to a torrid April before cooling down for the rest of the season. Then, Stephen Drew's gruesome injury struck and the D-backs plugged Bloomquist into their everyday shortstop role, as well as the leadoff spot in the lineup, positions he held for the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs. Bloomquist hit .266/.317/.340 for Arizona in 2011, appearing in 97 games and, rather infamously, stealing 20 bases in 30 attempts.
Bloomquist's return is peculiar given the presence of infielders Ryan Roberts, Geoff Blum, and John McDonald already on the roster, as well as the hopeful return of injured shortstop Stephen Drew. There are quite a few ways to read into this move: 1) Drew's recovery status could be more tenuous than anybody is letting on, 2) the organization doesn't think it can rely on Blum to stay healthy and man third base for a full season, 3) the organization is worried about Roberts regressing, 4) the organization views some combination of Bloomquist, Roberts, Blum, and McDonald capable of manning two positions on the infield on any given day, or 5) the organization views Bloomquist as a possible fourth oufielder option. As with last year's roster, we'll simply have to wait until the regular season begins to figure out what role Bloomquist will have with the D-backs.
Another point worth mentioning is that GM Kevin Towers recently opined that the club might not have room for both Bloomquist and Aaron Hill on the roster should Hill return. It's quite possible that the signing of Bloomquist is an indication that the club's offer to Hill - which reportedly had a deadline - is no longer on the table and the team is looking for other ways to fill that role. What that means for the D-backs 2012 infield alignment - and, of course, for Hill - will be worth following in the coming weeks.