This is the second Willie Bloomquist article on the front page of Baseball Nation in two days. We're not obsessed. Just thorough. Certainly not obsessed. Maybe entranced is a better word. Jeff Sullivan put it perfectly just a handful of hours ago:
The modern generation of internet baseball fans is one trained to favor productivity over hustle and effort and general balls-to-the-wall-ness, so Willie Bloomquist has long been one of the faces of the enemy. When I say "enemy," I don't mean that to represent people we want dead; I mean that to represent the players over whom we have the biggest differences of opinion with the old guard.
And today, Willie Bloomquist signed a contract. It was a guaranteed contract. It was a multi-year guaranteed contract. And now this is a chance to dig into what this means, which is what we have to do. Willie Bloomquist is the trending topic in the baseball-nerd Twitter feed of our mind.
The first thing to figure out is why there was a bidding war for Bloomquist. SI's Jon Heyman started the frenzy by intimating that the Giants were hot-'n'-heavy on him. Bloomquist. Not Heyman. The Giants are lukewarm on Heyman, probably because he broke the shameful Giants-and-Bloomquist rumor. It turned out that the Diamondbacks were worried about this extra interest, and it made them go for that second year.
willie bloomquist has agreed with the #dbacks for $3.8M over 2 yrs, as @ScottMCBSSports said. sfgiants were i mix. (sic)
Two teams fighting. One team left the steel-cage match. Bloomquist took a pay cut to sign with the Diamondbacks before 2011, making $750,000. He had the Willie Bloomquistest season ever -- hitting .266/.317/.340 to his career averages of .264/.317/.337. Now that's consistency. And it got him the biggest contract of his career.
But what does it mean, dang it? From Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness:
Maybe this is going to be an offseason like we haven’t seen in years, where the numbers tossed around are so insane that even the lower-tier guys are going to get lifted up.
It means the money's-a-flowin'. Think about the players who have signed so far. Chien-Ming Wang signed for $4 million. Juan Rivera signed for $4.5 million. Ryan Madson was likely offered a deal for $11 million per season.
Middle relievers? The Giants picked up a $5 million option for their second lefty in the pen, Jeremy Affeldt. They might have seen the storm approaching. Looks like anyone who is competent out of a bullpen will be paid.
Average starters? Wang threw 62 average innings last year, and he's making millions. Looks like anyone south of Edwin Jackson is still getting rich this offseason.
One-dimensional corner outfielders? Juan Rivera wasn't exactly special for the Dodgers after coming over in a pointless trade, but he was their first priority in the offseason, lest other teams start sniffing around.
Willie Bloomquist was the final piece of evidence. Dude got a two-year deal to keep him away from other teams. He's the free-agent canary in the marketplace coal mine -- this market is about to go insane. It seemed like a possibility early in the offseason. But I didn't know until this day ... that it was Bloomquist all along.