It’s been a while since Willie Bloomquist has played in any meaningful games, but he’s going to be in the middle of a pennant race for the final 19 games of the season after the Port Orchard native was traded to the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds leads the St. Louis Cardinals by six games in the NL Central.
If the Reds reach the postseason, Bloomquist won’t be eligible because he was acquired after the Aug. 31 trade deadline.
Kansas City announced the trade before Monday afternoon’s game against Oakland. Bloomquist was traded for either cash or a player to be named later.
The former Mariners utility player signed with the Kansas City Royals two years ago. He set career highs in most offensive categories a year ago after starting 105 games for the Royals. He found himself back in his utility role this season with the Royals. He’s hitting .265 in 179 at-bats. He played in 72 games. He was hitting .302 over his final 52 games.
Even when Bloomquist was with Seattle (2002-2008), everybody always said he would be better off in the National League, where a versatile player like him could be used in a number of roles on a daily basis. The NL does not have a designated hitter and manager’s tend to use their rosters more because of the need for pinch-hitters and pinch-runners.
Bloomquist, 32, is in the final two years of a $3.1 million contract and will be a free agent. While he won’t be eligible for the postseason, at least he’ll have a chance to show the Reds and the rest of the National League what he can do over the final 19 games.
I caught up with Willie earlier this season when the Royals were in Seattle to play the Mariners. Among the topics we discussed was his desire to give the sport of bobsled a shot when he retires. You can read that story here.
Here’s a blogger who doesn’t see why the Reds acquired Bloomquist.
ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer has a similar take on the deal.
Bloomquist has clearly become the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, the only people he seems to please are the managers he plays for. The analysts and outsiders have never given, or ever will, give Bloomquist respect. Call me a homer, whatever, but the guy is a valuable addition to a major-league roster. When he gets regular at-bats, he produces. And how many guys can play seven positions, and play them all well.
Dick Kaegel , who covers the Royals for MLB.com, points out that Bloomquist was hitting .355 with runners on base (27-for-76) and that the nine-year veteran was a positive influence on the younger players on KC’s roster.