Willie Bloomquist, starting second baseman
I’d like to apologize for our recent position roundtable where we discussed the second base position as if it was Jose Lopez’s. This was so obvious that we didn’t even take time to dismiss the position battle. After all, given every opportunity to start regularly, Bloomquist has been an abject failure, and Lopez, even if he didn’t improve at all from last year, would help the team much more.
Nope! From Larry LaRue’s column:
Now appearing in a starting lineup near you, Willie Bloomquist.
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s done everything anyone has ever asked, playing seven positions over the past four years, and three managers have loved having him on their bench. What the 28-year-old Bloomquist brings to the Mariners is more than a dial-a-glove reserve.
Hargrove says Bloomquist is the best base runner on the team, and Bob Melvin said he was a player who made things happen when he did play.
The rap on Bloomquist has always been that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s impatient at the plate, better when used in short spurts than as a regular player. That theory has never fully been tested, and last year he started 64 games Ã¢â‚¬â€œ no more than 29 at any position.
Second base is wide open this spring. For the first time in his career, Bloomquist goes to camp as the frontrunner to win a regular job.
I’m not going to get into the specific things that are wrong here — I’ve debunked all the Bloomquist myths at length here and in other spaces (Bloomquist is a good baserunner, when he gets on base, which is rarely), and the myth that he’s “never been tested” as a starter is clearly hokum.
What’s important, though, is that Blooquist starting is even open for speculation. I understand that the team doesn’t want to slag on their popular, newly-signed local boy by saying he’s much better suited as a 25th man on the roster – or even subbing in frequently – then starting anywhere on the field. That they aren’t hinting around to the local newshounds that Lopez is the favorite worries me.
Bloomquist’s weighted PECOTA forecast: .237/.280/.317
Bloomquist’s 90% forecast (he goes crazy! he is teh best case evah!!): .287/.336/.387
Yeahhhh… so the prediction for a Super Bloomquist is moderately better than the prediction for a normal Lopez growth year.
Also in this article: Carl Everett got runners in from third with less than two outs as often as anyone on the White Sox, says Ozzie Guillen (btw, not true). The new pitching coach needs to make Meche and Pineiro believe they’re the aces they were supposed to become. And other stuff.
Over at the Times, Finnigan also thinks the season rides on Meche and Pineiro are key. His piece contains this gem from Hargrove, on moving on from Bryan Price:
“No knock on Bryan [former pitching coach Bryan Price], but guys get tired of hearing the same message from a coach,” Hargrove said, “and the coach might get tired of the player not getting it. Sooner or later, the instruction is lost. So, changing to Chaves here might do the trick.
Hee hee hee. Also lots of “character” stuff and normal spring speculation content. Notable omission– in talking about the young players who’ll be contributing next year, Betancourt’s mentioned, but Lopez is entirely left out. Maybe I’m just jumpy, but… yeagh.
Larry Stone finishes off the day’s news with a random “best and worst of the off-season” column which includes this succinct little gem:
While the Seahawks were dazzling the city with a run to the Super Bowl, the Mariners seemingly did little to recapture their waning hold on Seattle. The team’s solution to its dire need for “left-handed sock” was signing declining Carl Everett and Matt Lawton. The M’s solution to their dire need for a starting pitching boost was paying $37.5 million over four years for Jarrod Washburn, who is 29-31 over the last three years. The brightest new hope is a complete unknown Ã¢â‚¬â€ catcher Kenji Johjima.