A very brief reiteration of our position on Mr. Bloomquist

DMZ · November 25, 2006 at 9:55 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

I think this is a rare instance where I can safely speak for all of the USSM authors. I’d like to be quite clear, in the wake of his extension, where we stand.

We acknowledge that Willie, as a professional baseball player, is a supremely talented athlete. Even as we may lament his inability to hit better, it is a wonder that anyone hits that well at all.

We believe that Willie has value to the team, in that he is indeed defensively versatile, can steal a base, and is not totally helpless at the plate. He’s a guy you can push onto the field to rest a regular or even as multi-position insurance. In particular, we think that makes him a fine choice to fill out a 25-man roster.

We appreciate that he seems like a nice local guy, and that there is, indeed, a contingent of fans that likes him a lot. That he’s occasionally prodded into saying he should be a starter doesn’t seem to have ticked off any of his teammates. The media love and frequent overselling of his abilities is grating, but not at all relevant to his performance on the field.

We also feel that there is absolutely no evidence that he can hit major league pitching. There is no evidence he’s suitable for any starting job, especially no evidence that his offense would improve enough to make him suitable if he played regularly, and this is supported by repeated trials as a starter.

We also feel that players with Bloomquist’s skill set are not that hard to find, and that it is also easy to find players with different skillsets who contribute as much as their team’s success.

Because of this, it’s not worth paying Bloomquist much above the major league minimum. If the team feels that his PR value is high enough that it makes it worth paying him a premium (for instance, paying him twice league minimum, or 2.5x) that’s still not as huge an error as wildly overpaying Carlos Lee. It’s a little annoying, because we’d love to see that money spent on something more useful, but it’s not the end of the world.

Where this is really harmful is getting him 250 at-bats a year. If Bloomquist gets that many at-bats, something is badly wrong with the way the manager is using him. 250 at-bats for a guy hitting .247/.320/.299 is bad for the team. It costs them runs, and runs cost the team wins, and we want to see the Mariners win games and compete for pennants and go to the World Series and win it, because we’re fans.

Building winning teams takes two things: roster management, where you assemble all the best tools you can, and the actual use of those tools. While a million dollars is too high a price to pay for Bloomquist, he does have value when used correctly. Paid too much and used so badly, he’s a symptom of what’s wrong with both the roster construction and on-field management of the Mariners, and that makes us sad.


43 Responses to “A very brief reiteration of our position on Mr. Bloomquist”

  1. Tek Jansen on November 25th, 2006 10:01 pm

    Well said.

  2. Jeff Nye on November 25th, 2006 10:12 pm


    Thank you for clarifying this.

  3. katal on November 25th, 2006 10:12 pm


    I entirely agree with that.

  4. _MFAN_ on November 25th, 2006 10:28 pm

    Good post.

    Willie can be the M’s best friend or their worst enemy.

    What I mean by that is, if used properly he has value and can help the team (to a certain extent). However when used poorly (like given 300 AB’s in a season) he becomes a terrible player that has some how made 2 million dollars as a pro athlete.

  5. Jim Thomsen on November 25th, 2006 10:39 pm

    In other words: We blame the organization, not the player.

    Although he would help his own cause in this regard if he’d just stay the hell off KJR.

  6. warner28 on November 25th, 2006 10:57 pm

    What is so amazing is that he could be so well regarded by people within the sport.

    Hargrove may suck and Bavasi is average at best but even though the Mariners do not have the sharpest people running the program, you gotta think they still know a ton about baseball.

    How can they all be so blind when it comes to Bloomquest?

    I just do not get it.

    It makes no sense at all, that us fans see how average he is, yet major league talent evaluators give him all these at bats.

  7. Jim Thomsen on November 25th, 2006 10:57 pm

    #6: Images often overpower reality.

  8. Dave in Palo Alto on November 25th, 2006 11:03 pm

    8. Agreed. Also, I have no complaints about Mrs. Bloomquist.

  9. lisa gray on November 25th, 2006 11:18 pm

    paid too much and used so badly sure do describe a LOT of ML ballplayers…

    and trust me there are some on my team too. last year we had eric F munson and preston F wilson. to start with.

    so i know how yall feel.


    he just might could be getting all the PA because the FO tell hargrove to do that. i am POSITIVE that is what happened with preston wilson last year.

    i agree after checking this guys stats that he does not look like a good hitter (to be nice about it) and i am REAL surprised he got 250 PA.

    but you know, even if you got a guy his exact duplicate for minimum, it might not bring in the fans like this guy does i guess. you don’t usually see a lot of jerseys of the # 25 guy on the roster. and getting fans in the seats do actually count you know and yes i know winning puts even more in but honestly, his extra 600K is not no carlos lard contract keeping yall from signing players and his 250 PA is not costing yall the pennant and yes i know the FO is not doing the best job it can with the other 24 guys minus ichiro and jojima

    now if yall excuse me i am gonna go sulk about carlos lard some more. david cameron was right. and if there’s one thing i hate it is having to admit to some **** male that he was right.

    i am now gonna add this dim bulb to this here firmament.

  10. Ed Tsantamount on November 25th, 2006 11:22 pm

    Excellent points. Maybe this is the year Willie has his Gary Matthews Jr. Season. Maybe not. What’s more interesting is that poll you have going has WFB winning by a landslide. Please now, we all have to admit he’s not the worst player on the roster. For that I think you have to look at a player that has had an opportunity to contribute and has not pulled his weight and not mindlessly salute the (old) USSM dogma that WFB is useless. Let’s think for ourselves people. It’s obvious that Fruto, Mateo, Rivera are all lesser players. How about Reed? What a waste that trade turned out to be.

  11. Adam S on November 26th, 2006 12:00 am

    … even though the Mariners do not have the sharpest people running the program, you gotta think they still know a ton about baseball.

    How can they all be so blind when it comes to Bloomquest (sic)?

    Change the team to “Dodgers” and the player to Garciaparra or Pierre, or to “Astros” and “Lee”, or “Angels” and Matthews, or almost any other free agent signing this year and you could ask the exact same question.

    Quite frankly despite being smart baseball people, a lot of “them” are bad at converting past results into a prediction of future performance and especially bad at putting a dollar value on that performance.

  12. John D. on November 26th, 2006 12:08 am

    My contention still is that there is no room on the 25-player roster of a contending team for a player like Bloomquist.
    With an 11-man pitching staff, and a permanent DH, there are only 5 bench spots left.
    With the Mariner 12-man pitching staff, there are only 4 bench spots.
    These would ordinarily be taken up by a 2nd catcher, a utility infielder, and 4th and 5th outfielders.
    There just isn’t room for a 2nd utility infielder-6th outfielder-pinch runner.
    (It will be interesting to see what we do without in order to keep him on the roster.)

  13. oNeiRiC232 on November 26th, 2006 12:17 am

    Hey, we always said that the M’s FO ran the ship more like a business and less like a professional sports team. WFB is easy marketing for the casual fan base. Is anyone really surprised by this?

  14. Tap House Dan on November 26th, 2006 12:41 am

    Sorry if this is off-topic..but [deleted, off-topic]

  15. LB on November 26th, 2006 1:04 am

    [deleted, off-topic]

  16. JAS on November 26th, 2006 1:20 am

    wish we had something else to talk about… 🙁

  17. mln on November 26th, 2006 2:10 am

    [deleted, off-topic]

  18. Typical Idiot Fan on November 26th, 2006 2:19 am

    Would you @#$*ing FAQ link this already?

  19. mark s. on November 26th, 2006 4:17 am


    Seems this post almost needs a side bar, with how many times it needs to be resaid.

    -We (die hard fans) know what Bloomquist is, a Replacement Level Player.
    -Since he is part of our team. We want him to do well (by playing only in situations where he excells).
    -We hate that the front office does not seem to understand that Bloomquist is a replacement level player nor does the FO/Management understand how to use him.

  20. terry on November 26th, 2006 5:48 am

    Im sad that you didn’t quote VORPi…… 🙂

    Seriously, though, Derek, what has caused this sudden change of heart on WFB?????? 🙂

    Would you @#$*ing FAQ link this already?

    Actually I would prefer the evaluating defense thread would get linked to the features section. Being super serious for real, the last paragraph from above sums up the whole WFB issue. He’s a poster boy for a few of the key themes that permeate nearly every thread on USSM…. he’s like the USSM anti-philosophy…WFB himself won’t bring down a nation, but the philosophies allowing his salary and playing time will…

    is WFB, USSM’s vietnam?

  21. msb on November 26th, 2006 8:50 am

    oh, Willie.

    Bloomquist, a Port Orchard native who starred at South Kitsap High School, signed a two-year, $1.52 million contract with the Mariners last offseason.

    “If you’re looking at some of the other contracts around the major leagues, this doesn’t hold a candle to some of them,” he said.

    Manager Mike Hargrove, who uses his bench sparingly, turned to Bloomquist more than any of his reserves last season, playing him in 102 games at seven different positions. Bloomquist batted .247 and stole 16 bases, second-most on the team behind Ichiro Suzuki. He set career highs with 251 at-bats and 36 runs, and a career low with two errors.

    Bloomquist expects his role to be similar in 2007.

    “I can assume that, based on how they’ve used me in the past and based on the fact that this contact is going to be something similar to what I’ve done in the past,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean I’m satisfied with that and that I’m happy with that. I want to work my way into the lineup. It’s not the club’s job to make that decision, but it’s up to me to put them in a position where they can’t take me out of the lineup.”

  22. idahowriter on November 26th, 2006 9:17 am

    You know what? Here’s to Willie actually fulfilling that goal. I’ll eat five pounds of garlic fries if he does, but it would be worth the incredible indigestion if Willie had a great year.

  23. schmicky on November 26th, 2006 9:32 am

    [signal/noise ratio]

  24. Tom C on November 26th, 2006 10:01 am

    I’ve come around to thinking that Bloomquist might be the real cancer on this team. The essence of what’s wrong with the general attitude in the clubhouse (asides from Hargrove’s managing).

    He comes across as a teacher’s pet. Someone who sucks up or makes a big show of working hard and hustling whenever the boss (manager) comes around for an inspection/whenever in the spotlight.

    Ever since he’s got significant playing time (a cup of coffee in 2002) from 2003, the team spirit sucks imo. In 2003 the cancer hadn’t set in yet, and there was still cheap inertia from the 116 win season.
    The team mood has obviously been poor, completely different from what it was like in 2001.

    I’ve heard examples where he’s acting like an arrogant SOB/big star (which he does not merit!) in real life. It may not be the best example, but as a recent posted one, by Beastie on SportSpot. This type of behavior indicates that the earnest, eager to please persona is a facade. Teacher’s pets tend to accumulate a lot of stress from the sucking-up and pretence and they let it out on others in weaker positions (out of the spotlight).

    I bet most people have had this experience of working near a suck-up/teacher’s pet who’s doesn’t have much real ability/nor more importantly, results, but always makes a big show of “grittiness” for the boss. The boss takes a liking to this guy and gives him preferential treatment that he doesn’t actually merit.
    Such guys are terrible for morale in the workplace.

  25. F-Rod on November 26th, 2006 10:17 am


  26. msb on November 26th, 2006 10:21 am

    and sadly, in our culture, good-to-elite athletes get ‘preferential treatment’ from around junior high school onwards. It is the rare one who does not begin to think that it is just the norm, and that it will/should always be so–

  27. Jeff Nye on November 26th, 2006 10:26 am

    With 250 (replacement level or worse) ABs in a year, he certainly affects the outcome of more than one or two games per year.

    He doesn’t really strike me as the clubhouse cancer type, so that part might be reaching a bit.

    But sure, I can see other players saying to themselves “why is this guy getting 250 ABs and 1 mil a year? my daughter who plays JV softball can hit a fastball better than he can.”

    I’m sure the players are smart enough to realize that Wee Willie getting 250 ABs a year significantly hampers the team’s ability to win.

  28. bigred on November 26th, 2006 10:37 am

    True story-
    Last night I was at the Tbirds game at the key, and I was talking to my buddy about how the M’s signed WFB and how I thought it was a waste of dinero. This guy in front of us turns around and starts talking about how he loves WFB, and couldn’t understand why I hated him. Before I could finish stating how WFB can’t hit worth a crap, the guy starts comparing WFB to Ichiro and how they are the same type of hitter, at which point I f$cking went apesh!t. I had never called anyone a F*cking idiot to their face before last night, but I feel the situation warranted it.
    I don’t really know where I was going with this, but I had this need to vent and now I feel much better.

  29. bongo on November 26th, 2006 11:02 am

    Think of the WFB at bats as a symptom. Eliminating those ABs are a key measure of how much the team has progressed in 2007.

    WFB got ABs in CF after Reed was injured and before the Ms decided to move Ichiro there. If Ichiro and Snelling stay healthy and hit, or if the team signs or trades for a reliable RF, then we will see less of WFB in the outfield.

    WFB also got ABs after Lopez was injured, and his hitting dropped off after the all star break. So if Lopez stays healthy and hits, that source of WFB ABs can be closed of as well.

  30. Jeff Nye on November 26th, 2006 11:05 am

    Well, here’s the problem though, as I think I stated in the other thread about Princess Willie (I love all these nicknames for him).

    With the new contract, there is going to be pressure from fans, from the media, and from (I’m sure) the front office to justify the amount he’s being paid by giving him playing time.

    If anything, we’ll likely see him get MORE at-bats now, not less.

    And that is not a good thing for the 2007 Seattle Mariners.

  31. schmicky on November 26th, 2006 11:17 am

    I do not think I can agree with that typ of thought process. I do think however that WFB will simply get the AB”s because of the relationship with the Grover he is amazing (Groiver), don’t you think so?
    Sarcasm anyone?

  32. msb on November 26th, 2006 11:25 am

    #30– I wouldn’t think so– he isn’t making a huge amount of money to the general public’s eye ; I keep thinking we’d be in Brian Hunter territory if arbitration came up for him …

  33. Jeff Nye on November 26th, 2006 11:28 am

    Hopefully you’re right.

    I just think you’re underestimating the Willie Bloomquist PR Machine, and also maybe Hargrove’s inability to figure out how to properly fill out a lineup card in order to maximize his team’s ability to win that day.

  34. joser on November 26th, 2006 11:34 am

    Actually, we just need to set up WordPress to autolink this article to any use of the term “Bloomquist” — perhaps, though, it would be enough for the site authors to just make their first use of “Bloomquist” in any post link to this, so that when the inevitable clueless newcomer bitching about WFB begins we can all just say “read the link!” and move on.

  35. DMZ on November 26th, 2006 11:38 am

    Yeah, that never works though.

  36. IdahoInvader on November 26th, 2006 12:14 pm

    Its weird that Grover seems so infatuated with Willie’s limited hitting skillset, in that Grover himself was a COMPLETELY opposite type of hitter.

    -NO speed
    -Hit for a higher average
    -Walked a ton
    -Didn’t K much

    (Ok, neither had much power, but anyone, inlcuding Grover had more than Wee Willie)

  37. Jeff Nye on November 26th, 2006 12:24 pm

    I don’t really like to cast people as being “clueless” for not understanding why the long-term readership of this site feels the way it does about Mr. Bloomquist.

    There is definitely a step that people have to make from going from the casual, soccer-mom type of Mariners fan that the club has gone out of its way to cultivate and accomodate (that tends to LOVE players like Wee Willie), to a fan with a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the game and, in particular, a fan who understands the meaning of the term “replacement level”.

    It’s a step I had to take myself (and in a lot of ways, I’m still in the process of taking that step), and not everyone takes that step at the same pace.

  38. Ralph Malph on November 26th, 2006 1:28 pm

    Fruto, Mateo or Rivera worse than WFB? Fruto is 22 years old and has thrown 36 major league innings. He makes the major league minimum, and has had some success as a minor league closer. No, he’s not a great prospect but he’s still just a prospect.

    Rivera is 23, and has had 150 major league at bats — and 279 minor league at bats above A-ball. I doubt he’ll ever amount to much, but the way he was rushed to the bigs makes it unfair to say he’s a terrible player.

    Mateo wasn’t very good this year but he’s had far more major league success in previous years than WFB ever has — and he’s the same age as Bloomquist, 29.

    I think it’s totally unfair to say those guys are worse players than Bloomquist.

  39. Jeff on November 26th, 2006 2:35 pm

    Derek’s right, that never works. We put something about WFB in the FAQ a long time ago, but that never gets read, either.

  40. msb on November 26th, 2006 3:37 pm

    Fruto is 22 years old??!

  41. BelaXadux on November 26th, 2006 8:18 pm

    The org’s infatuation with Willie Bloomquist makes me sad. And enervated. I’ll leave it there. Or just plain leave it altogether.

  42. Ralph Malph on November 27th, 2006 9:45 am

    Emiliano Fruto was born June 6, 1984. I have seen speculation before that he’s older but never understood why that is — is it because of his heavy build? Do we just assume Latin players lie about their age? I don’t think that’s as easy to do as it used to be, since 9/11.

    He graduated from high school in 2001, according to the M’s website.

    What happened to the numbers on the comments??

  43. loki on November 27th, 2006 11:07 am

    The numbers do seem to have been replaced with regular list bullets. Perhaps its just because I’m using Safari.

    Looking at the source html, it looks like there may be a problem with the ul and ol tags. Comments start off with a ul tag but end with a /ol tag, and in general it looks like ul and ol tags are not consistently opened / closed with the correct matching tag.

    Hope that helps.

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