Mariners to Sign Willie Bloomquist

Dave · December 2, 2013 at 9:56 am · Filed Under Mariners 

I’m not even going to bother with the commentary on this, because you can probably guess what I think of a guaranteed two-year deal for a replacement-level scrub. I’m just going to leave this here.

Nick Punto and Willie Bloomquist were born 19 days apart, back in 1977. Both of them are going into their age-36 seasons. Both have carved out nice long careers as utility infielders. Here are their career offensive numbers, side by side.

Name PA BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BsR
Punto 3510 10% 17% 0.077 0.299 0.248 0.325 0.325 0.294 78 21.0
Bloomquist 2925 6% 15% 0.074 0.319 0.271 0.320 0.346 0.297 79 13.6

For all intents and purposes, they’re the same hitter. Punto walks a little more and Bloomquist has legged out a few more singles, but they’re both bad hitters who offset that a little bit with some baserunning value. You don’t hire either of these guys for their bats. They’re in the Major Leagues because of their ability to play multiple positions. But then there’s this.

Name Off Def WAR
Punto -76.0 105.1 14.8
Bloomquist -61.8 -21.8 1.4

During the last 15 years, Punto has been one of baseball’s elite defensive players. In 2,500 innings at shortstop, he has a career UZR of +33. In 2,500 innings at third base, it’s +38. In 2,500 innings at second base, it’s +11. He’s split his time almost evenly between the three infield spots, and he’s been excellent at all three.

Bloomquist, in 2,000 innings at shortstop, has a -6 UZR. In 1,000 innings at third base, its -3. In 1,000 innings at second base, it’s -1. In 2,000 innings in the outfield, it’s -15. Bloomquist has been a below average defender at every position he’s played.

Willie Bloomquist is Nick Punto minus all the things that make Nick Punto valuable. A few weeks ago, the A’s signed Nick Punto to a one year, $3 million deal. The M’s are reportedly going to give Bloomquist between $5 and $6 million over two years. The Mariners are paying more money to get a worse player.

It’s a bench player spot. Bloomquist won’t be targeted for that many plate appearances — just like Raul Ibanez wasn’t supposed to play much last year — and its not like a two year deal at this kind of money is going to wreck the budget. But the transactions the team makes tell you something about the way the front office values performance, and their ability to understand that “bench players” become “regulars” when injuries occur, as they always do.

Judge for yourself if the Mariners have actually learned anything from their past mistakes. Judge for yourself if this organization has any idea how to actually build a baseball team.

Comments

67 Responses to “Mariners to Sign Willie Bloomquist”

  1. leftfield limey on December 2nd, 2013 10:01 am

    Shades of Bavasi

  2. lailaihei on December 2nd, 2013 10:06 am

    Imagine spending $6 million on a bench player when your starting lineup is full of holes.

  3. darthbuhner on December 2nd, 2013 10:09 am

    Why stop with Willie Baseball? I’m sure Carl Everett, Milton Bradley would be equally electrifying offesason signings.

    Oh, and might as well dump that underperforming scrub Taijuan Walker for that 5-tool stud Yuniesky Betancourt to complete this “Let’s disenfrancise our fan base” effort.

  4. JasonJ on December 2nd, 2013 10:13 am

    He’s a local boy though! I bet the order has already been placed at the bobble-head factory…

  5. Zero Gravitas on December 2nd, 2013 10:14 am

    On top of the baseball reasons, I’m against this move because it will make M’s broadcasts even more un-listenable. I imagine the announcers will be given quite a script on how he’s a local hero, proven professional, makes veteran decisions, plays the game right, gritty, etc. and so forth. It will just be absolutely intolerable.

  6. GarForever on December 2nd, 2013 10:20 am

    FTW. FML. LOL. Ugh. That is all.

  7. maqman on December 2nd, 2013 10:21 am

    I can’t believe this is their single accomplishment this off-season. I’ts a crap move They let the Blue Jays sign Dioner Novarro to a similar contract and go for this waste of time, space and resources. They have only one 40-man space left so we probably lose Moran. Z just lost my vote.

  8. killeverything on December 2nd, 2013 10:22 am

    Sigh

  9. sfcox on December 2nd, 2013 10:23 am

    I wonder if this falls into the category of the Mariners having a hard time getting free agents to sign and when they do, they have to overpay. It’s possible that they contacted Nick Punto, but he preferred a winning team. The next best option was WB, and he was willing to come here – because he’s from WA, played here before, etc. – but would only do so if they paid him more money than he’s worth. That may not be the case at all, but that scenario makes me feel a little better about it…

  10. IHaveALittleProject on December 2nd, 2013 10:27 am

    Fail. We’ve come full circle. My faith in Jack Z has been reduced to Bavasian levels.

    This proves to me, in combination with the Raul and Morse deals, that he is clueless about how to get this franchise moving in a good direction.

    I’ve been a diehard fan for almost 25 years, and the hope has finally been beat out of me. At least Bavasi got canned after 5 years, giving hope that there would be a new direction. Jack Z has now equaled Bavasi’s service time with no end in sight, and I fear with no path to the playoffs.

  11. colinokeefe on December 2nd, 2013 10:27 am

    Why do we only see Steamer projections when it supports a predetermined point?

  12. 68GTCS on December 2nd, 2013 10:28 am

    Bring back Chuck Armstrong! Stat!

  13. ChrisFB on December 2nd, 2013 10:29 am

    It’s cliche to note this, I know, but I literally laughed out loud when I saw this news. Like, for close to a minute. It’s a good thing I work from home by myself, so the only beings close to me that were startled were the cats.

    I don’t care about the money spent, I don’t care about the size of the contract or whether or not it’s an overpay, blah blah blah. It’s the retread, and the fact they felt needed to get a bench player at all, that is noteworthy and laughable.

  14. bookbook on December 2nd, 2013 10:45 am

    He’ll end up blocking Chris Taylor, just for a bonus.

  15. Gritty Veteran Poster on December 2nd, 2013 10:46 am

    Good gawd! My screen name came from this guy. Every fan from the idiot contingent screamed for him to get an everyday job because he was a gritty veteran who hustled, got his uniform dirty and ran to first base on walks not to mention he’s a local boy!! Yay! Port Orchard! “Send Ichiro back to Japan! Start Willie!!”

    UGH. It’s becoming harder and harder to remain a fan of this team with management/ownership constructed as it is now.

  16. currcoug on December 2nd, 2013 11:00 am

    Great…now Chris Taylor is effectively blocked?

  17. Dave on December 2nd, 2013 11:05 am

    Why do we only see Steamer projections when it supports a predetermined point?

    Because the way the Steamer projections on FG are built means that the system isn’t good at handling defensive projections for multi-position players. Steamer doesn’t project fielding ratings for players at every position, so the single fielding projection gets forecast for all positions he’s projected to play, which obviously isn’t correct. It’s a bug that will eventually get fixed.

    Or you can think that the huge amount of data that shows that Punto >>> Bloomquist on defense is bunk, and that I’m just skewing all the numbers because I’m biased. Your call.

  18. hailcom on December 2nd, 2013 11:06 am

    Rumors are one thing. I can live with bad rumors and hope they are wrong. This announcement is bad news and portends more bad decisions and negotiations ahead. I have the feeling this will not change until ownership changes and someone cleans house. Sigh. As a long time season ticket holder, I find this very depressing. Ironically, for an organization that says it’s all about good business decisions, these are very bad business decisions, in addition to being bad baseball decisions.

  19. Alec on December 2nd, 2013 11:10 am

    It’s the worst possible sign for a front office when I laugh at a deal this stupid, and then realize I’m a little less upset with it than I should be because I am hoping it stops them from making worse deals. Here’s hoping Nelson Cruz cares a lot about an extra $6MM.

  20. ripperlv on December 2nd, 2013 11:33 am

    Everyone is being a bit short-sighted. What this allows us to do, is open up a roster spot so that we can carry 4 base clogging, no field DH’s. Geez.
    Besides he’s a local boy.

  21. bookbook on December 2nd, 2013 11:37 am

    This is a lot like the Raul signing last year. Not such a big deal in itself, but a clear indicator that the thought process isn’t one I can get behind. Like a fractal, the bigger mistakes to come are captured within this structure.

  22. colinokeefe on December 2nd, 2013 11:38 am

    Because the way the Steamer projections on FG are built means that the system isn’t good at handling defensive projections for multi-position players.

    Well, that’s why I ask. I, under no circumstance, believe Bloomquist is a better player than Punto—and certainly wouldn’t prefer him. But if Bloomquist matches his Steamer projection of 0.4 WAR (matched four times, exceeded three in his career) he’s coming in under market value. You’re not normally stressing over contract value for utility players but that’s the order of the day today.

    And, yeah, you’d rather have Punto at $3m/1 but he’s going to California—where he spent his entire young life—and playing for one of the most fun and well-run organizations in baseball. Do we know that Punto wouldn’t take 2/6 in Seattle? Nope. But the Mariners might, and since leaving the Twins, Punto’s only signed FA deals with contenders.

  23. camerod on December 2nd, 2013 11:49 am

    Great move Z,

    I’m glad you saw the need for a gritty veteran influence to mentor the young white prospects.

    Just think of all the great things Willie can teach them boys on sight seeing adventures around the great northwest! Once those boys get hooked on the incredible outdoor activities available right here in our own backyard, how could they ever think about signing with another team?

    I am excited for what this means, now we are basically guaranteed to see these kid in a mariners uniform forever!

    Willie Bloomquist- Northwest tour guide, Seattle Mariners, Seattle, WA.

  24. Dave on December 2nd, 2013 11:58 am

    But if Bloomquist matches his Steamer projection of 0.4 WAR (matched four times, exceeded three in his career) he’s coming in under market value. You’re not normally stressing over contract value for utility players but that’s the order of the day today.

    Bloomquist’s Steamer projection assumes he’s a league average defensive shortstop, which is clearly not true. It’s a flaw in the way the projections are displayed. An 84 wRC+ from a mediocre defensive utility infielder is the definition of replacement level.

    So, fine, argue that Punto wouldn’t sign here for more years and more guaranteed money if you want. He’s just an example of how smarter organizations are spending their money. If you actually think this is not a total waste of cash, feel free to show how the market rate for a replacement level scrub is now $3 million per year on on a multi-year deal.

  25. Breadbaker on December 2nd, 2013 12:04 pm

    It’s worse than all of that. It’s once again starting with the premise that we should design the club backwards. Last year, we had all these dinger guys and no one to back them up, so let’s get a guy who can be everyone’s backup. I’ll bet he gets into 120 full or partial games because that way fans will know they’ll get to see Willie play nearly every day. That’s got to be worth twenty or thirty tickets right there. And look at how it will spike the ratings.

  26. 68oar on December 2nd, 2013 12:04 pm

    And Punto slides into first!!! (every other game)

  27. Mariner Melee on December 2nd, 2013 12:14 pm

    This is a move that should have been met with indifference. However, perception is reality and the perception of this front office right now could not be worse.

    “They practice poor analysis”
    “They put too much emphasis on homegrown talent”
    “They put too much emphasis on former Mariners”
    “They put too much emphasis on dingers and ribbies”
    “They fail to learn from their mistakes”
    “…What? Seriously?”

    These are all narratives that have run through my mind and they are exacerbated by this organization’s lack of transparency (because being so secrative has been working out great for them). The Bloomquist signing is a symbol. A symbol of a organization stuck, a symbol of the fans restlessness, exhaustion from the same-old-same-old, and symbol for the failure of this organization to move forward.

    As I said, this is a move that should have been met with indifference; there is a reason it wasn’t.

  28. Mariner Melee on December 2nd, 2013 12:24 pm

    Rosenthal reports the deal to be $5.8m.

    https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/407601347211833346

  29. MKT on December 2nd, 2013 12:32 pm

    At the beginning of this past season I was less than thrilled at the Ibanez signing, and compared it to the less-than-thrilling return of Griffey to the Mariners. But at least with Griffey, the Ms were getting a former all-star and future Hall of Famer. Ibanez at his best was a marginal All-Star. Continuing the devolution of signing washed-up former Mariners, as a joke I ended with “Willie Bloomquist is still available”.

    But reality is trumping fiction. I’ve also been saying that I expect the Mariners to sign Ibanez to a 2-year multi-million dollar contract. I keep hoping that they will be smart enough to not do that, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them do so.

  30. JH on December 2nd, 2013 12:38 pm

    Clearly a cynical move to distract fans from poor on-field performance by rekindling the nostalgia of 2003-2008 (a/k/a “the glory years”).

    Wait, we sucked from 2003-2008 (barring an unsuccessful run at the playoffs in ’03)? Well, then I have no idea what they’re thinking.

  31. eponymous coward on December 2nd, 2013 12:46 pm

    Wow, I make a comment this morning about the M’s being in the grips of a DINGERS1!1!!1 and gritty veteran delusion, and they sign Princess Willie. Sheesh.

  32. Westside guy on December 2nd, 2013 12:46 pm

    Do we have a shot at bringing back Jeremy Reed?

  33. eponymous coward on December 2nd, 2013 12:57 pm

    And, yeah, you’d rather have Punto at $3m/1 but he’s going to California—where he spent his entire young life—and playing for one of the most fun and well-run organizations in baseball.

    And we’re not, partially because we’re going to waste time on someone with WFB’s track record, which is long and mediocre to bad.

    Which I guess is Dave’s point.

  34. Typical Idiot Fan on December 2nd, 2013 1:01 pm

    Willie wont get enough playing time to justify the contract nor will he get enough to turn it into a disaster offensively or defensively. When Brad Miller was called up, Brendan Ryan got only 12 starts (out of 57 games played) after that until he was traded to the Yankees, the rest of the time he was used as a late inning defensive replacement, pinch runner, or extra innings scrub (or all three). Bear in mind, Ryan was also a better defender, so he at least was useful in that regard.

    If Willie sees prolonged play time, it’ll be because one of our young infielders either gets hurt or nosedives into terrible territory quickly. If that happens, the problem with the team is far greater than whether or not William F. Bloomquist is our backup.

    Also, don’t worry about “blocking” Chris Taylor. He’s not going to be major league ready this season, and if he forces the issue next season, dumping Willie and his > $3m contract onto another team shouldn’t be difficult.

  35. eponymous coward on December 2nd, 2013 1:12 pm

    If that happens, the problem with the team is far greater than whether or not William F. Bloomquist is our backup.

    Good teams actually have better than replacement level talent on their bench. This lets you do things like have 4 players get 500 PAs and all of them being decent or better (like the 2001 M’s), instead of 3 players getting 600 PAs and one scrub getting 200 PAs and being awful.

    It is a problem when you’re thinking “who do we use to fill out the roster for depth”, and it ends up being a multi-year deal for someone who you could replace from AAA for the league minimum, simply because they are familiar, a local kid, and you can use them to promote the family-friendly entertainment options at Safeco (which don’t seem to involve watching a good team). The multi-year deal will mean they hang around for a while because of the sunk costs fallacy this organization regularly falls into, and it will mean you’re less likely to take flyers on interesting AAA/Rule 5 draft guys, because, well, “We have Willie, that position’s locked up”.

  36. californiamariner on December 2nd, 2013 1:17 pm

    This is a pretty dumb deal. However, I’m not going to freak out over a few million going to a utility player. If this is the ugliest move they make I will live happily with the offseason.

  37. Westside guy on December 2nd, 2013 1:41 pm

    You know, now that I think about it – bringing back another beloved past Mariner smells more like a move from someone at Armstrong’s or Lincoln’s level then that of a semi-competent GM, given what we hear them drone on about whenever they open their mouths to the media.

    Of course I don’t have any faith that we actually have a semi-competent GM…

  38. PackBob on December 2nd, 2013 1:42 pm

    I would guess that Willie is insurance against injury, a reaction to 2013 when the M’s had to play Raul nearly every day. Problem is, Willie is Raul 2 without the dingers.

    Well, well, another “nice” player to add to Jack’s stable.

  39. Typical Idiot Fan on December 2nd, 2013 1:43 pm

    Good teams actually have better than replacement level talent on their bench. This lets you do things like have 4 players get 500 PAs and all of them being decent or better (like the 2001 M’s), instead of 3 players getting 600 PAs and one scrub getting 200 PAs and being awful.

    So, are you implying the Mariners were a good team before signing WFB? Because I think I’d have to disagree with this. If the Mariners aren’t a good team to begin with, who gives a damn who they sign as their backup. It wont matter anyway.

    You basically illustrate the point. The Mariners have three infielders they definitely want to use and give playing time to (Seager, Miller, one of Ackley / Franklin depending on how that falls out) with the only question mark being first base. Assuming all goes well, WFB wont play much. If it doesn’t, the problem isn’t the backup, but the main players in the first place.

    It is a problem when you’re thinking “who do we use to fill out the roster for depth”, and it ends up being a multi-year deal for someone who you could replace from AAA for the league minimum

    Ignoring the demonizing Mariners narratives for a second, where is it written that it is so easy to find replacement level players for league minimums? Do you know someone in the Mariners organization right now that could fulfill the role of backup utility player that I don’t? Are you telling me that you’re more confident that Ty Kelly can outperform WFB, and at every defensive position that WFB provides? Carlos Triunfel? Someone from someone else’s organization? I’m all ears.

    Over the last whatever years, we have searched for players above replacement level and ended up with a mixed bag of suck. Why do people think it is so easy to find good players for cheap? Hell, why do people think it is so easy to find replacement level players for cheap?

    The multi-year deal will mean they hang around for a while because of the sunk costs fallacy this organization regularly falls into, and it will mean you’re less likely to take flyers on interesting AAA/Rule 5 draft guys, because, well, “We have Willie, that position’s locked up”.

    Two years might fit the mold of a “multi-year” deal, but let’s not exaggerate the importance of being here in 2015. You seem to want the team to gamble instead of locking up a known commodity. That’s fine, but there’s a reason Punto was valued at $2.7m, Willie at $2.9m / year, and Brendan Ryan at $2.5m / year. Teams like to know what they’re getting.

  40. JH on December 2nd, 2013 1:44 pm

    As Dave reminded everyone in the post, utility guys become starters when the opening day regulars get hurt. Any injury to Seager, Miller, or whichever of Franklin/Ackley sticks after this offseason and Willie’s your everyday 2B/3B/SS.

  41. JH on December 2nd, 2013 1:53 pm

    “So, are you implying the Mariners were a good team before signing WFB? Because I think I’d have to disagree with this. If the Mariners aren’t a good team to begin with, who gives a damn who they sign as their backup. It wont matter anyway.”

    This is the precise logic Geoff Baker’s been using to justify the Raul deal–he was never supposed to play the field, so it’s not the team’s fault that he was such a disaster on defense. Good teams have a good Plan A and a Plan B that they can live with. The fact that the Ms don’t project as a very good team right now isn’t a reason not to want them to make good moves.

  42. eponymous coward on December 2nd, 2013 1:59 pm

    So, are you implying the Mariners were a good team before signing WFB? Because I think I’d have to disagree with this. If the Mariners aren’t a good team to begin with, who gives a damn who they sign as their backup. It wont matter anyway.

    More a case of part of the reason why the M’s aren’t a good team is they don’t give a damn who they sign as a backup, and thus default to the “easy” button: bring in the gritty replacement level local kid because it’s a familiar choice, the way Raul was, the way bringing in Morse was. It’s just an organizational mindset of The Book Of Mediocre MLB Conventional Wisdom + “hey, let’s be casual-fan and family friendly! People can tell their kids about how someday they can play on the team like Willie does!”

    where is it written that it is so easy to find replacement level players for league minimums?

    It’s easy for a lot of organizations. The M’s wouldn’t be one of those organizations, though, because, well, Mariners.

    You seem to want the team to gamble instead of locking up a known commodity.

    It isn’t much of a commodity. So why lock it up? I guess if the team’s plan is to have a rotating crew of Raul, Montero, Smoak and Morales as the 1B/DH/LF hydra, having someone who can play most defensive positions badly helps that… but didn’t we just go through a season with them not being all that good? Is having Willie Bloomquist on your roster in order to enable having a bunch of mediocre to bad talent the way this organization moves forward?

    Any injury to Seager, Miller, or whichever of Franklin/Ackley sticks after this offseason and Willie’s your everyday 2B/3B/SS.

    And it’s not like this organization regularly does things like put players like Raul or Adam Kennedy in positions where they are obviously outside their competencies, right?

    Oh, wait…

  43. Typical Idiot Fan on December 2nd, 2013 2:14 pm

    More a case of part of the reason why the M’s aren’t a good team is they don’t give a damn who they sign as a backup

    Really? If they didn’t care, why didn’t they go pick up Robert Andino again? Oh right, he’s terrible. Worse than WFB, which is why we have terms like “below replacement level”. WFB might not light the world on fire, but he should be at or slightly above replacement level. And if he isn’t, oh well. It isn’t like our other options have worked out swimmingly either.

    It’s easy for a lot of organizations. The M’s wouldn’t be one of those organizations, though, because, well, Mariners.

    Name one. Name one and I will find you years upon years of them NOT finding easily found cheap talent, including the Oakland Athletics, who until recently have had a VERY tough time finding players who didn’t suck balls.

    It isn’t much of a commodity. So why lock it up?

    Why did Oakland pay $2.7m for Punto? Why did the Yankees guarantee 2 years for Ryan, plus an option year? I think these teams understood the writing on the wall: if you want utility backup players, and want to know what you’re getting, you’d better get them quickly, because they’re going fast. The market dictated the action, and the Mariners followed suit.

    I guess if the team’s plan is to have a rotating crew of Raul, Montero, Smoak and Morales as the 1B/DH/LF hydra, having someone who can play most defensive positions badly helps that… but didn’t we just go through a season with them not being all that good? Is having Willie Bloomquist on your roster in order to enable having a bunch of mediocre to bad talent the way this organization moves forward?

    You’re making assumptions to create a worst case scenario. We don’t know what the Mariners are going to do with the first base / DH situation or any of the outfield situations. If they end up signing a bunch of players who were just like the ones last year, then yes WFB does help provide defense above anything those guys can provide, and baserunning utility, and isn’t terrible against left handed pitching. But even if they don’t go out and sign a bunch of bat first / no defense OF/1B/DH again, they can use WFB’s versatility everywhere, and sparingly, as they should.

    Any injury to Seager, Miller, or whichever of Franklin/Ackley sticks after this offseason and Willie’s your everyday 2B/3B/SS.

    That’s reality for a lot of teams. As much as we think other team’s backup players are great, they’re not. There is always going to be a huge step down from the starters to the backups. The 25 man roster doesn’t allow a ton of flexibility, which is why versatile players who can handle multiple positions are more valuable. Plus, aside from cost controlled youngsters, the kind of player you’d want backing up each position who wouldn’t be much of a step down, would be the kind of player who wouldn’t sign as a backup utility player. That’s just the reality of baseball.

    And it’s not like this organization regularly does things like put players like Raul or Adam Kennedy in positions where they are obviously outside their competencies, right?

    I’m not going to argue that 2013′s team was vastly flawed. What I am going to argue is that 2014′s team isn’t vastly flawed (but incomplete) with WFB backing up multiple positions.

  44. californiamariner on December 2nd, 2013 2:18 pm

    There’s really no disputing that this is not a smart deal. The biggest thing for me is to hope that we get through the offseason without making any catastrophic deals. Dave says in all in the last sentence. That last sentence isn’t going to change with the people currently running the show.

    My hope is that we get through the year without any of those catastrophic mistakes, because I think the current state of the Mariners is an attractive job for a new GM. Felix is really the only player they are committed to. The possibility is there for new management to come in and right the ship. The problem will be if a couple of 100+ million dollar contracts are given out to undeserving players and it hinders the team going forward.

  45. refusetolose on December 2nd, 2013 2:21 pm

    I happen to like Willie Bloomquist, and in today’s baseball, 6 million isn’t really breaking the bank. Brendan Ryan just got 5+ from the Yankees for the same years, and he’s a hitter in the .100s.

    He’s a better baserunner, younger and a premium defender, so I’m curious if the M’s tried to bring him back at all for this bench role.

    But Willie is just a versatile guy to help in various positions. For your 25th guy, you could do worse.

    Dave, you wanted us to get excited about Ryan Theriot a few years ago, this isn’t that far a step back from him.

    The M’s need to complete the roster, as the writer above said. And frankly, they need to do a better a job developing talent in the minor leagues.

    They are becoming the New York Jets of the MLB, see Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith development.

  46. eponymous coward on December 2nd, 2013 2:37 pm

    Why did Oakland pay $2.7m for Punto?

    Because they are a smart organization, and when you account for the defense he provides, he’s well above replacement level?

    a premium defender

    Based on being worse than average at multiple positions?

  47. Hunter S. Thompson on December 2nd, 2013 2:51 pm

    Yes there we reason’s Punto was valued at 2.7m a year, over the last three years he has been worth 4.1 war. You take his three year average of 1.37 War per and that’s worth $8.22m at $6 mil a year per win.

    Ryan at 2.5 per. He’s been worth 3.6 war over the last three years. Three year average of 1.2 war per year times $6 mil per win and that’s $7.2 a year on the free agent market.

    WFB at 2.9m. Well he was worth one win over the last three years. Three year average of 0.34 war per year times $6mil per win that’s $2mil.

    One of these things isn’t like the other, sure those are lazy, quick and dirty numbers, but Punto and Ryan have been worth on average $5 mil per year more then WFB, and he’s making more than both.

  48. Shanfan on December 2nd, 2013 2:55 pm

    This feels like getting socks or underwear for Christmas when you were hoping for a bike or bb gun. (And then realizing you donated the socks to Goodwill five years ago.)

  49. SonOfZavaras on December 2nd, 2013 3:05 pm

    They have only one 40-man space left so we probably lose Moran.

    We’re going to lose Moran.

    If we had any plan to put him on the 40, we would have by now.

    But Rule 5 draftees are the epitome of a wild card, and Moran didn’t exactly impress like hell at AAA last year. He throws 85, tops. Can he really fool major-league bats for a full year on any roster, including ours?

    Meh. Moran can go. Or find his way back here. Don’t care either way.

    As for Bloomquist- too much money for this kind of player. He made his (probable) last contract as a major league ballplayer a pretty good overpay.

    The next two months of Hot Stove better knock my socks off for the Mariners, or I won’t even bother allocating entertainment money to go to Safeco.

  50. BobbleHeadJunkie on December 2nd, 2013 3:18 pm

    I’m not going to look too much into this contract vs Punto’s deal with Oakland. Who knows if Seattle didn’t offer Punto a contract? It takes a little more to get a guy to play in Seattle, even if that guy is a bench player. Oakland is a contender and needs a defensive replacement for their poor SS defense. Is this a great signing? No. Am I a supporter of Jackie Z? Not really, but I’m not going to take this as a sign of things to come….that would depress me too much. I’m holding out on some hope this offseason and don’t want to spoil it too soon.

  51. Typical Idiot Fan on December 2nd, 2013 4:02 pm

    Because they are a smart organization, and when you account for the defense he provides, he’s well above replacement level?

    Yes there we reason’s Punto was valued at 2.7m a year, over the last three years he has been worth 4.1 war. You take his three year average of 1.37 War per and that’s worth $8.22m at $6 mil a year per win.

    Steamer has Punto at 0.4 wins for 2014, oddly enough, with a defensive contribution component (something WFB doesn’t have). Maybe Punto was well above replacement level, providing nearly all of his benefit from defense (see Ryan, Brendan), but if he’s “well above replacement” for 2014, Steamer doesn’t agree.

  52. MrZDevotee on December 2nd, 2013 4:29 pm

    What I don’t understand is why this is going down just like last year…? Why? Why sign him this early? If the offseason goes well, we don’t need him on this roster… And if we get nowhere with REAL ballplayers, he’ll still be there.

    Absolutely the same move as Ibanez last year… Why sign the disposable guy first? He’ll be there later. You just reduced your flexibility, and reduced your budget for essentially NOTHING.

    Same as it ever was. Sadly.

  53. Hunter S. Thompson on December 2nd, 2013 4:30 pm

    I don’t put a whole lot of trust in Steamer, or Zips in general, but definetly not on part time players.

    The projection systems do seem to like WFB way more then I would assume based on past performance compared to other players. Maybe there is something I’m missing but I don’t see why punto and bloomquist would age differently. They are the same age and Punto has a better history but is being projected to perform well under his last three years while WFB performs at the same level.

    I just think looking at all the utility infielders signed this offseason WFB looks to be the worst, hopefully I’m wrong and he sits on the bench most of the year and plays well when he does. Its not the end of the world, we just seemed to get the wobbly chair in this round of musical chairs.

  54. MrZDevotee on December 2nd, 2013 4:39 pm

    Wait-
    In all honesty, is this a “parting gift” to Chuck Armstrong? Did he get to make one last move before sailing off into the sunset…?

    “I’ll retire… Fine… BUT! I get to sign Willie Bloomquist to one last contract… I mean, it’s ‘Willie FUCKING Bloomquist!’…”

    Ownership: “But then you’ll retire, right!?”

    ————–

    Or maybe Chuck is going to do everything he can to piss us all off before January 31st?

    I have no idea. Just bizarre. (And I graduated from South Kitsap, btw– Willie’s dad and then sister were my dentist at various times– and yet, even I hate this deal.)

  55. MrZDevotee on December 2nd, 2013 4:55 pm

    Typical Idiot-
    “As much as we think other team’s backup players are great, they’re not.”

    Sadly, I’ve slowly come around to recognizing this… It happened when I realized Kawasaki was Toronto’s starting SS for much of last season, while they were taunted as World Series contenders.

    Or when Ibanez was pinch hitting for Alex Rodriguez in high leverage situations of the playoffs.

    Or when I watched Marco Scutaro and Ryan Theriot celebrating their World Series victory with the Giants.

    It’s true– everyone needs filler players who hopefully aren’t dead wait. The real Mariner problem is we can’t find the few key characters who lift the team closer to success. (Although Zunino and Posey are two similarly likable names, the way they roll off the tongue…)

    Signings like WFB just make it too easy for the fans to think- “they’re not even TRYING to sign the really good guys, are they?” Kinda like when mom makes you open the crappy Xmas present first and you have this dread that it’s gonna be the worst Xmas ever, based on plaid socks.

  56. Paul B on December 2nd, 2013 5:14 pm

    Paying millions for a replacement level scrub? No, thanks, I’ll either get a replacement level player from the minors for the minimum, or I’ll pick somebody up for free off waivers at the end of spring training.

    Aging but replacement level decent-glove-bad-bat middle infielders can be found off the junk pile. No need to give them multi year contracts, save the money for where you can get an actual upgrade. Like someone above replacement level, for starters.

    Just checked in to see what is going on, going back to lurker mode. I really don’t plan to see any Mariner games this year.

  57. MrZDevotee on December 2nd, 2013 5:25 pm

    In bigger questions– are we interested in Bartolo Colon, now that Scott Kazmir has signed with the A’s, and for how much? Will he want multiple years?

    2 years/45 million?

    Hmmm…

  58. r-gordon-7 on December 2nd, 2013 6:05 pm

    When I saw the headline I had to check the calendar to make sure it isn’t April 1. Then I remembered, for Mariner fans, every day is April Fools Day. And the joke’s always on us…

  59. djw on December 2nd, 2013 6:13 pm

    where is it written that it is so easy to find replacement level players for league minimums? Do you know someone in the Mariners organization right now that could fulfill the role of backup utility player that I don’t?

    It is written in the very definition of “replacement level.” This level of play is not selected at random. What you are suggesting here is that the statistical community has made an error in the level of performance that constitutes replacement level. Maybe you’re right! Stranger things have happened. But I’ll be needing better evidence than “Willie Bloomquist seems better than replacement level to me” before I take this claim seriously.

    Why did Oakland pay $2.7m for Punto? Why did the Yankees guarantee 2 years for Ryan, plus an option year?

    Because they’re excellent defenders.

  60. MrZDevotee on December 2nd, 2013 6:31 pm

    Meanwhile– Doug Fister just became a Washington National… For a Willie Bloomquist-type, a lefty reliever, and a minor leaguer.

    (For free, basically… Still with 2 years team control…)

  61. eponymous coward on December 2nd, 2013 7:24 pm

    Steamer has Punto at 0.4 wins for 2014, oddly enough

    Which is already answered by one of the Fangraphs authors:

    Because the way the Steamer projections on FG are built means that the system isn’t good at handling defensive projections for multi-position players.

    Go look at both Fangraph pages, conveniently linked above. Steamer is projecting Punto for a big collapse on defense. Given that WFB and Punto are the same age, it’s hard for me to see why one would collapse due to age and one wouldn’t.

  62. stevemotivateir on December 2nd, 2013 7:25 pm

    Did this move really surprise anyone?

    This does nothing for me, but hey, at least he’s just a utility player, right?!

    I’ll cross my fingers for now.

  63. Typical Idiot Fan on December 3rd, 2013 9:41 am

    Steamer is projecting Punto for a big collapse on defense. Given that WFB and Punto are the same age, it’s hard for me to see why one would collapse due to age and one wouldn’t.

    It isn’t really predicting Punto has a big defensive collapse. The reason for the low defensive value and overall WAR prediction is based on his playing time prediction. If you look at previous years, he’s been in the 3-10 defensive runs saved range (based on UZR) but also played twice to three times the games that Steamer has him projected for 2013.

    It might be a slight decrease in the rate, but overall the problem is based on opportunities, not necessarily a decline.

  64. VivaAyala on December 3rd, 2013 10:47 am

    Yeah, it’s pretty clear that the Mariners made a sub-optimal signing here. I would take the Punto contract any day over the WFB deal, and even at WFB’s contract terms, I would prefer Punto.

    That doesn’t mean it’s an outright stupid deal for the Ms, though. Willie Ballgame’s positional flexibility fits the Ms’ roster better, since he’s able to play the outfield adequately, while Punto hasn’t seen action out there since 2008.

    Moreover, even though WFB has been essentially a replacement level player for his career, it’s worth noting that he’s hit well enough to put up one win above replacement over the past two years for the Dbacks. If he simply repeats that, he’s worth the contract.

  65. MrZDevotee on December 3rd, 2013 10:52 am

    VivaAyala-
    I like your definition of “adequately” better than mine… (As in Willie can play the outfield adequately.)

    We’ll go with your’s, and cross our fingers.

  66. djw on December 3rd, 2013 11:28 am

    Moreover, even though WFB has been essentially a replacement level player for his career, it’s worth noting that he’s hit well enough to put up one win above replacement over the past two years for the Dbacks. If he simply repeats that, he’s worth the contract.

    Bloomquist’s improved hitter results in the last two years appear to be entirely the produce of a BABIP spike, that hasn’t been accompanied by any notable change to his batted ball profile. There isn’t any good reason to think that he’s developed some new batting skill in his mid 30′s that makes his balls in play 10% more likely to be hits. This almost never happens. Regression on the batting average front is the rational expectation.

  67. VivaAyala on December 3rd, 2013 12:37 pm

    “Bloomquist’s improved hitter results in the last two years appear to be entirely the produce of a BABIP spike, that hasn’t been accompanied by any notable change to his batted ball profile. There isn’t any good reason to think that he’s developed some new batting skill in his mid 30?s that makes his balls in play 10% more likely to be hits.”

    That’s not quite true. WFB’s strikeout rate the last couple years is 13.4%, below his career average of 15.4%, and his line drives were up to 23.2% from his career average of 21.8%. It’s worth noting that Willie has, for his career, been a high-BABIP hitter (.319 career mark). Moreover, the high BABIP from the last couple of years has not been the result of an inflated infield hit rate (only 4.6% IFG% versus 7.2 for the career). While some regression is appropriate, you probably shouldn’t regress his projected BABIP all to the way to .300, and you shouldn’t omit the reduction in strikeouts.

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