PHOENIX — Free agent Willie Bloomquist, a valuable piece in the Diamondbacks’ run to the NL West title in 2011, is expected sign a two-year deal with Seattle worth between $5 million and $6 million, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
The D-backs have a surfeit of middle infielders in Aaron Hill, Didi Gregorius, Cliff Pennington and Chris Owings, and even if they traded one of their other shortstops in the offseason would have enough depth to survive the loss of Bloomquist. They believe Owings has nothing left to prove at the minor league level after hitting .330 with 12 home runs and 81 RBIs at Class AAA Reno, and he is under control for the next six years.
Bloomquist, 36 last week, left money on the table when he signed a two-year, $3.8 million deal to stay with the D-backs in 2012.
A Washington native, Bloomquist was Seattle’s third-round pick in 2002 out of Arizona State and played his first seven seasons with the Mariners before going to Kansas City in 2010.
Bloomquist did his most valuable work when he took over at shortstop after Stephen Drew’s ankle injury in July, 2011. Bloomquist became the leadoff hitter down the stretch as the D-backs pulled away from San Francisco, and he hit .266 with 20 stolen bases in only 99 games. He also played left field that season and will give the Mariners an option there.
Bloomquist hit .302 with a career-high 21 doubles in 80 games in 2012 before missing the final seven weeks of the season with a lower back injury. Oblique and hand injuries limited him to 48 games last season when he hit .317.