Diamondbacks target Willie Bloomquist
By Jack Magruder
The Diamondbacks have targeted Willie Bloomquist to become the final position player on the 2011 roster, sources with knowledge of the team's plans said Wednesday night.
Bloomquist, a former Arizona State player, is the only position player being courted at this point, sources said, but negotiations are not to the point where a deal was ready to be announced Wednesday. The length of the contract has not been finalized.
The D-Backs also are seeking a veteran starting pitcher to bring to spring training and compete for a spot in the rotation or serve as a fallback candidate in case of injury.
"Your good teams have experienced bench players who know their roles. With double-switches in the National League, I think it is vital for a manager to have weapons on the bench and in the 'pen, where he can choose and manage the game knowing the type of matchups he might get late in the ball game," general manager Kevin Towers said when he was hired Sept. 22.
Bloomquist, 33, has played every position but catcher in a nine-year major league career that began with Seattle in 2002.He had his most productive year with Kansas City in 2009, when as a semi-regular hit .265 with four homers, 29 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in 468 at-bats. He has 104 career stolen bases.
He played with the Royals and Cincinnati last season, hitting a combined .267 with three homers and 17 RBIs.
Bloomquist, a third-round pick out of ASU by Seattle in 1999, has spent all but two months of his career in the American League, but his speed and versatility make him a natural fit in the NL, where double-switching is valuable.
He has made 193 starts in the outfield, including 94 in center field, and also has made 112 starts at shortstop, 85 at third base and 80 at second base. He would provide outfield depth in the event that tentative starting left fielder Xavier Nady is needed more at first base this season.
General manager Kevin Towers already has added free agents Melvin Mora and Geoff Blum, each of whom can play multiple infield and outfield positions.
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