Last week, John McDonald bid adieu to returning to the Toronto Blue Jays, instead signing a two year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks worth a total of $3 million. It’s a good deal for the defensive minded shortstop, one that likely wouldn’t have been matched by the Blue Jays or very many other teams on the free agent market, and certainly not this early on in the off season.
While quotes from manager Kirk Gibson praising McDonald’s work ethic and attitude were used as justification for the deal, there was another factor at play. The Diamondbacks had a 2012 mutual option with infielder Willie Bloomquist for $1.1 million. The team exercised their portion of the deal, but Bloomquist turned it down.
Over the following days, missed calls and general miscommunication led to Bloomquist’s agent not being able to get in touch with Arizona. The Diamondbacks, one assumes, were tired of waiting and wanted to get their back up infielder issue resolved and so, extended a two year contract offer to McDonald who readily accepted.
Here’s the thing: Bloomquist is represented by super agent Scott Boras. Considering the clientèle who call Scott Boras their agent, it’s somewhat surprising that a player, not known for his defence, who has a career weighted on base average below .300 would be represented by the best agent in the business. It’s purely speculation, but could it be that an agency with far bigger fish to fry didn’t make himself available at an important time for his client?
Here’s what Boras has to say:
Is it our duty to be in touch with them every hour on the hour so we know nobody else signed? When you want someone, you go get them. We’re not the employer. They offer the contracts and pay the money. We don’t. It sounds to me like what happened is, they got upset when Willie opted out. They got emotional and they went out and signed a guy who hit .169.
Perhaps if the agent had spent more time with his client up front, he wouldn’t have had to spend so much effort slamming the Diamondbacks and their new back up shortstop.
While it may not be his duty to check in on a team every hour on the hour, it is his job to ensure that his client gets the best deal possible. Willie Bloomquist isn’t Prince Fielder. I don’t think it’s a given that Bloomquist will get $1.1 million on the free agent market.
And while the former Diamondbacks’ shortstop may have a better batting average than McDonald, it should be noted that with a similar amount of playing time over their respective careers, the player who agreed to terms with Arizona, has proven to be almost twice as valuable to his team, based largely on his exceptional defence.