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Willie Bloomquist Must Go

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It's not you. It's me. I'd rather win.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Let's just destroy any semblance of a creative lede here and get something straight: this post is not intended as Willie Bloomquist bashing.

I don't know Bloomquist personally, and I'm sure if I did I would find him charming, humble, and probably generous. He is a major league baseball player and has been since 2002, which is a really remarkable accomplishment. I didn't like his contract with the Mariners, but I understood it in a way that I understand kale -- too expensive and I find it unpleasant, but I understand why some people would find it necessary. Bloomquist is likable. He seems to be professional. He has been a modestly useful player over a very long career.

So that's taken care of.

As you know, major league baseball teams can only carry 25 employable bodies on their roster and the assembling of this group can pose challenges. You need people to play every position, and a designated hitter is handy, so there's nine. You need a starting rotation. There's five. You need a bullpen, so there's seven or eight. That eats up over 80% of your squad right there.

Carrying a player like Bloomquist, who ostensibly brings intangibles to the clubhouse, makes some sense if you have several bench spots to dole out. I get it, no knocking veteran-presence-grit-other-unnamed-assets. Honestly.

But now we have two full positions occupied by four people in the form of left field and right field platoons. So our nine players just turned into eleven. We have to assume the two headed corner monsters of Dustin Ackley/Rickie Weeks and Justin Ruggiano/Seth Smith are locks to make this roster. And as recently as Monday, Lloyd McClendon indicated that Rickie Weeks is even the primary backup at first base. We have five outfielders pretty much written in ink already.

There have been indications that the M's plan on carrying just seven bullpen arms heading into the season. Fernando Rodney, Danny Farquhar, Tom Wilhelmsen, Yoervis Medina, and Charlie Furbush are probably all locks. One of Domonic Leone or Carson Smith will make the team. That means they need one more lefty, and it's probably going to be one of David Rollins, Joe Saunders, Lucas Luetge, Rafael Perez, or some other non-roster-invitee surprise. And if you don't choose Rollins, the Rule 5 guy, he gets a one way plane ticket to Houston.

The rotation is what it is, but it's probably important to consider the fact that if they don't throw Erasmo Ramirez into the bullpen, he's gone. He's out of options and some other organization will surely snap him up. Hate on Ramirez all you want, but he's still just 25 and could start for many teams. His loss hurts our organizational depth in the rotation.

So, some napkin math:

Kyle Seager
Robinson Cano
Logan Morrison
Mike Zunino
Dustin Ackley
Austin Jackson
Nelson Cruz
Rickie Weeks
Seth Smith
Justin Ruggiano

Rotation:
Felix Hernandez
Hisashi Iwakuma
James Paxton
J.A. Happ
5th starter: Walker, Elias.

Bullpen:
Fernando Rodney
Danny Farquhar
Tom Wilhelmsen
Yoervis Medina
Charlie Furbush
Domonic Leone/Carson Smith
Lucas Luetge/David Rollins/Joe Saunders/Rafael Perez

Oh, and we need:
A backup catcher: Jesus Sucre or John Baker
A shortstop. Chris Taylor or Brad Miller

That's 24.

Which brings us in a long and somewhat rambling circuitous path to the real problem: It's not that Willie Bloomquist makes this team better, actually improving their ability to win games. It's that Willie Bloomquist is eating up a roster spot as some sort of organizational insurance policy -- that he can back up third and short and second and first and outfield.

But we don't need that anymore. Because:

We have five outfielders already. Five and a half if you count Nelson Cruz.

We have two backup second basemen playing left field.

We already don't need him at first base.

And because Chris Taylor and Brad Miller are both better than Bloomquist. Right now. Warts and all.

I fail to see the logic in sending one of Chris Taylor or Brad Miller to Tacoma to probably be very good and make bloggers gnash their teeth and be organizational depth when carrying Chris Taylor and Brad Miller is worth more to the Seattle Mariners win column in 2015 than carrying Bloomquist. Period.

Frankly, who is to say that Bloomquist could even handle shortstop duties if it became necessary anyway. Microfracture surgery is no small thing. It destroyed Grady Sizemore. You got to see what it did to Corey Hart. He may very well be able to field and throw the ball, but I don't particularly like the idea of watching him attempt to move laterally.

And therein may lie the short term solution. If you're not willing to cut Bloomquist at the end of Spring, send him to the 15-day disabled list to continue rehabbing his knee, do a rehab assignment of unspecified length in Tacoma, and see how things iron themselves out in April. Maybe someone gets hurt and you need Bloomquist.

If not, shake his hand and wish him the best.

Go M's.