The Royals scratched Willie Bloomquist from their lineup just before Monday afternoon’s game against Oakland. With good reason.
Bloomquist had just been traded to the Cincinnati Reds for a player to be named or cash considerations.
Bloomquist had been slated to play left field and bat second for the Royals. Instead, just a half hour before the game, he was in manager Ned Yost’s office being told of the trade.
A versatile player, Bloomquist was in his second season with the Royals and was batting .265 in 72 games with 10 doubles, a triple, three homers and 17 RBIs. He also stole eight bases in 13 tries.
Bloomquist got off to a slow start this season but, in 34 games since June 27, he was batting .311 (33-for-106). He had a nine-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday when he grounded out as a pinch-hitter. He also was hitting .355 (27-for-76) with runners on base as opposed to just .191 (18-for-94) with the bases empty.
This season Bloomquist played all three outfield positions as well as second base and third. In the past, he’s also played first base and shortstop.
Because of his ability to play virtually any position and run well, Bloomquist has been considered a natural for a National League team because of the more frequent lineup changes, use of pinch-hitters and double switches.
Now he gets his chance with the NL’s Central Division leaders after playing only in the American League with Seattle and the Royals. However, because the deal came after Aug. 31, he will not be eligible for postseason play with the Reds even if a player is injured. To replace a disabled player in the postseason, a player must have in that organization prior to Aug. 31.
At 32 and in his ninth Major League season, Bloomquist was a positive influence among the younger players on the team. Last season, after signing as a free agent with the Royals, he also batted .265 in 125 games, stole 25 bases and set career highs in virtually every category. He played every position except pitcher and catcher.