The venerable Geoff Blum signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is among a growing group of baseball geezers that have signed in recent days. Jose Contreras, the 39 year old Cuban refuge just signed with the Phillies to again man their bullpen, a job he did real well last year. Omar Vizquel signed with the White Sox. He is 44. Huroki Karoda, 36, just signed back with the Dodgers. And 35 year old Ramon Hernandez signed with the Reds again. Is signing an old guy like Geoff Blum to play in his twelfth season worth it for the Diamondbacks?
On one hand, a guy like Blum is nice to have around because he can play anywhere. He played short, first, second and third in 2010. He has played the outfield a few times in seasons before last. But he only plays third well. His fielding there at his natural position is quite good. But he's a terrible shortstop, a less than adequate first baseman and has negative fielding metrics for any position he's played except third. He must be a talented hitter then?
The good news is that Blum doesn't strike out that much. That is really good news for the Diamondbacks in particular. He gets his share of walks. He has hit as many as 14 homers in a season. But the bad news is that his lifetime slash line is: .251/.311/.385. In other words, nothing to write home about. There are worse hitters in baseball, particularly with utility guys. But is Blum a utility guy for the Diamondbacks?
It seems obvious that the Diamondbacks have fouled on Mark Reynolds. Rumors that they are trying to trade him have surfaced repeatedly. But Blue really shouldn't be an every day player and he certainly isn't the type of player to replace Reynolds. This Fan can see replacing Reynolds with Adrian Beltre, but not Blum.
On the other hand, the Diamondbacks' best young talent at third were drafted in 2009 and are 20 years old. They won't be ready for a while. While Blum isn't exciting as a free agent sign, he wouldn't be a terrible place holder. He wouldn't be a great one either. But until he is traded, Reynolds is the every day third baseman.