New General Manager Kevin Towers suggested his two areas of focus would be to rebuild the beleaguered bullpen and add a veteran presence on the bench. Reports are now suggesting that Towers may have begun that process by reaching out to the representatives for free agent Jeff Blum.
Blum, who is 37 years old, played for the Houston Astros last season hitting .267 in 93 games including two home runs and 22 RBI. Blum has been a utility man for most of his career playing all four infield positions and could play some outfield as well.
Blum played for the San Diego Padres during Towers tenure and the GM is very familiar with Blum’s skill set and what he brings to the clubhouse.
“His intangibles … he adds experience to our bench; he can play about every position,” Towers said. “He’s a weapon late in the game and will help Kirk out a lot.”
Last season the Diamondbacks relied upon young players such as Rusty Ryal, Ryan Roberts, and Tony Abreu to come off the bench as pinch hitters. Towers has expressed a desire to have a seasoned veteran handle those duties.
The contract with Blum is for two years for $2.7 million. With the signing of Blum the Diamondbacks are expected to part ways with fan-favorite Augie Ojeda who held a similar role the last three years in Arizona.
Comparing the two, Blum has better power numbers. Both are switch hitters and are relatively the same age – Ojeda’s birthday is December 1974 while Blum’s is April 1973.
While this is not the type of signing that will garner a lot of press, it is yet another step in rebuilding the roster to be stronger than has been the case the previous two seasons.