The switch-hitting Geoff Blum, who turns 38 in April, hit .267 with 22 runs scored, 10 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs, and 22 RBI in 93 games for the Houston Astros last season. He was signed primarily for his versatility on defense and his abilities as a pinch-hitter. Blum tied for fourth in the National League with 11 pinch-hit RBI and hit .333 (14-for-42) in that role. Blum has hit just .250 with one home run in 236 career pinch-hit at-bats, however. He compiled a .974 fielding percentage after appearing in 53 games (42 starts) between all four infield positions.
"The signing of Geoff Blum is the first step in identifying how we can improve Kirk Gibson's options off the bench next season," Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said. "Geoff is a veteran that can play nearly every position on the field while also having the experience of contributing to key situations late in the game as a pinch-hitter off of the bench."
Over parts of 12 seasons in the majors with the Montreal Expos, Tampa Bay Rays, San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox, and Astros, Blum posted a .251/.311/.385 rate stat line in 1,349 games. Since 2006, Blum ranks sixth in the National League with 43 pinch-hits and a .297 pinch-hit average, while his 59 pinch-hits since 2000 rank 10th among all major league hitters. He owns a .977 career fielding percentage, making a majority of his appearances (657 games) at third base. Since July 26, 2008, he has committed just 4 errors at third base and leads all big league third basemen with a .989 fielding percentage in that same time frame. Blum appeared at all four infield positions in nine straight seasons from 2000-08 and has made an appearance at every position except catcher, pitcher, and centerfield in his career.
In other news, Billy Ryan was hired to become assistant general manager for Kevin Towers. Ryan served as the senior coordinator of salary and contract administration with the Commissioner's Office. Also, Director of Player Development Rico Brogna resigned from his post a month after having been appointed to it. Replacing him is Mike Bell, who was Arizona's Minor League Field Coordinator last season.
"Mike has earned this opportunity after exhibiting tremendous character, passion, preparation, and leadership skills during his tenure in the D-backs' player development system," said Jerry Dipoto, the senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development. "He also brings the unique experiences gathered during a lifelong exposure to the game as a member of baseball's most respected families. We all respect Rico's decision to resign as Director, Player Development and wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Mike Bell is the brother of David Bell, son of Buddy Bell, and grandson of Gus Bell. The four Bells have combined to play 46 seasons in the major leagues.
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