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Omar Vizquel Rumors
We touched on some American League notes late last night, but here are a few more for the morning:
- After a solid start to his tenure with the Twins' Triple-A affiliate, recently-acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez has earned a (brief) call-up to the bigs, writes Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (passing on a report from the Rochester Chronicle and Democrat). Nunez will get the chance to be the team's 26th player for the second game of today's doubleheader before going back to the minors on Friday, though it seems quite possible he'll get a real shot with the MLB club at some point given Pedro Florimon's struggles.
- The Tigers' search for a replacement at shortstop led them to ask 46-year-old Omar Vizquel if he was interested in making a comeback, reports Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. "They asked me if I'd like to come and take some grounders," said Vizquel. "I said, 'No, I've been retired for two years.'"
- Scott Cousins will not exactly be continuing his career as a baseball outfielder when he joins the Rangers, reports Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. The 29-year-old will head to extended spring training, where he will try to convert into a left-handed pitcher.
- The latest in the Athletics' ballpark situation has focused on the possibility of a ten-year lease extension at the O.co Coliseum. As Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com reports, A's co-owner Lew Wolff says the club would be willing to make over $10MM in stadium improvements if such a deal were struck. (Of course, for those who follow ballpark funding issues, that outlay will seem a relative drop in the bucket.)
MLB.com's Bill Ladson runs down some potential replacements for departed Nationals third base coach Trent Jewett. Two of the names (Sam Perlozzo and Mike Quade) have both served as big league managers in the past. Here's more on the various coaching vacancies from around the league…
- The Padres have promoted Dave Roberts to bench coach and Jose Valentin will take over as the club's new first base coach, MLB.com's Corey Brock reports. Roberts had served as San Diego's first base coach for the past three seasons and has been with the organization since 2010. Valentin managed the Padres' Class A affiliate in Fort Wayne for the past two seasons.
- Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times confirms multiple reports out of Venezuela that the Tigers have hired Omar Vizquel as their first base coach (Twitter link). Vizquel, 46, spent 2013 as a roving infield instructor with the Angels and last played in the bigs with Toronto in 2012. The owner of 11 Gold Gloves, Vizquel is widely regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops of all time. It's tough to imagine the Tigers finding a better mentor for Rookie of the Year runner-up Jose Iglesias.
- The Pirates announced that they have promoted Jeff Branson to hitting coach and added Jim Livesey the the Major League coaching staff. Branson, 46, has spent 12 seasons in the Pirates organization, serving five years as a minor league hitting coach and five as a minor league manager. In 2013, he worked with hitting coach Jay Bell on the Major League staff and assisted in the implementation of the team's hitting program. Livesey, 47, has 11 total years of experience in the Pirates' system. He took a five-year hiatus to coach in Japan in the middle of that stretch but has been the team's minor league hitting coordinator for the past three seasons.
The two teams representing the Greater Los Angeles area appear to be on collision course for a World Series matchup given the depth of their respective rosters. From the Dodgers adding arguably one of the most dominant pitchers in the game (Zack Greinke) to the Angels bolstering their already powerful lineup with the bat of Josh Hamilton, both teams have their eyes set on October. Here's the latest from around Tinseltown.
- Omar Vizquel finds himself at a Spring Training camp for the 25th year in a row, but this time he'll be the one leading instruction as he transitions from player to coach, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The potential future Hall of Famer begins the journey from coach to manager as the Angels' roving infield instructor.
- Ryan Theriot's possible return to the Giants remains unlikely given the veteran's desire for increased playing time, specifically, as a starter, says Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Gate (via Twitter). Theriot, 33, posted a .270/.316/.321 batting line in 104 games with the Giants in 2012.
- Zack Greinke spoke with reporters on Friday about dealing with anxiety issues that nearly derailed his career back when he was a rookie in 2006, writes Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register. "I haven't really had a problem with any of it since 2007," Greinke said. "I don't really think about it ever anymore. It was just [taking] the medicine. It really was."
The Angels have hired Omar Vizquel as a roving infield instructor in their organization, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez reports (Twitter link). Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove winner, said last summer that he was hoping to get into coaching or managing once he retired from playing. Vizquel hung up the cleats after a 24-year career that saw him amass 2877 career hits, good for 40th on the all-time list.
Here's the latest from around the AL West…
- Athletics GM Billy Beane tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the A's have no interest in trading Brandon Moss. Cafardo opines that Moss' left-handed bat and his ability to play both first and the outfield makes him an "ideal" fit for the Red Sox.
- The Mariners didn't find much interest in John Jaso at the trade deadline last summer and shopped the catcher for much of the offseason, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times. The M's attempted to deal Jaso to the Pirates in exchange for Garrett Jones and explored sending the catcher to Arizona as part of a possible Justin Upton trade before finally sending Jaso to the Athletics as part of a three-way deal with the Nationals.
- Also from Baker, he opines that the Mariners have the money and the minor league depth to afford signing Michael Bourn and withstand losing the #12 overall draft pick as compensation.
- The Angels' minor league system projects as one of the worst in the game and MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez looks at how it happened, including such factors as the team's lack of international scouting and lackluster 2010 draft. One bright side for L.A. is that their farm system is currently shallow because so many homegrown prospects have made their way to the Angels' big league roster.
- The Astros are approaching their rebuild in the right way, writes Jeff Moore of The Hardball Times, by off-loading all veteran talent from their Major League roster and adding much-needed depth to their farm system.
- In division news from earlier today, the Mariners reached an agreement with Kelly Shoppach, the Angels avoided arbitration with Kevin Jepsen and we posted a collection of Rangers notes.
On this date back in 2000, the Blue Jays gave Carlos Delgado the richest contract in baseball history in terms of average annual value, a four-year pact worth $17MM per year. Delgado hit .282/.405/.555 with 146 homers during the life of the deal. Here's the latest from his former division, the AL East…
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post hears that Robinson Cano is seeking a ten-year contract at "top-of-the-market dollars." The Yankees will retain Cano for 2013 with their $15MM club option, but it's unclear if they will break team policy to discuss an extension before he hits free agency.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos and manager John Farrell didn't always see eye-to-eye, reports Bob Elliott of The Toronto Sun. He says Farrell wanted to release Omar Vizquel in July and wasn't pleased the club didn't acquire starting pitching at the deadline. The Jays and Red Sox are currently making progress in talks to send Farrell to Boston.
- Raul Ibanez told reporters (including Kristie Ackert of The New York Daily News) that he is "not even thinking about" free agency at the moment. The 40-year-old hit .240/.308/.453 in 425 plate appearances for the Yankees this season, including a number of huge homers in the postseason.
- The Red Sox must focus on quality over quantity in their search for starting pitching this offseason, writes Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. Four of the team's five rotation spots already seem to be accounted for, so there is room for a high-end arm.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com wrote about the Orioles' second base job, which is up in the air. Brian Roberts is still recovering from hip surgery, and both Robert Andino and Omar Quintanilla are non-tender candidates.
- Meanwhile, Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com lists five players the Orioles should look to sign long-term, including Jim Johnson and Matt Wieters.
Here's a look at the latest out of the AL and NL East..
- Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles isn't thrilled about his reduced role but still hopes to remain in Boston next season, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Despite that, Aviles insists that he won't dwell too much on his baseball future as a great deal of his focus will remain on his family at home.
- Blue Jays shortstop Omar Vizquel made it known earlier this summer that 2012 will be his final major league season and the 45-year-old hasn't had a change of heart. The veteran reiterated today that he plans on retiring as a player effective Wednesday, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- In a session today with Spanish-language reporters, Marlins skipper Ozzie Guillen opined that it would be unfair if he is dismissed after just one season at the helm in Miami, writes Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post. Earlier this week, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote that Guillen's job appears to be in "serious peril".
- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told ESPN 98.7's Michael Kay that he wished he had listened to a particular piece of advice from former pitcher Al Leiter over the winter, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. Leiter later told Kay that his advice was to work to get pitcher Josh Beckett on his side as he can be difficult at times. Beckett, of course, would later be a part of the club's massive payroll purge in their deal with the Dodgers.
There are currently 52 starting pitchers on the disabled list, and it’s costing teams money as well as production, Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports (Twitter links). Executives estimate teams will spend $500MM on injured players this year, so let’s hope they took out some insurance. Here are today’s links…
- Blue Jays infielder Omar Vizquel wants to manage at the MLB level next year, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports. The 45-year-old 11-time Gold Glove winner said he'd like to manager close to his Seattle area home or for a team with which he has pre-existing ties. As Morosi points out, Mike Matheny and Robin Ventura are doing just fine this year despite their relative inexperience managing professionally.
- Orioles outfielder Endy Chavez will report to Triple-A early next week, according to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli (Twitter links). Chavez decided to stay in the organization instead of electing free agency, and the Orioles expect him to be back with the MLB team by the time rosters expand in September.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wonders if Travis Hafner’s tenure with the Indians could be over now that he’s on the disabled list and his contract is about to expire.
After stating last month that he is "51 percent" sure that he will retire, Blue Jays shortstop Omar Vizquel now seems certain that he will call it a career after the 2012 season. The 45-year-old told Didier Morais of NESN.com that he hopes to stay connected to the game after his playing days are through.
"This will be my last year," Vizquel said in Spanish. "I've enjoyed this game a lot, but I think it's time to pursue a new career as a coach or manager, and hopefully I'll get that opportunity in the future."
This season will be the finale of Vizquel's 24-year career, during which he earned eleven Gold Gloves and three All-Star nods. The shortstop spent time with the Mariners, Indians, Giants, Rangers, and White Sox throughout his career, including two World Series appearances with Cleveland. Baseball-Reference estimates that he has earned roughly $62.5MM dating back to his 1989 rookie season.
Infielder Omar Vizquel openly wondered why more older players don't sign minor league contracts and try to win jobs back in Spring Training, though it appears as though he won't do that himself next year. Vizquel told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that this season is likely to be his last as a player.
“I think this is going to be it for me,” he said. “This is going to be my last year.”
Vizquel, 45, did qualify the statement by saying he's only "51% sure" he will call it a career after 2012. He has one single and one walk in a dozen plate appearances for the Blue Jays this year, who signed him to a minor league deal back in January. This is Vizquel's 24th season in the big leagues and the Jays are his sixth team. He has indicated a desire to coach once he hands up the spikes.
A few odds and ends to pass along from the AL East. For more news out of the division, be sure to check out this afternoon's earlier post.
- The Yankees and catcher Russell Martin have decided to table extension talks until after the season, writes Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com. Martin, 29, is eligible for free agency after this season, and is apparently seeking more than the three years and $20MM the Yankees were willing to offer, as reported by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington addressed his club's shortstop situation today, according to the Associated Press: "[W]e feel good about the mix that we have, and we'll certainly keep our eyes open if there are ways to improve that. But right now we're focused on the guys we have." The current starting candidates are Nick Punto, Mike Aviles and, less likely, Jose Iglesias.
- Blue Jays infielder Omar Vizquel passed on an offer to manage a winter league team in his native Venezuela so that he could focus on playing in the Majors for what is presumably a final season, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Davidi adds that Vizquel, signed to a minor league deal this offseason, is the favorite to claim the backup infielder's role with the Jays. Vizquel also says managing is likely in his future.