Omar Vizquel Rumors

Omar Vizquel Wants To Play Another Season

Omar Vizquel wants to play a 24th Major League season in 2012, reports Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times.  The veteran infielder still believes he can contribute, though he doesn't believe he'll return for a third season with the White Sox.

"I would love to have an opportunity to play another year,'' Vizquel said. "I'm not expecting to play every day but I think I have the ability to play….When you don't win you have to make changes.  That's one of the reasons I doubt I will be here next year.''

Vizquel is hitting .245/.282/.294 in 178 plate appearances for the White Sox this season, splitting time at third, second and shortstop, with even one game played at first base.  The 13-time Gold Glover's once-legendary defense has fallen off according to UZR/150, though it's hard to properly gauge his fielding given the small sample size of playing time.

There's also a slim chance that Vizquel can reach the 3000-hit plateau for his career.  He currently has 2839 career hits (tied with Charlie Gehringer for 45th all-time), though since Vizquel has averaged just 60 hits a year since 2008, he would have to play until at least 2013 to join the 3000-hit club if he continues his current pace.

Oldest Current MLB Players

Generally speaking, young players tend to have athleticism, upside and a salary right around the MLB minimum. It’s no wonder that teams tend to gravitate to those players when constructing their rosters. There’s not much demand for aging, positionless sluggers in this era, yet a small group of older players are contributing to winning teams. In honor of Jason Giambi’s three-homer game, here’s a comprehensive list of every 40-plus player to don an MLB uniform in 2011:

  • Tim Wakefield (44) – The knuckleballer is once again a member of Boston's rotation. He has a 5.40 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 23 1/3 innings this year.
  • Omar Vizquel (44) – The active leader in games played is showing few signs of age. Vizquel isn't on this list for his bat, but his .327/.358/.388 line is excellent. The 11-time Gold Glove winner has played second, short and third this year.
  • Matt Stairs (43) – Stairs, who figures to DH in interleague play this weekend, needs to turn his season around. The New Brunswick native has just two hits and six walks in 28 plate appearances. Give Stairs credit for staying in the majors this long; Bryce Harper wasn’t even born when Stairs made his MLB debut with the ’92 Expos.
  • Takashi Saito (41) – Before hitting the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, Saito appeared in just two games for the Brewers.
  • Mariano Rivera (41) – How is Rivera this effective at 41? He leads the league in saves (13) and has a 1.80 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9. His average fastball still checks in at over 91 mph.
  • Arthur Rhodes (41) – Rhodes hasn't quite matched his 2010 performance so far, but a 3.97 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 isn't bad at any age.
  • Craig Counsell (40) – The 16-year veteran has a .234/.321/.255 line in 55 plate appearances at second, third, short and left field. Consider that the average MLB shortstop has a .254/.312/.361 line and Counsell's numbers look a little better.
  • Jason Giambi (40) – Giambi has an unusual .194/.306/.581 line after his three-homer game.
  • Miguel Batista (40) – Batista has a 1.69 ERA through 16 innings despite having an equal number of walks and strikeouts (9).
  • Darren Oliver (40) – Oliver has a 2.95 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9 in 18 1/3 innings of relief. He and Rhodes provide the Rangers with a pair of dependable lefty relievers.
  • Jim Thome (40) – After a tremendous 2010 season, Thome's numbers have fallen off and he has spent time on the disabled list. He hit a pair of homers and posted a .214/.333/.375 line before hitting the DL with an oblique strain.

Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Uggla, Rollins, Giants, Upton

On this date 20 years ago, a 26-year-old Barry Bonds took home his first National League MVP Award thanks to a .301/.406/.565 season with the Pirates. He went on to win the award again in 1992, his final season in Pittsburgh, and then five more times with the Giants. The latter part of Bonds' career was clouded by PED allegations, but he did hit .301/.424/.566 in his final three seasons with the Pirates and .305/.438/.600 with far more unintentional walks (825) than strikeouts (685) from 1990-1998, age 26-34. Barry could have retired at that point and waltzed into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Here's a look at the best the baseball blogosphere had to offer this week…

If you have a suggestion for this feature, Mike can be reached here.

White Sox Re-Sign Omar Vizquel

The White Sox re-signed infielder Omar Vizquel to a one-year deal, according to the team's Twitter feed.  The deal is worth $1.75MM, tweets's Scott Merkin.

Vizquel, 44 in April, hit .276/.341/.331 in 391 plate appearances for the White Sox this year while earning $1.375MM.  The 14-time Gold Glove winner logged innings at second base, shortstop, and third base.

Third Base Options For The Indians

Indians GM Chris Antonetti told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that finding a third baseman will be one of his main jobs this winter. Here’s a look at needs, options and possible solutions for the Tribe:

The Goal

It would make sense to sign someone who can play third for a year while Jared Goedert and Lonnie Chisenhall develop into major league regulars. Goedert, 25, batted .283/.358/.532 with 27 homers in the upper minors this year. Chisenhall, who turned 22 this week, had a strong season at Double-A, but likely needs seasoning. 

Antonetti told Hoynes that he’d like to see improved infield defense next year, so free agents who can hold their own at the hot corner will appeal to Cleveland's front office.

The Options

Jayson Nix, Cord Phelps, Luis Valbuena and Andy Marte are internal options for the Indians, but none of the four have guarantees and it seems more likely that the Indians will add someone from outside the organization.

Adrian Beltre is a fantastic defender, but he has set himself up for a long-term deal and the Indians are probably not looking to make a long-term commitment to a third baseman given their minor league depth at the position.

Lots of other third basemen hit free agency this winter; the Indians could approach Jorge Cantu, Melvin Mora, Miguel Tejada, Brandon Inge or Juan Uribe about a deal. All of those players should draw interest from multiple teams – Inge has discussed a deal with the Tigers – but there should be plenty of alternatives.

Joe Crede has a reputation as a good defender and could look to return next year after sitting out the 2010 season. Felipe Lopez and Pedro Feliz could also be considerations for the Tribe, but, like Crede, both come with question marks.

Kevin KouzmanoffJose Lopez and Edwin Encarnacion are all non-tender candidates and could be available via trade or, by December, free agency.

A Possible Solution

The Indians have lots of choice, but here’s one solution I’d like to see: longtime Indian Omar Vizquel paired with Edwin Encarnacion (if he’s non-tendered). Vizquel, a switch-hitter who handles right-handers better than left-handers, could face tough righties and be a late-game defensive replacement at third and short. Encarnacion, who mashes lefties, could start against all southpaws and lots of right-handers. 

The Indians may not have the chance to sign either player and even if they’re both available, there are surer ways for Antonetti to improve his infield defense than combining a 44-year-old with someone who has played below average defense in every season of his career (Encarnacion’s career UZR/150 is -11.7).

But Vizquel can still get on base (.341 OBP in 2010) and play all around the infield and Encarnacion definitely has power. It’s one fun option to think about, even if the Jays decide Encarnacion is worth $5-6MM in arbitration and Vizquel re-signs with the White Sox.

White Sox Notes: Pierzynski, Manny, Vizquel

Though they fell short of the playoffs, the White Sox won 88 games this year.  Notes from yesterday:

Odds & Ends: Hart, Cox, Giambi, Pierzynski

Links for Tuesday night, as the Rays, Yankees and Reds clinch playoff berths…

Omar Vizquel Wants To Play In 2011

Back in May, Omar Vizquel told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times that he'd probably retire unless he finished the season well.  Three months later, with the White Sox in a pennant race and Vizquel getting regular playing time, the veteran shortstop sounded as if he's ready to stick around in another chat with Cowley.

"I think it would be sad that if at the end of the season I look back, look at my year, and say, 'Man, I don't think I can do this anymore,' " Vizquel said.  "Taking a look at the numbers and the things that I have done this year, it will give me a good possibility to come back next year and try and see if a team is interested in wanting me again.''

Entering tonight's action, Vizquel has a .283/.349/.341 slash line in 259 plate appearances for Chicago.  While the .690 OPS is modest, it would represent Vizquel's best season since the .749 OPS he posted in 2006 as San Francisco's everyday shortstop.  Vizquel has played mostly third base for the Sox this season filling in for the injured Mark Teahen, and has made five of six starts at third since Teahen returned from the DL last week. 

Vizquel signed a one-year, $1.375MM contract with Chicago last winter and would certainly sign a similar pact with the White Sox or another club if he chooses to return for his 23rd major league campaign.  If he does come back, Vizquel will continue his surprising ascent up baseball's all-time hits leaderboard.  Though Vizquel is known for his defense (he's an 11-time Gold Glover), he is also 49th all-time with 2768 hits heading into Thursday.  He'll already pass Hall-of-Famer Andre Dawson (2774 hits) and future HOF-er Ken Griffey Jr. (2781) before this season is out. 

Rockies May Pursue Infield Depth

Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports reports that the Rockies received some bad news today, finding out Troy Tulowitzki has broken his left wrist and will likely miss at least the next six weeks. While the Rockies can't hope to sufficiently replace their superstar's production, GM Dan O'Dowd said the team may look into trading for infield depth, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Yesterday, we examined another club that might need a shortstop: the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels have since expressed optimism about Erick Aybar's health, meaning an infield acquisition probably won't be necessary. However, many of the same names we mentioned as possibilities for the Halos could be options for the Rockies. Stephen Drew is an unlikely target for a team in need of a stopgap solution, but the Rockies could look at players like Adam Everett, Cesar Izturis, Omar Vizquel, and Ryan Theriot.

In the meantime, former first-round pick Chris Nelson has been called up to replace Tulowitzki on the roster, and Clint Barmes and Jonathan Herrera should see increased playing time. If they're unable to contribute more offensively than they have to date, the Rockies could be forced to make a move.

Odds & Ends: Loe, Baldelli, Vizquel, Hill

Links for Tuesday, as catcher Chris Iannetta rejoins the Rockies after a torrid Triple A stint