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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Toronto Blue Jays add veteran infielder Omar Vizquel to major-league roster

Career Hits: Pudge Rodriguez - 2844 ~ Omar Vizquel - 2841.

When Omar Vizquel made the cut for his first major-league team, the Seattle Mariners in 1989, Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos was an 11-year-old elementary school student.

Twenty-three years later, Vizquel has made enough of an impression on his 34-year-old boss to earn a spot as a backup infielder in the Jays’ opening-day lineup.

“He did everything we would have hoped for,” Anthopoulos said, after announcing the roster decision.

...“Omar’s here as a player first and foremost,” Anthopoulos insisted. “Those other things are just an added bonus. . . . He had a very good camp and he deserved to be on the team.”

Only twice between 1993 and 2006 did Vizquel not win a Gold Glove as the top defensive player at his position. When he turns 45 on April 25, he will be the oldest player ever to play shortstop in the major leagues.

“He’s a winner,” Anthopoulos said. “He’s a pro.”

Repoz Posted: March 28, 2012 at 08:12 PM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, history

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   1. cmd600 Posted: March 28, 2012 at 08:28 PM (#4091805)
Translation: his only competition was Luis Valbuena.
   2. frannyzoo Posted: March 28, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4091814)
Translation: I am more of a Blue Jays fan. Attack the Big Three Omar and Crew! Attack!
   3. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: March 28, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4091824)
When he turns 45 on April 25, he will be the oldest player ever to play shortstop in the major leagues.


On several levels, this is not necessarily accurate.
   4. TerpNats Posted: March 28, 2012 at 08:55 PM (#4091833)
Congrats to Omar. Is he the last big leaguer to have played in the old Comiskey Park? (Jamie Moyer may have pitched there in a Cubs-Chisox exhibition game, but I don't think he was in the AL before 1990.)
   5. Davo Dozier (Mastroianni) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4091836)
I'm assuming the Blue Jays are going to have 13 hitters on their roster.

And 2 of them are Omar Vizquel and Jeff Mathis?
   6. Lassus Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:03 PM (#4091844)
Ryan Jones' prayers have been answered.
   7. Boileryard Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:04 PM (#4091846)
Congrats to Omar. Is he the last big leaguer to have played in the old Comiskey Park?

I don't know on that one, but he's the last active major leaguer to have played at Exhibition Stadium. A couple of current Blue Jays weren't even alive when the Ex was in use by the team.
   8. Into the Void Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:06 PM (#4091847)
Who retires first, Omar or Moyer?
   9. flournoy Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:20 PM (#4091863)
Moyer pitched for the Rangers in 1989 and 1990. He pitched in two games in relief at old Comiskey Park on April 30th and May 1st of 1990. Got the loss in the first of the two.
   10. Shock Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:20 PM (#4091864)
On several levels, this is not necessarily accurate.


1. He's not guaranteed to live that long (no one is.)
2. He's not guaranteed to be playing SS in MLB on April 25 (he's played an astonishing 18 games at SS the last two years.)
3. He will likely become the oldest player to play SS much before April 25th, since Bobby Wallace's last game was two months before his 45th birthday (and he may or may not have played SS in that game.)

Am I missing any?
   11. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:20 PM (#4091865)
Congrats to Omar. Is he the last big leaguer to have played in the old Comiskey Park? (Jamie Moyer may have pitched there in a Cubs-Chisox exhibition game, but I don't think he was in the AL before 1990.)


Moyer played there in 1990 with the Rangers.
   12. Shock Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4091872)
And 2 of them are Omar Vizquel and Jeff Mathis?


Or in other words, 11 hitters and two caddies. And the 11 hitters could be pretty damned good. I am cautiously optimistic about an Escobar/Lawrie/Bautista/EE/Rasmus core. The Jays are like 22-3 in spring training! La-la-la-i-cant-hear-you-la-la-la
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:27 PM (#4091876)
Career Hits: Pudge Rodriguez - 2844 ~ Omar Vizquel - 2841.

Might take Vizquel all year to catch Pudge but kudos for trying.
   14. Shock Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4091896)
Oldest players to play MORE than 1 game in a season, by position:

C: Grover Hartley, 46
1B: Julio Franco, 48
2B: Arlie Latham, 49
SS: Booby Wallace/Omar Vizquel, 44
3B: Julio Franco, 48
LF: Rickey Henderson, 44
CF: Sam Rice, 43 (beats Rickey by a week)
RF: Sam Thompson, 46
   15. RJ in TO Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:03 PM (#4091907)
Ryan Jones' prayers have been answered.

I have no problem with this. He's perfectly acceptable as a back-up middle infielder, and can also act as a quasi-coach.
   16. Gonfalon B. Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:32 PM (#4091935)
SS: Booby Wallace/Omar Vizquel, 44

Yeah, but Booby was sagging by that point.
   17. bigglou115 Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:46 PM (#4091947)
Oldest players to play MORE than 1 game in a season, by position:

C: Grover Hartley, 46
1B: Julio Franco, 48
2B: Arlie Latham, 49
SS: Booby Wallace/Omar Vizquel, 44
3B: Julio Franco, 48
LF: Rickey Henderson, 44
CF: Sam Rice, 43 (beats Rickey by a week)
RF: Sam Thompson, 46


You know, I bet Franco could still play. He was in better shape as a near 50 year old than most rookies are these days. Wait... he's still alive right?
   18. Lassus Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:54 PM (#4091952)
I have no problem with this.

Well, geez, where's the fun in THAT?
   19. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 29, 2012 at 12:14 AM (#4092003)
Omar Vizquel (and Jamie Moyer?) will be the only major leaguer(s) who was (were) alive the last time there was a winning team in Washington DC.
(Arthur Rhodes and Mariano Rivera were born shortly after the 1969 World Series)
   20. DanG Posted: March 29, 2012 at 12:18 AM (#4092005)
Players with 2500+ hits and 1500+ G at SS

Rk              Player    H OPS+    PA From   To   Age
1         Honus Wagner 3420  150 11748 1897 1917 23
-43
2           Cal Ripken 3184  112 12883 1981 2001 20
-40
3          Derek Jeter 3088  117 11155 1995 2011 21
-37
4         Omar Vizquel 2841   82 11850 1989 2011 22
-44
5         Luke Appling 2749  113 10254 1930 1950 23
-43
6        Luis Aparicio 2677   82 11230 1956 1973 22
-39
7    Rabbit Maranville 2605   82 11256 1912 1935 20
-43 
   21. Shock Posted: March 29, 2012 at 01:10 AM (#4092012)
Gregg Zaun was on the Canucks broadcast of tonight's game for some unknown reason and despite the fact that he hasn't turned 41 yet, he looked like he was about a million years old.

It's remarkable that these guys can play a
   22. jingoist Posted: March 29, 2012 at 03:13 AM (#4092031)
I am completely ignorant about the Jays minor league players but isn't there some one that could be gaining valuable MLB experience but is being blocked by a 45 year old former fielding wiz who is now, and has been for some time, a liability with a bat in his hand?
   23. Greg K Posted: March 29, 2012 at 03:16 AM (#4092032)
I have no problem with this. He's perfectly acceptable as a back-up middle infielder, and can also act as a quasi-coach.

Since I'm assuming he's taking Mike McCoy's spot on the roster, it's hard to get too worked up over it.
   24. Shock Posted: March 29, 2012 at 03:25 AM (#4092033)
I am completely ignorant about the Jays minor league players but isn't there some one that could be gaining valuable MLB experience but is being blocked by a 45 year old former fielding wiz who is now, and has been for some time, a liability with a bat in his hand?


It's not like he's going to be playing every day. Whatever person you're describing is probably better off playing every day in AAA then playing once a week as a defensive replacement like Vizquel will be doing.
   25. Greg K Posted: March 29, 2012 at 05:52 AM (#4092045)
It's not like he's going to be playing every day. Whatever person you're describing is probably better off playing every day in AAA then playing once a week as a defensive replacement like Vizquel will be doing.

The only middle-infield prospect I can think of is Hechevarria, and I definitely want him playing everyday as he needs to learn how to hit a baseball.
   26. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: March 29, 2012 at 06:22 AM (#4092052)
1. He's not guaranteed to live that long (no one is.)
2. He's not guaranteed to be playing SS in MLB on April 25 (he's played an astonishing 18 games at SS the last two years.)
3. He will likely become the oldest player to play SS much before April 25th, since Bobby Wallace's last game was two months before his 45th birthday (and he may or may not have played SS in that game.)

Am I missing any?


His birthday is actually April 24.
   27. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 29, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4092124)
And 2 of them are Omar Vizquel and Jeff Mathis?


I have no problem with Vizquel, but I have no clue why they didn't just keep Molina if they were going to turn around and get Mathis. Mathis should not be in MLB, and probably never should have been in the first place.

Like someone mentioned, Vizquel is more valuable to the team than Mike McCoy.
   28. cmd600 Posted: March 29, 2012 at 09:41 AM (#4092127)
He's perfectly acceptable as a back-up middle infielder, and can also act as a quasi-coach.


You're going to throw 200-250 PAs down the drain, and he probably shouldn't really be playing shortstop anymore. I know we have low standards for 25th man on the roster, but I'd think you can get a little bit more at back-up middle infielder just off the waiver wire.

And if you want someone to coach, then hire him as a coach.
   29. formerly dp Posted: March 29, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4092257)
I have no problem with Vizquel, but I have no clue why they didn't just keep Molina if they were going to turn around and get Mathis. Mathis should not be in MLB, and probably never should have been in the first place.

There are some terrible backup catchers going into the season. Mathis should be your 3rd option, not your first. Same with Mike Nickeas, who the Mets are carrying to spell Thole. I-Rod is still looking for a job. And I can't remember is Paulino latched on with anyone, but he'd be better too.

You're going to throw 200-250 PAs down the drain, and he probably shouldn't really be playing shortstop anymore. I know we have low standards for 25th man on the roster, but I'd think you can get a little bit more at back-up middle infielder just off the waiver wire.

Vizquel didn't hit well last year, but he had a good 2010.
   30. cmd600 Posted: March 29, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4092269)
Vizquel didn't hit well last year, but he had a good 2010.


And he didn't hit well from 2007-2009. Sure, maybe he can run into a +.300 BABIP again though.
   31. RJ in TO Posted: March 29, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4092283)
You're going to throw 200-250 PAs down the drain, and he probably shouldn't really be playing shortstop anymore. I know we have low standards for 25th man on the roster, but I'd think you can get a little bit more at back-up middle infielder just off the waiver wire.


Hey, I'm not saying he's fantastic, and it's some sort of steal that we were able to sign him. Rather I'm just saying that, as far as backup infield guys go, he's perfectly adequate. After all, while he can't hit, he's taking John McDonald's role from last year (who can't hit), over Mike McCoy (who can't hit), or Luis Valbuena (who also can't hit). With any of those guys, you'd also be throwing those same 200-250 PA down the drain. If any of the options for the backup infield position were actually competent hitters, they wouldn't be options for the backup infield position - they'd be starting in the middle infield somewhere else.
   32. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: March 29, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4092362)
You know, I bet Franco could still play. He was in better shape as a near 50 year old than most rookies are these days. Wait... he's still alive right?


He's in the best shape of his life.

   33. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: March 29, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4092369)
I made it another year. Both Vazquel and Moyer are older than I am. But I'd better enjoy it.
   34. formerly dp Posted: March 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM (#4092378)
Hey, I'm not saying he's fantastic, and it's some sort of steal that we were able to sign him. Rather I'm just saying that, as far as backup infield guys go, he's perfectly adequate. After all, while he can't hit, he's taking John McDonald's role from last year (who can't hit), over Mike McCoy (who can't hit), or Luis Valbuena (who also can't hit). With any of those guys, you'd also be throwing those same 200-250 PA down the drain. If any of the options for the backup infield position were actually competent hitters, they wouldn't be options for the backup infield position - they'd be starting in the middle infield somewhere else.

Yeah, and it's probably worth taking into account that the Jays have an infield that hasn't spent a ton of time as a unit. If he can hit as "well" as McDonald or McCoy, while coaching the young-ish infielders, I don't see the issue. Plus, if it's really going that badly, and the Jays look they they're playing for something (!), they can kick the tires for an upgrade mid-season.
   35. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: March 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4092382)
Valbuena hasn't in the bigs, but has in the minors and his projections outstrip the other candidates offensively. (ZiPS, for example, says: Valbuena 84, McDonald 73, McCoy 68, Vizquel bursitis). Plus Valbuena is quite a bit younger than those other guys (26 this year) and a lot more left handed every year (which is to say he is). [Alas for him, Kelly Johnson is as well and second is Valbuena's best position.]
   36. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: March 29, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4092389)
You're going to throw 200-250 PAs down the drain, and he probably shouldn't really be playing shortstop anymore. I know we have low standards for 25th man on the roster, but I'd think you can get a little bit more at back-up middle infielder just off the waiver wire.


Well, let's go around the league and see who other teams employed as a backup middle infielder last year.

Rays - Elliot Johnson 68 OPS+

TOR - Mike McCoy 53

DET - carlos Guillen 71 and Will Rhymes 65

KCR - All 4 middle infielders, starters and backups, had OPS+s between 68 and 78

MIN - Luke Hughes 74

TEX - Andres Blanco 58

OAK - Eric Sogard 56

SEA - Jack Wilson 65

That's half the AL. More than half if you include the White Sox and Omar. It's not like the league is awash in good hitting backup middle infielders.
   37. formerly dp Posted: March 29, 2012 at 01:03 PM (#4092390)
[Alas for him, Kelly Johnson is as well and second is Valbuena's best position.]

This is actually a significant issue-- there's a decent chance that Johnson will suck again this year. Although last year was his bad year, so we should be able to pencil him in for a 110 OPS+. Having a backup plan with KJ seems pretty prudent.
   38. cmd600 Posted: March 29, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4092415)
36 - the majority of those guys are still considered shortstops, which as #10 shows, Vizquel really isn't anymore. I'm not saying you have to find someone who can hit, just that you don't have to give up the glove too.
   39. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 29, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4092436)
the majority of those guys are still considered shortstops, which as #10 shows, Vizquel really isn't anymore.


The fact that Vizquel didn't play much SS the last two years is in large part a function of the team he was on the last two years. Alexei Ramirez played 156 and 158 games the last two years and was one of the better SS in the American League both years. Vizquel played more 2B and 3B because that's where the White Sox had more need for their utility infielder to play.
   40. Swedish Chef Posted: March 29, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4092440)
Am I missing any?

He lied about his age and is actually 49, and the record is already his.
   41. Jason Michael(s) Bourn Identity Crisis Posted: March 29, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4092458)
Valbuena hasn't in the bigs, but has in the minors and his projections outstrip the other candidates offensively.
But he is nearly unplayable at shortstop, every bit as awful as Jose Offerman was in the 90s. Vizquel might still be average there; it wouldn't surprise me at all.
   42. formerly dp Posted: March 29, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4092462)
While we're on the subject of Jay infielders, what are the organization's plans for Hechevarria? Do people think he can ever hit enough to unseat Escobar? The Jays might have a logjam in the OF, especially if Rasmus can reconstruct himself, but they don't seem to have a ton on the way up in the middle infield.
   43. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: March 29, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4092464)
Valbuena has been bad as a big leaguer - 250 innings, mostly in '09, with a .938 FA and below average range. However, he'd only played 10 games as a pro at short at that point (all in '06). Last season with Columbus, in his first shot at starting at the position, he fielded .978* (with likely below average range). ZiPS projects him at Fr/106 - which, if true - is definitely playable.


* A higher percentage than Offerman ever posted at short, at any level.
   44. madvillain Posted: March 29, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4092466)
The fact that Vizquel didn't play much SS the last two years is in large part a function of the team he was on the last two years. Alexei Ramirez played 156 and 158 games the last two years and was one of the better SS in the American League both years. Vizquel played more 2B and 3B because that's where the White Sox had more need for their utility infielder to play.


This is true, but Omar can't play SS any longer, not at a major league level. Ramirez's iron man status is independent of Omar's ability to play the position.

Vizquel cannot play SS, cannot play 2B, and plays a passable 3rd. He will be lucky to hit his weight. His ISO might be less than his age. I dunno why teams keep him around. He was a major negative for the White Sox last year, among many others for sure, but he's no longer a big league player.
   45. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 29, 2012 at 03:47 PM (#4092480)
Madvillain, you have neglected to address his winnerness and proness.
   46. Greg K Posted: March 29, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4092512)
While we're on the subject of Jay infielders, what are the organization's plans for Hechevarria? Do people think he can ever hit enough to unseat Escobar? The Jays might have a logjam in the OF, especially if Rasmus can reconstruct himself, but they don't seem to have a ton on the way up in the middle infield.

With Hechevarria I'm at the point where I'll believe it when I see it. If the bat comes around, great, but I wouldn't be making any plans based on that assumption. As far as I'm concerned Escobar is a fine SS. I like Kelly Johnson in the short term, but I have to imagine AA's crazy trade priority this season is 2B.

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