Omar Vizquel will probably retire after this year

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Omar Vizquel headshot.jpgOn Monday night Omar Vizquel tied Luis Aparicio for second all-time in hits by a shortstop.  Last night Vizquel said that could very well be the last milestone he hits and that he may very well retire after the season. He’s not yet committing one way or the other, but he did say that “this is probably going to be it.”

If so, nice career. As I said yesterday, not a Hall of Fame career in my mind, but a really, really nice one.  Actually, in the comments to yesterday’s Vizquel post my buddy Joe L. more or less captured my thoughts:

As a longtime Friend of the Feather and unabashed Vizquel fan, I feel
qualified to opine that he is plainly NOT a Hall of Famer.

He’s a classic your-favorite-player-as-a-kid ballplayer because he’s
flashy with the leather, hits a little, and, more than anything,
plainly loves playing baseball.  Which is infectious and endearing, but
is not necessarily the hallmark of a HOFer (see, e.g, Cobb, Ty).

He’s your #1 inductee into Hall of Very Good and Hall of Fun
Ballplayers and Hall of Quick Middle Infielders, but no more than that.  I would love it if he got in, not only because of his days with the
Tribe, but also because I’m a sucker for quick, flashy ballplayers like
Aparicio and Ozzie.  Davey Concepcion is my favorite player of all time
for the love of crumbcake.  But, frankly, he
shouldn’t be in either.
Which is a crying shame, but it’s not the Hall of Good Guys, and it’s
filled with bums who were much better than Omar and Davey, and that’s
just the way it is.

For the love of crumbcake, indeed.

Shapiro, Murray defend Dellin Betances after arbitration feud

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Dellin Betances #68 of the New York Yankees and the American League pitches against the National League during the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The dust hasn’t quite settled after right-hander Dellin Betances‘ arbitration hearing with the Yankees on Saturday. The case was decided in the team’s favor, awarding Betances with a $3 million salary for the 2017 season instead of the $5 million he initially requested. Yankees’ president Randy Levine held a press conference to voice his outrage over the figure presented by Betances and his agency, saying it had “no bearings in reality” since Betances does not have the elite closer status required for a salary bump of that magnitude.

Needless to say, the comments caused some consternation within Betances’ camp. The reliever publicly addressed the outburst, telling the press that he was prepared to put his differences with the team aside until he heard what Levine had to say. Via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch:

Players union executive Rick Shapiro and Betances’ agent, Jim Murray, also spoke out in the right-hander’s favor. Shapiro presented Betances’ case during the hearing on Saturday and called Levine’s comments “an absolute disgrace to the arbitration process and to all of Major League Baseball.” In a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Shapiro added: “The only thing that has been unprecedented in the last 36 hours is that a club official, after winning a case, called a news conference to effectively gloat about his victory – that’s unprecedented.”

Murray spoke exclusively to Rosenthal, accusing the president of effectively bullying the 28-year-old during the arbitration process and claiming that Levine had both mispronounced Betances’ name throughout the hearing and blamed the reliever for “declining ticket sales and their lack of playoff history.” Like Betances, Murray said that the agency was ready to accept the arbiter’s decision and move on before Levine’s decision to air his grievances to the media. “The only person overreaching in this entire situation is Randy,” Murray told Rosenthal. “He might as well be an astronaut because nobody on earth would agree with what he is saying. Even the others in the room would disagree with him.”

Royals will experiment with Alex Gordon in all three outfield spots this year

CLEVELAND, OH -  MAY 7: Alex Gordon #4 of the Kansas City Royals reacts to a fan while on first base during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 7, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Royals’ manager Ned Yost is shaking things up in 2017, starting with left fielder Alex Gordon. Yost told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan that “every scenario is open,” and expects to utilize Gordon in right and center field this spring while he figures out where to position Jorge Soler and Brandon Moss.

Gordon, 33, hasn’t manned right field since a three-game experiment with the Royals back in 2010 and has yet to play center field during any regular season to date. The focus, however, isn’t on Gordon’s capabilities. Among the three outfielders, he carries the best defensive profile and appears to be the most versatile of the bunch.

According to Flanagan, Soler and Moss are average on defense and will continue working closely with Royals’ coach Rusty Kuntz as the season approaches. One arrangement could see Gordon in center field, flanked by Soler in right field and Moss in left, though Yost foresees Soler taking some reps at DH if his defensive chops aren’t up to snuff.

While Moss is prepared to see starts at either outfield corner, Yost appears to be set on keeping Soler in right field, at least for the time being. The club is hoping for a bounce-back season from the 24-year-old outfielder, who was acquired from the Cubs in December after batting a lackluster .238/.333/.436 and sustaining a slew of minor injuries throughout the 2016 season.