Back in May, when he wasn’t playing much, Omar Vizquel indicated that this would likely be his final season. However, now that he’s in the White Sox’s lineup regularly and playing well, the 43-year-old infielder said yesterday that he’ll likely be back in 2011.
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.” 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.
Everybody knows the things I’m capable of doing. I think I prepare every year to do this, to stay healthy, stay in shape, try and keep my body up for the challenge. I feel pretty good and I like the way things are going right now.
Vizquel has barely played shortstop this season because of Alexei Ramirez’s presence, but he’s started 48 times at third base while hitting .303/.370/.357 with very good defense and is batting .289/.352/.345 in 265 plate appearances overall.
While that production certainly isn’t jaw-dropping it’s definitely good enough to earn him another part-time job next season and is pretty remarkable for a 43-year-old. In fact, simply by playing regularly Vizquel joins Carl Yastrzemski, Pete Rose, Carlton Fisk, Honus Wagner, and Julio Franco as the only 43-year-olds in baseball history to get at least 250 plate appearances.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.