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.
The Athletics have hired former MLB manager Matt Williams, the team announced Friday. Williams will take over third base coaching duties under manager Bob Melvin, filling the vacancy left by Nationals’ bench coach Chip Hale after the 2017 season.
Williams is no stranger to the Bay Area, but this will be his first time sporting the green and gold. He got his start in pro ball with the rival Giants in 1987, where he manned third base and collected four All-Star nominations before jumping ship to the American League in 1997. After a one-year stint in the Indians’ organization, he returned to the NL to finish off his 17-season career and eventually hung up his cleats with the Diamondbacks in 2003.
Post-retirement, Williams has crafted a resume that almost over-qualifies him for a coaching gig. He led the Nationals to a cumulative 179-145 record from 2014 to 2015 and earned props as NL Manager of the Year after bringing the team to a first-place finish in 2014. In 2016, he split the season as a first and third base coach in the D-backs’ organization, then accepted a studio analyst position with the Giants for the 2017 season. Although he has yet to suit up for the Athletics in any role, he’s not unfamiliar with skipper Bob Melvin. The two were teammates on the Giants’ 1987-88 roster and spent some time in Arizona together when Melvin took a coaching job there in the early 2000s.
While next year’s reunion will be fun to watch (unless, I suppose, you’re a Giants fan with a long memory), Williams may not have his sights set on a coaching role forever. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea reported back in July, the 51-year-old knows what it feels like to win as a manager, and it’s a position he might be open to pursuing in the future.
“For me, my most comfortable space is in uniform,” he told Shea. “I’ve done the ownership thing and front-office stuff, and that’s fun. The most gratification I get is swinging a fungo and throwing batting practice and being on the field. It’s what you know and love. I look at myself as a teacher first and foremost. At the end of the day, I think that’s how I have my greatest influence.”