UPDATE: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick originally reported that Vizquel was getting a one-year deal, but it’s actually a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. He’s expected to battle Mike McCoy and Luis Valbuena for a utility infield job.
8:00 PM: While we haven’t heard much about Omar Vizquel this winter, we’re happy to pass along word that he’s coming back for at least one more season.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the veteran infielder has agreed to a one-year contract with the Blue Jays.
Vizquel, who turns 45 in April, batted .251/.287/.305 with seven doubles and eight RBI and a .592 OPS over 182 plate appearances with the White Sox in 2011. He made 20 starts at third base, 14 at second base and eight at shortstop last season, so he’ll likely function in a similar utility infield role with Toronto. Of course, he’s also a nice tutor to have around for their young infielders.
This will be Vizquel’s 24th big-league season. The 11-time Gold Glove Award winner has a .272 lifetime average to go along with 2,812 career hits and three All-Star appearances. 49-year-old Jamie Moyer and 45-year-old Tim Wakefield are the only older “active” players in the majors.
Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine has been hired as the Twins’ next General Manager. It has not been made official, but multiple outlets are reporting the hire. Levine will join Derek Falvey, who was named the Twins’ new president of baseball operations last month.
Levine has been the Rangers assistant GM since the 2005 season, working as GM Jon Daniels’ second in command. He’ll still be second in command in Minnesota, but with an elevated title as is the style of the day. He previously worked with the Rockies. He has, according to various reports, been conversant in statistical analysis as well as traditional scouting and player development. As is also the style of the day.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports says that “folks would be surprised” if the Diamondbacks didn’t hire Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo as their next manager. Indeed, he says he’d be “shocked” if Lovullo wasn’t given the job.
New Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen comes from Boston, obviously, and knows Luvullo well. Luvullo has served as the Red Sox interim manager and has been a contender for multiple managerial jobs over the past couple of years. Others have suggested that Phil Nevin, the manager of the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate in Reno, is a top choice for the job, but given the wholesale turnover in the Dbacks’ front office, one has to wonder if he has as many patrons there now as he had in the past.
Odds are that any decision on the Arizona skipper position will come after the World Series is over.