Angels hire Omar Vizquel as roving infield instructor

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Omar Vizquel retired as a player after 24 seasons in the majors, but he’s not taking any time off from working in baseball.

Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports that the Angels have hired Vizquel as their new roving infield instructor, which is a job that was previously held by Dick Schofield. He’ll be part of spring training and then spend the season coaching prospects at every minor league affiliate.

Vizquel has said that his goal is to be a big-league manager and his first coaching gig comes via his former Indians teammate Jerry Dipoto, who’s now the Angels’ general manager. Another former Indians teammate, Paul Sorrento, is the Angels’ roving hitting instructor and put in a good word for Vizquel to get the gig.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.