According to the team’s official Twitter feed the White Sox have re-signed Omar Vizquel to a one-year contract and Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports that the deal is worth $1.75 million after the 43-year-old Vizquel earned $1.375 million this season from a one-year deal signed last November.
After getting a career-low 195 plate appearances as Elvis Andrus’ backup in Texas last season Vizquel logged 391 plate appearances this season for his most playing time since 2007.
He backed up Alexei Ramirez at shortstop, but also started 62 times at third base and 18 times at second base while hitting .276/.341/.331 to nearly duplicate his .273/.338/.354 career line.
Chicago will no doubt plan for Vizquel to have a lesser role in 2011, but as far as utility infielders go he combines a good clubhouse presence with strong defense and decent on-base skills, so $1.75 million isn’t a bad price.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.