Yesterday the Blue Jays gave Yunel Escobar his first day off this season and Omar Vizquel got the start at shortstop, making history by becoming the oldest player to ever appear at the position.
Bobby Wallace held the previous mark by appearing in 12 games as a 44-year-old shortstop for the Cardinals in 1918, but Vizquel broke his record by making the start at age 45.
When informed about the record, Vizquel told Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com that he’s proud of all the hard work that enabled him remain an asset defensively:
When you go back 100 years to look for a record, it is pretty amazing, actually. I can’t believe that I’m still jumping around and playing shortstop at this age. I feel pretty good about myself, I feel pretty good about my physical condition. It hasn’t been a year of work, it has been constantly working out every year, trying to improve your speed or your flexibility. It has been really hard work.
Another way to stay young? Yelling at umpires from the bench until they eject you from a game you’re not even playing. Vizquel had a pretty busy week.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.