Omar Vizquel says he’s retiring at season’s end

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Omar Vizquel has hinted at the likelihood several times, but he made it clear today that this is his final season in the majors.

NESN has the translated quotes:

“This will be my last year,” Vizquel said in Spanish. “I’ve enjoyed this game a lot, but I think it’s time to pursue a new career as a coach or manager, and hopefully I’ll get that opportunity in the future.”

Vizquel said his initial plan is to coach in Venezuela this winter and that he eventually hopes to be a major league manager.

As has been clear for some time, Vizquel will fall short of 3,000 career hits; he’s at 2,854 right now. Still, whether one believes he belongs in the Hall of Fame or not, he has had an incredible career. When he arrived at age 22, he was such a weak hitter that most were skeptical he’d last as a regular. Instead, he turned himself into an All-Star in his 30s and then, through remarkable fitness, remained a viable shortstop into his 40s.

Vizquel will retire as an 11-time Gold Glover and the all-time leader in career games at shortstop. He ranks second among active players in hits, seventh in runs scored and fifth in steals.

The Phillies plan to spend money and “maybe even be a little bit stupid about it”

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In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.

“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.

“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.

Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.

How novel.