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.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.