Omar Vizquel Makes Toronto Blue Jays’ Roster

Forty-four-year-old shortstop Omar Vizquel has made yet another Major League roster, having earned a spot with the Toronto Blue Jays. The hopeful Hall-of-Famer, who will turn 45 in less than one month, is batting .433 through 15 exhibition games with the Jays, adding a bunt single and scored a run in Toronto’s recent win over the Orioles.

The 11-time Gold Glove winner and three-time All-Star spent the previous two years with the Chicago White Sox as a utility man and mentor to younger players. He signed a minor league contract on Jan. 23, and will now be the oldest active player in MLB.

Vizquel played 11 seasons with the Cleveland, winning countless accolades and the hearts of the entire fan base. In 1999, Vizquel earned MVP consideration after hitting a career-high .333 with 112 runs scored and 42 stolen bases.

This will be Vizquel’s 24th season in the majors.

[Related: Francisco Lindor and the Robbie Alomar Effect]

  • Steve

    Sorry, I know we love the guy in this town, but I don’t see how he should be on a MLB roster at this point. The guy is absolutely worthless with the bat anymore, and has only played 18 games at short over the last two years combined.

  • saggy

    shortstop is such a thin position, and it carries such defensive importance.  I can think of a lot worse players in the majors. 
    Jamey Carroll and Sean Rodriguez are starters, as is the unproven, light-hitting Tyler Pastornicky. 

    I’ll take a guy who KNOWS the game, is willing to teach it to the younger players, and will be a clubhouse gem over any of the aforementioned options.  Troy Tulowitzki, he is not.  But he can help out a roster with pinch-running, defense, and leadership.  Plus, who doesn’t love the guy (other than Jose Mesa)??

  • USSChoo

    Well, that would be because he plays a utility role now. Utility players aren’t known for their hitting or they wouldn’t be utility players. But, apparently, a team shouldn’t have one of those, if I interpret your argument correctly.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    Really?  In his 2 years in Chicago, he hit for a .647 OPS.  Not too good, but still better than Alcides Escobar, Alex Gonzalez, and Jason Bartlett last year…all guys who are considered adequate. 

    And that’s roughly equivalent to Orlando Cabrera’s 2010 season, after which the Indians signed him to start AND San Francisco traded for him.

    My point is, there is a dearth of 2B/SS/3B in the majors, so why shouldn’t the Blue Jays give a shot to the Hall-of-Famer who hit .433 in spring and is still a good fielder?

  • Steve

     Carroll is much better offensively, Rodriguez is better too on both sides of the ball. Not sure when you say Pastornicky as a light-hitter or how he is even comparable. The guy is 21 and just crushed the ball in AAA, you give that guy a chance not just because he can hit but he is your future.

    And if you want the guy to teach and be fun in the clubhouse, hire him as a coach.

  • Steve

    Not only did you not interpret it correctly, you created a strawman. I know he’s a utility player, but what value does he provide? We’re looking at a 66 OPS+ since becoming a part-time player, the list of guys who have done that poorly in more than a cup of coffee or two over the same time frame is very short. And he’s really not trusted to play short other than in an emergency. There has to be someone available on the waiver wire who might be able to run into a few hits or can still pick it adequately enough for a middle infielder.

  • Steve

     He can’t pick it anywhere near as well as Escobar and Gonzalez anymore, and he played a park that boosted his numbers over all three. Cabrera stunk, and just retired, I’m not sure how that helps your cause.

  • saggy

    what are you smoking?

    Carroll had 0HR and 17 RBI in 450+ at bats!!  He hit .289, and he is mediocre defensively.  Omar wasn’t good but not sure Carroll qualifies as “much better.”

    Sean rodriguez is a career .229 hitter, and plays below average D. 

    As for Pastornicky – what was I thinking?  of course mashing at AAA is a great barometer for success.  Matt LaPorta can tell you that.

  • Steve

    Ah yes, the Avg/HR/RBI form of analysis. Not useful in the least. Carroll has a .360 OBP over the last four years combined, and has been trusted to play more games at shortstop in each of the last two years than Omar has the previous three, combined. Sean Rodriguez, since getting regular playing time, has a 95 OPS+ and, regardless of what you say, is considered a solid defensive shortstop. Yes, Pastornicky might bust, but he hasn’t shown to be light-hitting yet, and surely you can see the difference between giving a 21 year old a shot rather than a 45 year old, right?

  • saggy

    sure, stats are what they are – subjective.  If you are hitting .435 at night, on turf, against lefties, then that’s what you go with.

    and nobody said Omar should be the starting SS – just saying he can make a team. Of course I would start Pastornicky over him – but do you think Pastornicky would benefit more from Omar or Jamey Carroll?
    how about this: Carroll is SOOOO good that in his 11-year career he has played for SIX different teams.  Omar has also played with 6, but 3 for the first 20 years of his career.

    Carroll has hit 12 home runs and stolen 63 bases in 11 years.  Those are stats that are purely objective.  and they suck.

  • Steve

    First off, look up the term subjective. Stats aren’t subjective. But of course, if you build up a strawman like your overly parsed example, then you don’t get enough of a sample size to be useful.

    And again, if you want your young guy to learn from someone with experience, hire a coach, not someone to bat in his place.

    Yes, over the course of their careers, Vizquel is a superior player to Carroll. Just not anymore.

    Home runs do not present Carroll, or Vizquel’s value anywhere near as well as OBP does. And stolen bases? You had to dig deep to find something there. Besides, Vizquel’s 65% success rate over the last five years is a net negative anyway. He’s costing his team more runs than he’s gaining by running. Carroll has actually been the more valuable overall baserunner over that timeframe (there’s more to baserunning than just steals).

    I don’t know why people are getting so upset for suggesting that a guy with a 61 OPS+ who was primarily a 3B last year really isn’t going to help a major league team on the field. The guy had a good career, but it’s time to hang em up.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    I’m just saying that Vizquel has similar numbers to what O-Cab did in ’10 and both the Indians and Giants gave him a starting job in ’11.  Why is it so far-fetched that Vizquel could hold down a utility role for Toronto?

    And I’m not sure how much Comiskey Park boosted Omar’s numbers.  Maybe in the sense that the foul ground is small, but it’s not like he was launching the ball out of the park!

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Whoever started the love of using the word “strawman” around here I would like to thank you!  It’s not used nearly enough.  And yes I’m being facetious!

  • Steve

     What O-Cab did last year is not an argument in the positive. Sure, Vizquel might be whatever in a utility role, but there has to be guys, like I said above, on the waiver wire, that are at least capable of getting on base, or are still in their prime defensively. And it’s not so much as Comiskey boosted his numbers, but the others played in pitchers parks.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    O-Cab was terrible last year, but I think that actually helps my argument.  Not one, but two playoff contenders were willing to give him a starting job last year rather than dip into the cess pool of available middle infielders (which includes the likes of John McDonald, Wilson Valdez, Jack Wilson, Chris Getz, etc).  And he had worse numbers than Omar.

    I don’t think Omar will be any good, either.  I just think he’s not going to be any worse than many of the alternatives.

  • BrownsFanSF

    I don’t know what to say except that apparently the Toronto Blue Jays disagree

  • BrownsFanSF

    Every time the term “Straw Man” is used, somewhere a philosophy professor smiles


    Not sure if he’s actually made the Rockies yet, but Isn’t Jamie Moyer 49 going on 50? Omar isn’t quite the oldest player in baseball, but still pretty impressive.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Then he cries because half the time it’s used incorrectly.  The other half of the time it’s used is actually a straw man for the original claim of a straw man! 😉

  • Steve

     Is your argument that he should get a shot, or that, hey why not, someone might? Sure, someone might (and they did), but that doesn’t mean they should have given him (or Cabrera last year) one.

  • BrownsFanSF

    hahaha, true!  There is a very big difference between a straw man and an argument that’s made of straw lol

  • Harv 21

    He’s almost 45 and had a bunt single in his last exhibition game. Rickey Henderson may be doing that somewhere in an independent league somewhere but this is against major league starters tightening up for the season. This man is a freak of historic proportions. Do not withhold your love

  • mgbode

    Julio Franco is unimpressed


  • Scott77rob

    I think that while yes, he did make the team of his own merits, that having someone around to tutor Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria certainly couldn’t hurt.  He’s a class act who still has some useful tools; until he proves otherwise.  He was a low-risk, high-reward pick up for Toronto.

  • Harv 21

    Julio lost his infielder’s glove in his mid-30s and never noticed it was gone. But I love him too, just more in a Rico Carty kind of way than an Omar/Rickey way.

    Old Man Bunting. The 3 most beautiful words in baseball.    

  • Steve

     I keep getting the argument that he should be around to coach up the young guys. I’ll buy that. But that means he should be a coach, not a player. And high-reward? If he’s above replacement-level, they should be ecstatic.