Thursday, November 08, 2007
The One They Call Dreamy
The Giants seemingly can't contain themselves when it comes to old, helpless players, as they've brought back Omar Vizquel on a one year/$5.5 million contract with a possible second year that vests if Vizquel plays in 140 games. Judging from Vizquel's history of health, and the Giants' abysmal group of infielders in the minor leagues, there's a high likelihood that Vizquel will reach that plateau fairly easily. Basically, we're looking at a two-year deal here, folks. As Mr. Horse would say: no sir, I don't like it.
Here's what we know about Vizquel:
-He'll be 41 next season.
-Last year he was one of the worst hitters in all of baseball.
-He's still one of the best defensive shortstops in the NL, probably in the top three.
-Fans love him because he makes a least one highlight reel play per week.
Judging from the latter point, this signing is probably mostly for PR. Vizquel has a lot of flash to his game, and it's fun to watch. Sadly, at this point, the substance is rapidly fading from the style. Vizquel is definitely one of the better defensive players, but at his age, how long can he maintain his range? I understand he keeps himself in great condition, but a 41-year-old is a 41-year-old. If his defense slips at all he'll be totally worthless, because his bat can't carry the light of day.
Oh, that bat. Last season Vizquel hit .246/.305/.316. By Baseball Prospectus's VORP, he was easily the worst hitting shortstop in the NL. Players who see their bat go in the tank at age 40 rarely recover, so those expecting a rebound best not hold their breath. In fact, there's every reason he could be even worse.
This isn't a horrible signing, I guess, since the commitment isn't too long and the Giants don't have any immediate viable replacements (Kevin Frandsen at short is not the answer). It's just that it'd be nice to see the Giants explore some other options, try to bring in some unknowns with breakout potential. This team is going to suck with or without Vizquel, so why not use the $5.5 million on something that has the chance to be better?
It just seemed like Sabean and co. were chomping at the bit to get Vizquel re-signed when there was no plausible reason to be so hasty. Couldn't they at least have considered looking around for other talent, wherever that may have been? Plus, this whole thing about giving Vizquel a raise after he just killed the Giants last year...well, God bless America, I suppose.
This move isn't the worst, but it's just the same old, same old from front office people who can't seem to get it into their heads that loading up on old retreads perhaps isn't the best course. Now the ultimate nightmare scenario becomes if the Giants really do re-sign Pedro Feliz, which would mean that the Giants could very possibly have the two absolute worst hitters in the league at their respective positions. Ladies and gentleman, your 2008 Giants! Geez, if that happens, this'll be me with the oar.