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Omar Vizquel snags a spot on Blue Jays’ bench at age 44

Mar 28, 2012, 4:16 PM EDT

Omar Vizquel AP

Jamie Moyer is still fighting for a spot on the Rockies’ pitching staff, but the other elderly gentleman in spring training, 44-year-old Omar Vizquel, has secured a place on the Blue Jays’ bench for Opening Day.

Toronto made it official today and also optioned his utility man competition, Mike McCoy, to Triple-A.

Vizquel no longer has the range to play shortstop regularly and hit just .251 with a .287 on-base percentage and .305 slugging percentage in 58 games for the White Sox last season, but obviously the Blue Jays aren’t keeping him solely for his on-field production at this point.

He signed a minor-league deal in January and this will be his 24th season in the majors.

  1. shaggylocks - Mar 28, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Shhh, not so loud! Jose Canseco might hear!

    • thefalcon123 - Mar 29, 2012 at 11:25 AM

      Too late:

      On Jose’s twitter page: “I saw bluejays signed 45 year old Omar vizquel. I’m only 47 with plenty of power and free”

      Unrelated to Vizquel, but also on Jose’s twitter page:
      “al gore was a head of his time .i miss him rest in peace buddy hug for u”

      So…yeah. He thinks Al Gore is dead.

  2. mybrunoblog - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Omar is old enough to be many of his teammates dad. Amazing. Good for him.

  3. bbk1000 - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    I can see a junk ball lefty situation pitcher lasting forever, Moyer is in this role as he ages.

    On the other hand old shortstops mean your minor league scouts stink….

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:38 PM


      My guess is he’s there to provide this young team with a bit of veteran leadership more than anything else.

      • bzz0 - Mar 28, 2012 at 10:29 PM

        Exactly, the Jays have a great prospect at Shortstop in Hechavarria, who’s only a couple years out of Cuba. If Vizquel can fill a utility role while providing the benefits of experience to both the young Cuban and not-old Escobar, I think they signed the right guy.

        He’s taking the John McDonald roster spot.

      • bzz0 - Mar 28, 2012 at 10:33 PM

        Sorry, didn’t see Cur’s comments below. What he said.

      • bbk1000 - Mar 29, 2012 at 6:10 AM

        To me there aren’t enough spots for leadership positions….perhaps on expanded rosters..

      • paperlions - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:50 AM

        Veteran leadership is what coaches are for….besides, it isn’t like the Jays are devoid of veterans.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:36 PM

        In part, but you need players to fill that role too.

        They’re not completely devoid of vets but they’re pretty close. Plus it seems like Vizquel brings more leadership qualities than any of our other vets do.

      • jwbiii - Mar 29, 2012 at 6:39 PM

        If Vizquel can fill a utility role while providing the benefits of experience to both the young Cuban

        None of Gordon Beckham, Alexei Ramirez, or Brent Morel were particularly good last year, were they? Vizquel’s veteran leadership lead Beckham and Morel to horrible seasons and Ramirez certainly didn’t improve. Yet you propose that Vizquel’s veteran leadership will boost Hechavarria’s game while he is playing 2,000 miles away? If this is true, paying Vizquel to go sit at a team’s antipode might be an effective strategy, as being in the same clubhouse doesn’t seem to have any discernible effects which one could call positive.

    • stlouis1baseball - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      bbk: Not sure what the deal is with all the thumbs downs. I mean…both of the points you make have some merit. My guess is…you pissed off some Blue Jays fans with your second point.
      Omar is going to come cheap and offer invaluable experience and tutelage.
      But you still have a point with the old shortstop comment.

      • bbk1000 - Mar 29, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        stlbb: haha, I just took a look at that and it gave me a chuckle….I just don’t believe leadership is any reason for a roster spot. Not sure what his range is anymore but his fielding was good in limited games last year, if he can play 3 infield positions affectively perhaps he’s worth the spot.

        I’m thinking I did piss off some Blue Jays fans…….

  4. cur68 - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    If there is a Just & Kind Dog, we’ll see Moyer face Vizquel sometime this season. Nearly 100 years of baseball facing off.

    • bigharold - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:59 PM


      Am I over thinking this or does this say something about the B-Jays farm system, .. which if it does isn’t good.?

      I like and respect Omar but if the Yankees signed him I’d be worried that there is a decency in their minor league system that needs immediate attention.

      • cur68 - Mar 28, 2012 at 6:04 PM

        Nah. Beaver Farm is stacked. Omar’s there to provide veteran presence, on field coaching and basically occupy the role John McDonald had with the team. Bautista handles the outfielders and Vizquel will run herd on the infielders.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 28, 2012 at 7:45 PM

        The Jays want their prospects playing baseball rather than sitting on the bench. The strength of the prospects is evidenced by the spring training performance of the Jays. As Dirty Harry likes to point out, the Jays have the best pre season record in baseball. This performance indicates that our minor leaguers are better than those of the other teams.

      • stlouis1baseball - Mar 29, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        which is exactly the point bbk was making Harold. Blue Jays fans are riled!

    • 24missed - Mar 28, 2012 at 9:03 PM

      Hey you,

      Kind of nice your team took a shot at Omar. He was really called elderly in this article, right? Maybe in baseball years.

      Remind me why the BJs got rid of John McDonald again? Wasn’t he beloved there?

      • cur68 - Mar 28, 2012 at 9:16 PM

        Yeah, everyone liked that guy. Solid defender, great bench guy, maybe a bit light in the bat, though. He went along with Aaron Hill to the Diamondbacks and we fans expected it was just for the balance of the season then he’d be back with the Lords Of Beaver Town for the start of this season. Unfortunately for us, the ‘Backs realized they needed all that solid D, bench presence in a big way too, and offered him a good deal. He re-upped with them. Now The Beaver Men need to replace that skill set. Vizquel is nearly my age, and Moyer is only 6 years older, so we must be talkin’ baseball years, but dang, this makes me feel old and decrepit.

      • 24missed - Mar 29, 2012 at 9:20 PM

        Thanks for the history. Interesting.

        O and I kinda sorta know McDonald in a round about way. He wouldn’t know me from a hole in the wall, but I would know him.

        I need to check your profile thing. Is your b-day on there? I have to be able to hassle and harass my HBT guy on his b-day.

      • cur68 - Mar 30, 2012 at 1:27 AM

        Oh yeah. That. Funny you should mention it…April 3. I’ll be 44. Bleah. Figured its safe to come clean, since I’m working 12’s for the forseeable then I got thesis hell till a bit after, so I won’t be “around” anyways. And yours is…?

      • 24missed - Mar 30, 2012 at 2:03 PM

        Almost the b-day boy! Be happy for every day and breathe you take, it is a gift. At this age, anyway. Are you a nurse or studying to be? Sorry if I’m getting too personal on the boards, but the 12 hours remind me of those I know. Writing the papers remind me of my own personal journey. Working full-time and taking classes sucked, but I have some silly pieces of paper to show for it.

        Does all this work mean you are not going to be able to catch ball games? I feel for you, you poor thing, if this is the case.

        B-day is Aug. 20. Smack in the middle of the baseball season.

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 28, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    I dread the day the last 2 guys of the 1980’s retire. Best of luck to Omar and Jamie – I am rooting for them bigtime.

    • mybrunoblog - Mar 28, 2012 at 10:27 PM

      Interesting. Last 2 guys of the 80s! Got me thinking. Anyone in uniform in the bigs who was in uniform during the 1950s?

  6. brownsapologist - Mar 31, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    Wow, I remember when the Indians traded him because they thought he was done….6 years ago. I’m glad to see he is still around and will always be one of my favorites.

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