Archive for the ‘Omar Vizquel’ Category

vizquelfingers

Wrong fingers, Omar.

It feels like every time I start a new post I’m doing so with a snarky remark about this wretchedly slow off-season hitting some kind of a new low. As much as I’d like to avoid doing that again right now, it’s kinda hard not to, because we’re about to rehash a bunch of 2012 bullshit involving people who are no longer even in the Jays organization. (Yay?)

But actually, this is somewhat interesting, as last night we got some excellent — albeit curiously 18 months late — insight from Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun about the breakdown of the relationship between John Farrell and Omar Vizquel back at the end of both of their tenures as Blue Jays.

The short version of Elliott’s piece is that Vizquel paid for Henderson Alvarez’s family to fly from Venezuela to Miami so they could watch the then-Jays pitcher’s scheduled start against the Marlins in June of that year. However, a flurry of injuries hit the club’s rotation (as you may recall), and at some point after both the team and the Alvarez family had landed in Florida, Farrell bumped Henderson’s start back a game, which put him into the next series, in Boston. This angered Vizquel, who went to the manager’s office to complain, though he was rebuked, Elliott explains, with something like, “I’m not running a Little League team here, I’m doing what’s best for the team.”

He continues:

Vizquel thought he had been slighted, began second guessing Farrell and 13 weeks later knocked Farrell’s failure to “jump on mistakes” by young players telling our Steve Simmons:

“It’s part of the inexperience. If you make mistakes and nobody says anything about it — just let it go — we’re going to keep making the same mistakes over and over. We have to stand up and say something right after a mistake happened. We have to talk about it at meetings. We have to address it in a big way in the clubhouse.

“Sometimes you have to punish players because they’re making the same mistakes over and over again.”

The next day Farrell screamed at Vizquel behind closed doors and wanted to release him.

With less than a week remaining in the season, the Jays did not think it was appropriate to release the future hall of famer.

There are some interesting strands to pull from this, especially looking back on what was being said at the time, the first of which is to reiterate — gauche as it may be in some circles at this point — that Farrell is absolutely fucking bang on. That doesn’t mean, however, that the disarray of his final weeks as skipper here isn’t in abundant evidence when looking back.

When the breakup eventually became inevitable, we heard about possible tensions between the manager and the front office. That became clearer near the end of the 2013 season, when Farrell contrasted his former and current employers, speaking about the difference between a “scouting-based organization, and one based on player development.

Acrimonious as it came off, those comments actually made it sound a rather cordial, academic split, like a band claiming after the fact that they broke up over “creative differences,” when the reality suggested by the Vizquel stuff makes it look closer to being about petty jealousies, or, to complete the analogy, sleeping with each other’s girlfriends.

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I wish somebody else had this story, because I’m not seeing it anywhere else just yet, and I’m loath to link to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, yet apparently I have no choice, as he’s got choice quotes from Omar Vizquel, who goes all Zaun Cherry and gives us more to ponder about the stewardship of John Farrell and his coaching staff, and whether or not their attitude with players is too lax.

“No doubt this is a good young ball club,” Vizquel said. “Obviously, they need some veteran leadership in here. I tried to do my best, a little helping here and there. But I think the coaching staff have a big responsibility to kind of get in there and tie things up a little, have a bit more communication with their players and try to make this thing happen the right way.

“Sometimes you have to punish players because they’re making the same mistakes over and over again,” he adds.

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I feel for Francisco Cordero. He’s not a very good pitcher right now, and he probably wasn’t last year either, when his peripheral numbers took a nosedive and he got by on smoke and mirrors on his way to 37 saves and a 2.45 ERA that, even a couple of years ago, would have been enough for some hopeless GM to give him a fat contract to be The Closer.

The reality is, he’s an aging pitcher trying to cope with the loss of his velocity while adapting to life in the toughest division in baseball– though it’s not like the Oakland A’s, last night’s non-division opponents, are a goddamned juggernaut– and not doing a particularly good job of it just yet.

And he knows it.

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Today in last guy on the 25-man-roster news, the artist formerly known as Omar Vizquel (above) has officially beaten back competition from Luis Valbuena, and poor, still-not-out-of-options, Mike McCoy, to land the somewhat-coveted job of utility man for the Jays. Per… um… everyone.

Also per everyone: Vizquel is old.

It will be cool the odd time we get to see Vizquel flash the leather, and if such intangibles exist in any kind of tangible way, it’s surely a bonus to have one of the best defensive and most respected players of his generation in the clubhouse, who may well end up enshrined in Cooperstown one day. And one with a reputation as being one of the smartest, too. He paints, for fuck sakes!

On the other hand, of course, we don’t exactly want to see too much of him. I mean, it will suggest something has gone very, very wrong for the 2012 Blue Jays if they give anything resembling significant playing time to a guy who was playing as a pro in rookie ball the summer Trudeau finished his second run as Prime Minister.

As… well… everyone else will have pointed out already, Vizquel is mostly here to mentor younger, Latin American shortstops like Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria– much in the way that he helped his previous teams, the Rangers and the White Sox, bring Elvis Andrus and Alexei Ramirez along.

If it works out that well with Hechavarria, yep… that’ll play.