The San Jose Mercury News this morning is reporting that the San Francisco Giants are close to signing Omar Vizquel for one more season. The terms of the agreement are rumored to be a one year deal worth $5.5 million. That’s a $1.5 million raise over his salary last season. The contract does include an option for a second season, something that Vizquel was originally looking for when negotiations began after the season. If he plays in at least 140 games, then the club will automatically pick up his option for 2009 at $5.2 million.
Let it be known that I am a HUGE Vizquel fan. So, needless to say, I am very excited to have him back. I’m also glad that they are only signing him to a one year deal. This gives us the opportunity to look for a new quality shortstop in free agency if he doesn’t produce this season, and continue to groom our minor league sensations. I think it was the appropriate move for the Giants given our options. It sounds like Vizquel is also a good voice in the clubhouse and a good teamate. So, I like what he brings to the table. Don’t expect his fielding to drop off next season. He’s over 40, but can still work the leather!
Vizquel didn’t win the gold glove award this year even though he should have. It was announced the other day that Jimmy Rollins won the gold glove at shortstop for the National League. He held a .985 fielding percentage, while Omar had a .986 fielding percentage. Omar had just nine errors all season, the fewest among full-time shortstops in the NL. But, he got shafted, and it looks like he won’t surpass Ozzie Smith who holds the all-time record with 13 gold gloves at short.
Overall, I like this move. Congratulations Omar on your new contract. Welcome back to the Giants!
Yesterday, ESPN and SFGiants.com reported that Carney Lansford has been hired by the San Francisco Giants to be the new hitting coach for the 2008-2009 seasons. Lansford, better known as the third bash brother in Oakland, was a five-time all-star in his fifteen year career. He spent 10 of those years with Oakland, but was the 1981 batting champion while playing with Boston. Bruce Bochy is excited to get Carney into a Giants uniform. He claimed that he’s been on his radar for quite some time now and will bring a flare to the clubhouse and a winning attitude.
I am very excited to see Carney Lansford come to the Giants organization. He was born and raised in my hometown, San Jose, and grew up in Santa Clara. When I was a little boy, I played an all-star game at a field in Santa Clara that was named after Carney Lansford. The legend is that when he was a little leaguer he played on that same field, and hit a homerun over 450 feet as a 12 year old. I don’t know if it’s true, but it had me wanting to be like him when I was that age. I remember his unique stance and hitch before he took a swing. It seemed like he was always building momentum for his swing as he dropped his hands up and down repeatedly before taking a hack. He was quite fun to watch when he was a player, that’s for sure!
One of the things he mentioned when while being interviewed, was that he is interested in teaching players how to take pitches to allow runners to advance. With the Giants speed of the youngsters coming up next year, that is going to be key for us. He’s taken more pitches for Rickey Henderson than probably anyone! Look for the Giants to play a little more small ball next year with speed and aggressiveness on the base paths. They’ll be trying to hit doubles, hit for power, move runners along, and play team baseball. I can’t wait to see it all in action.
So, congratulations Carney! Welcome to the Giants organization. We need you!