I’m starting my player reviews with players that may not be around much longer.
SS Omar Vizquel – Age: 37
2004 Salary: $7.50M
2004 EQA: .262 (.291/.353/.388)
Contract Status: Free Agent
“I ain’t what I used to be, but who the hell is?”
Omar has become an icon in Cleveland, especially in the past couple of years. During the magical run beginning in 1995, Vizquel was simply a small cog in a large machine, the slick-fielding shortstop who a could steal a base and bunt for a base hit. As Belle and Murray, Ramirez, Lofton and Alomar, and finally Thome left the franchise, fans concentrated their admiration on Vizquel, partly becuase of his smile and his defense, but also because he was the remnant of those Indians of renown, those teams which won 6 division titles and two American League pennants. But wistful remembrances can’t affect the future.
While Vizquel probably has a couple more season in him, he’s become a different player in the last couple seasons. No longer is his defense Gold-Glove worthy, and a lot of his value has come from the offensive side of the ledger, posting an EQA of .262 this season. Peralta, at age 22, posted a translated EQA of .256 in Buffalo. The difference between Vizquel and Peralta isn’t enough to justify re-signing Vizquel; even if you assume that Vizquel at age 38 is the better fielder, Peralta’s offensive positives and salary make Omar (gasp!) expendible. Had the two players in question been between a similar player like Mike Bordick and Jhonny Peralta, would the outcry be as loud? Please don’t take this as a slam on Vizquel; he’s been a very nice player for the Indians for a long time. But it’s time to move on.