On the surface signing Omar Vizquel on the heels of a season in which he hit just .266/.316/.345 in 177 at-bats while a member of the Texas Rangers may seem like a procedural move to round out the bench. However, this is the Chicago White Sox and while Vizquel will be behind Mark Teahen at third, Alexei Ramirez at short and Gordon Beckham at second he figures more often then not to be used as a defensive replacement considering Omar Vizquel at 42 years of age is a better defensive player then all three.
Last season the White Sox were 28th in baseball in fielding percentage only above Arizona and Washington. Only Washington, Arizona and Kansas City committed more errors on the year.
While moving around the infield for the Rangers, Omar appeared at three different positions last season and in 207 total chances committed 0 errors.
On the other hand Alexei Ramirez committed 20 errors at short in 650 chances and was right around average when it comes to range. Teahen had 11 errors in 248 chances at third base for Kasans City last season to finish below the league average for fielding percentage, he’s also a below average fielder in terms of range over the last three seasons. Gordon Beckham who played third last season made 14 errors and finished with a league average .957 fielding percentage. Beckham however did have a higher range factor then most third basemen but it’s unsure how yet another position change will effect him.
Vizquel still has the tools on defense and manager Ozzie Guillen shouldn’t have any qualms about making late substitutions that bring Vizquel into games.
In a way it’s almost comical that Vizquel doesn’t still have a starting gig. Mind you only 7 times in his 21 year career has he posted an OPS above .700 and five of them came between 1996-2000. A career .273 hitter with a .338 on base percentage and a .355 slugging percentage Vizquel became a star in the majors with the glove and when you compare him to the guys playing today, he’s still a better bet with the glove then almost all of them.
Vizquel alone doesn’t fix the defense in an instant but he does when he’s on the field.