Three things are a given in this offseason. First, Omar Vizquel will be a free agent and has only a year or two left in the tank. Second, the Indians need a third baseman for one year, and badly. Third, career-shortstop Vizquel spent last year at third base for the Chicago White Sox and wasn't too bad there.
So, wouldn't it make sense to bring back one of Cleveland's finest from the glory years of the '90s?
Vizquel will turn 44 in April and will probably not be able to play full-time. This past season his fielding percentage was .979. None of the Nimartuena bunch came even close to .950. Even if his hitting is subpar and he's only in the .250 range, that would be fine for the Tribe.
Jared Goedert can be brought up after a couple months to platoon with Vizquel if needed, while Lonnie Chisenhall continues to develop minor league experience, or the Tribe can just use Vizquel every day anyway. At least we know he's reliable.
It's not just that he would be a nice bridge to the third basemen in the Indians' farm system that makes this a nice move. The Indians are in a constant state of rebuilding these days, and because of this, the young guys don't have that veteran leader they can turn to.
Yes, there was Mark Grudzielanek and Austin Kearns, and they'll still have Travis Hafner, but what about a defensive leader? Someone from Indians teams of the late '90s that played to win and enjoyed doing it? This generation of Indians need that spark; all they know is sharing the cellar with the Royals as the players that do break out sign with the Yankees and other teams.
Here's the catch, though. Vizquel has stated that he wants to stay with the White Sox and wrap up his career there. It's understandable that he doesn't want to keep jumping around from team to team this late, but it would be such a boost to Cleveland to see Vizquel back.
Look what Kenny Lofton's return caused in 2007. The spark brought the Tribe to the playoffs, nearly making it to the World Series. Could this happen with Vizquel? Most likely not: The Indians don't have that kind of talent just yet. It's the intangibles of such a move, however, that would make this a great pickup, one I'm sure any Indians fan would love to see happen.
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