With the Chicago White Sox trying to battle out of their current funk in New York this week, it's easy to see the negatives associated with a struggling ball club.
Omar Vizquel is not one of them.
The ageless infielder is once again providing outstanding production off the bench for Chicago, hitting .308 as a utility infielder. With Brent Morel, Alexei Ramirez and Gordon Beckham all having April struggles, having Vizquel around to spell his infielders is a nice luxury for Ozzie Guillen to have.
If he hit .250 and could spot-start in the infield once a week, he's more than adequate in the utility role. However, Vizquel brings much more to the clubhouse than the average reserve infielder.
How do the words "class," "professionalism" and "pride" strike you?
Vizquel brings all these attributes with him to the park each day.
We're talking about the finest defensive shortstop of his generation, arguably of all time. Only Ozzie Smith has more Gold Glove seasons than Vizquel. A glove man who also has over 2800 hits—that's a sure-fire Hall of Famer entering the game as a defensive replacement.
He has not committed an error yet this season. He had just three in 108 games last year, most of that time at third base. The last time he made an error in the middle infield positions was 2008 (he's played 76 games at those positions in the last two seasons).
The man is 44 years old and is in terrific shape. Most guys his age are happy to walk to the hot dog stand at U.S. Cellular Field without getting winded. Vizquel ran well enough to steal 11 bases a year ago.
The chance for young infielders like Morel and Beckham to sit under Vizquel's learning tree is one of which they should take full advantage. Ramirez was a more consistent defender at short, something that can partially be attributed to Vizquel.
Kenny Williams has a lot of high-salary players on this roster. There has been cause to question some of those salaries, but the $1.75 million he spent bringing Vizquel back for a second season in Chicago has been money well spent.
I hope to get into Chicago for a few games this summer. It would be great to get at least one chance to see a piece of history roaming the infield.