Vizquel, Thome Warrant One More Shot
- Updated: September 24, 2011
The next time you see them together might be in Cooperstown.
It was a nice gesture to have to Cleveland legends Omar Vizquel and Jim Thome bring the line-up cards out for their respective teams when the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians squared off for the last time this season Thursday night in Cleveland. It isn’t often that guys with 5,000 hits between them exchange the line-ups cards in the pre-game ritual.
It was also nice to see both of them, whose careers also ran through Chicago, off of the bench for a change.
Vizquel, a key part of the White Sox defense in 2010, has seen little playing time this season. And Thome spent a good portion of his season sidelinedwith injuries in Minnesota(before his late-season trade to Cleveland).
Both have compiled numbers this season that blemish their Hall-of-Fame careers. The 44-year-old Vizquel is headed for career lows in games played (58 through Wednesday), plate appearances (182), at-bats (163), runs (18), hits (42), runs batted in (8) and walks (9).
For the Venezuelan utility man not to get more playing time in an infield that includes Adam Dunn and Gordon Beckman, both having terrible offensive years, is unthinkable. While their White Sox infield has remained healthy, the bats of Dunn and Beckham have been sick all year long. While White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen gave both plenty of time to hit their way out of their struggles, neither could hit their way out of a paper bag this season and Vizquel was left to pine away and get another year older.
The 41-year-old Thome, a White Sox favorite for 3 ½+ years, has also had little to celebrate this season. His power numbers are woefully down and are the worst since his injury-plagued season of 2005 with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Thome is headed his worst numbers in plate appearance (310 as of Wednesday), runs (28), hits (66), home runs (14) and RBI (46).
While Thome has three years on Vizquel, the versatile Venezuelan would seem to have much more of a chance to catch on with a team for next year than does Thome. Who is going to spend money on a designated hitter who put up power numbers this year of some second baseman?
It would be great to see Thome and Vizquel in Major League uniforms again next season, especially if both are willing to take a lot less money. Their experience, knowledge of the game and work ethic would serve many younger teams well.
As sad as it might be if nobody calls this winter, they can both rest assured that the call from Cooperstown is only five years away.