The White Sox wasted little time preparing next season’s roster.
A day after the Giants won the World Series, the Sox swooped in on Omar Vizquel and signed the 43-year-old infielder to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
That’s a slight bump from the $1.375 million the slick-fielding Vizquel made this season, and he earned every bit of his pay.
Starting 90 games while appearing at four different positions (3B, SS, 2B, DH), Vizquel played his typically stellar defense, especially at third base.
But Vizquel was a big surprise with the bat, hitting .276 with 11 doubles, 2 HR and 30 RBI.
Earlier in the season, Omar was rotting away on the bench and seriously contemplating retirement. But when Mark Teahen went down with a fractured finger at the end of May, Vizquel stepped right in at third and helped lead the underachieving White Sox back into the playoff race.
“When I came to spring training, I was doubting that I was going to play anymore baseball,” Vizquel said Tuesday on a conference call. “That was going to be my last year since I was a backup player the last two years.
“In Chicago, I got an opportunity because of an injured guy and I really convinced myself that I can still play the game on a regular basis and be productive.”
While he enjoyed playing every day, Vizquel enters the 2011 season as a backup to Brent Morel at third base, Alexei Ramirez at shortstop and Gordon Beckham at second.
If Morel stumbles, Vizquel will be waiting in the wings again.
“I’m clear with my situation,” Omar said. “I know my job is to be a backup player, but it’s OK with me.”