August 9, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Omar Vizquel (17) catches the ball against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, Venezuelan reporters are saying that Omar Vizquel will be joining the Detroit Tigers’ coaching staff.
Vizquel, who debuted in 1989, played in the major leagues for 24 seasons before retiring after the 2012 season and was renowned as one of the better defensive shortstops in the game. One would assume he would also be filling the role of infield coach, the position vacated by Rafael Belliard.
The Tigers are famous for their recent bevy of Venezuelan players, so hiring a Venezuelan as a coach seems like a natural fit. Especially one as respected in the game as Vizquel. It’s hard not to get excited when a near Hall of Fame caliber player is hired to your team’s coaching staff, but it’s hard to know what type of impact he’d bring to the team in this capacity. We’ll have to wait to find that out. It’s probably not a bad thing, however, to have one of the great defenders in recent history help to coach up a young hot shot like Jose Iglesias. Probably only good things can happen there.
UPDATE: Reports are now confirming that Vizquel will be serving as the infield coach and baserunning coach as well as first base duties.