by Mike DePilla
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
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Ken Williams likes to act fast. Last year, on the day after Word Series ended, he made the now-infamous Getz and Fields for Teahen trade, the first move of a puzzling and frustrating off season. Today, on the first day of the 2010-'11 off season, he was quick to act again, re-signing infielder Omar Vizquel to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
A slight overpay? Probably, as Williams does have a history of overpaying around the margins for bench fodder, while bristling at the market price of premium free agents. And if Vizquel is more than a bench player in 2011, the Sox will be in trouble, as he can't possibly be expected to produce at the same level, stat-wise, as in 2010.
But Vizquel certainly provided value beyond his surprisingly-good numbers last season, most notably in serving as a mentor to Alexei Ramirez, so it is good to see him return for an encore with the Sox. (And at least one of the '90s Indians players pictured at right has to be on the Sox roster next year.) Let's just hope the rest of the transactions this offseason reveal a better game plan than the misguided one a year ago.
About that offseason plan... it's going to be put into action much quicker this winter due to some structural changes made by MLB. Everybody should read and bookmark this handy guide to offseason timelines and deadlines. It covers all the important stuff from the start of free agency until pitchers and catchers report in February. By the way, only 103 days until the first action gets underway in Glendale!
The Sox only have exclusive negotiating time with their own free agents, most notably Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski, for four more days. On Sunday, the gates swing open for any team to talk to any free agent.
The arbitration decisions on Konerko and Pierzynski are easy: offer it to Paulie, decline it to AJ. The business of actually bringing them back will be a very tough call. More on the pros and cons of bringing back either coming soon.
It looks like Ozzie Guillen is finally getting the personal Web site he wanted last spring. Mark Gonzales says Ozzie's new MLBlog, "Ozzie Speaks", is basically a preview for OzzieGuillen.com, which will debut during SoxFest 2011.
With forays into Facebook, Twitter, blogging and soon his own personal site, Ozzie looks to be just as interested as becoming the next Scott Reifert as he is the next Bobby Cox.
The blog has been interesting so far- read his latest, where he answers fans' questions, here- and will probably be short on super-controversial content considering its official ties to MLB, but Sox brass can't be thrilled about their manager's need for attention.
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