Omar Vizquel‘s long and successful career as a MLB shortstop is long over these days, but that doesn’t mean he’s even close to being finished with the game of baseball.
No, he’s looking to move beyond the field and move into the dugout as a manager one day, a process that has now taken the 45-year old to the Los Angeles Angels, where he is currently serving as a roving infield instructor in Spring Training, and working to impart his knowledge on the team’s middle infielders.
According to Jordan Hamm of MLB.com, he’s mostly working with the minor league youngsters for now, but this first coaching position is a first major step towards his “final goal”.
That won’t be reached with the Angels, of course, as the team will probably be content to have skipper Mike Scioscia until he’s ready to retire, but Vizquel is using his time around the veteran manager and his staff to understand the nuances of the job “and how to do things — a lot of paperwork, a lot of reports, situations of the game”, and so forth.
It’s a process that really took its baby steps when he was still playing — well, at least when he was still signed as a player, anyway. Vizquel played the last of his 24 years in the bigs with the Toronto Blue Jays, starting 37 games (which was more than expected) but was really brought in as a mentor for guys like Yunel Esobar.
The mentorship didn’t exactly turn out the way the team or Vizquel hoped, with Escobar getting into a whole lot of hot water because of his eye black incident, and the team totally falling apart as a result of numerous key injuries.
The whole thing came to a head at the end of the season, with the managerial-hopeful criticizing the team’s coaching staff for the lack of communication, stirring up some minor controversy north of the border.
Vizquel painted himself as more of a player who could only do so much then. Now, with an actual coaching position with former teammate and Angels GM Jerry Dipoto as his boss, the retired 11-time Gold Glove winner is taking advantage of the opportunity to apply that type of critical thinking on the job with the Angels.