Notes: Vizquel hoping for extension
Veteran wants to play for Giants beyond this season
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants general manager Brian Sabean remained noncommittal about Omar Vizquel's hopes of obtaining a contract extension before the season ends.Vizquel, who is in the final year of a three-year, $12.25 million deal that pays him $4 million this season, said on Monday that he and his agent, Adam Katz, hope to open preliminary talks with Sabean during Spring Training.
"Whenever Mr. Sabean has the time," Vizquel said.Sabean was neither encouraging nor discouraging.
"It's possible," he said. "But how probable that is, I have no idea right now."Vizquel, who turns 40 on April 24, believes that he can play another two seasons. He wants to parlay his pair of excellent years with the Giants into a deal that would avert the uncertainty of free agency. "It would be nice to be relaxed and not put pressure on yourself," Vizquel said. The 11-time Gold Glove Award winner also intends to climb atop various career statistical lists among shortstops. Vizquel enters this season having played 2,427 games at shortstop, 156 behind all-time leader Luis Aparicio (2,583) and second-place Ozzie Smith (2,511). Vizquel also has participated in 1,565 double plays, 25 shy of Smith's Major League mark. Although both standards are within reach this season, Vizquel would need to play at least another season to top the list of most hits by a shortstop. Vizquel has 2,472 hits in a career that includes two games as a designated hitter, one in right field and one at second base. Vizquel is especially motivated by Aparicio, the Hall of Famer and fellow Venezuelan who finished with 2,677 hits -- No. 2 among shortstops behind Honus Wagner's 2,705.
"I know every time I go back to Venezuela, people always talk about Luis Aparicio's records and how great he was," Vizquel said. "For me to surpass that would be really, really good."Vizquel knows that skeptics will cite his age and everything that comes with it as examples of his decline.
"They always say, 'He lost a step,' or 'He's not the same. His arm is not strong,'" Vizquel said. "In my mind, I've feel like I've proven every year that I still have a lot more to give."Vizquel's credentials with the Giants include back-to-back Gold Glove seasons and a .283 batting average, including .295 with 10 triples last season.
"I don't think I've played like a guy my age," he said, "and you guys see it."Ready for Barry: Numerous position players worked out informally to prepare for Tuesday's initial full-squad workout, knowing that they'll be ignored by dozens of reporters gawking at Barry Bonds and absorbing his expected afternoon news conference. If the Giants have any lingering ill feelings toward Bonds, they didn't reveal them. It was reported last month that Bonds tested positive for amphetamine use last season and professed to have obtained the substance from Mark Sweeney's locker. Bonds then apologized publicly for wrongly implicating his teammate. Nobody thought that Bonds must throw himself upon the mercy of his teammates, though. For Sweeney, the hubbub died last month.
"Barry and I were fine," he said. "When we went to FanFest, it was time to talk about baseball. It's not about me and Barry; it's about everybody."Said Vizquel, "He's not going to call a meeting to apologize to everybody. I think he realizes he made a mistake, he already said it publicly and I think we'll all move on from that." "I had totally forgotten about it until I heard Sweeney talking about it [to reporters] again," second baseman Ray Durham said. Having the potential all-time home run leader in their midst should enthuse the Giants. With 734 home runs, Bonds begins the season 22 short of eclipsing Hank Aaron's record. "I think he's going to come in looking great," utilityman Kevin Frandsen said. "Knowing about him throughout his entire career, he's ready to go all the time. The home run record is great and all, but I think he wants one thing more than anything in the world. He'll take less home runs to win that one [championship] ring." Sweeney, who fostered clubhouse harmony last season, reminded reporters that the Giants are more than just one player. "I don't think it's necessarily the excitement of seeing Barry; it's the excitement of everybody. ... It's almost like you're going back to college, that fraternity feeling."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.