Shortstop fails Mariners' physical

Updated: December 17, 2003, 12:04 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Cleveland Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel failed a physical in Seattle on Tuesday, putting in jeopardy a trade that would have sent him to the Mariners for Carlos Guillen.

Omar Vizquel
Shortstop
Cleveland Indians
Profile
2003 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R SB AVG
64 2 19 43 8 .244

The teams had agreed on a deal to swap the shortstops contingent on Vizquel passing medical tests.

The 36-year-old had two surgeries on his right knee last season.

However, after undergoing a physical and being put through agility drills at Safeco Field by the Mariners, Vizquel was informed that he had not passed.

"They called me about an hour ago, and told me that I didn't pass the test on my knee," Vizquel told MLB.com on Tuesday night. "It was kind of a shock. I was really looking forward to coming back and playing for the Mariners."

Vizquel played five seasons for Seattle before being traded to Cleveland in 1993.

Seattle had been looking at Vizquel after losing out in its bid for free-agent shortstop Miguel Tejada at baseball's winter meetings in New Orleans this week. Tejada signed a six-year, $72 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

The Mariners still are hopeful of completing a trade of third baseman Jeff Cirillo to the New York Mets for outfielder Roger Cedeno, according to a Seattle Times report Tuesday.

The Mariners also still are exploring trade possibilities involving starting pitcher Freddy Garcia, the newspaper said. But they are having little luck enticing teams to trade for a pitcher that most in the industry believe will not be tendered a contract by Saturday's deadline. If Garcia is non-tendered, he becomes a free agent.

Vizquel, who lives in Issaquah, Wash., is a nine-time Gold Glove winner and has been an All-Star three times. With 10 years in the big leagues and five consecutive years with the Indians, Vizquel could have vetoed any trade.

Guillen agreed to a $2.5 million, one-year contract with Seattle on Sunday.

Vizquel, who will make $6 million next season, played in just 64 games in 2003, his fewest since 1988. In 2002, Vizquel had his most productive offensive season, batting .275 with 14 homers and 72 RBI.

Last season, he tore cartilage in his knee during a June game at Arizona while sliding into home plate. During rehabilitation, Vizquel tore the knee again.

Vizquel was one of Cleveland's key players during its run of six AL Central titles from 1995 to 2001, which included AL pennants in 1995 and 1997. The acrobatic infielder was acquired by Cleveland in 1993 from the Mariners for shortstop Felix Fermin and designated hitter Reggie Jefferson.

For 10 seasons, he has dazzled Indians fans. Vizquel's ability to charge and barehand a ground ball before throwing out a runner became his signature play.

Vizquel won nine straight Gold Gloves from 1993 to 2001 before his streak was stopped by Texas' Alex Rodriguez.

Guillen, a 28-year-old switch-hitter, batted a career-best .276 last season with seven homers and 52 RBI. It was the fourth straight year he raised his batting average. He was limited to 109 games became of inflammation of the pelvis.

Guillen played shortstop and third base last season. In previous years, he also played second.

The Indians also have been trying to sign a second baseman, and they had offered free agent Todd Walker a $2.4 million, one-year deal during the winter meetings. However, Indians general manager Mark Shapiro withdrew the offer Tuesday and said the club was preparing to make another to an unspecified player.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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