Vizquel, Indians meet; new deal must be made
The Gold Glove shortstop and his agent met with Indians general manager Mark Shapiro for an hour on Monday to discuss whether Vizquel will be with Cleveland next year.
"I wouldn't characterize it as optimistic," agent Adam Katz said. "But the door isn't shut. Omar hasn't made it any secret that he would like to be back."
The Indians are not going to exercise the $5 million option on Vizquel's contract for next season and will pay him a $1 million buyout instead.
The 37-year-old Vizquel made $6 million this season, and unless the sides can work out a new deal, he will become a free agent next month.
Shapiro, who presumably laid out the Indians' plans for Vizquel during the meeting, was not available for comment. He will discuss Vizquel's situation at his season-ending news conference on Tuesday.
Last week, Vizquel said he would be willing to take a one-year deal to remain in Cleveland, where he just finished his 11th season. He batted .291 with seven homers and 59 RBIs. He also made 11 errors and could win his 10th Gold Glove.
If the Indians don't bring back Vizquel, Jhonny Peralta, the International League's MVP this season, will be the starting shortstop next season. If Vizquel returns, Peralta could be moved to second base or fill a utility role.
Indians manager Eric Wedge would like Vizquel back for his glove and leadership. But like Shapiro, Wedge says it can only happen at the right price.
"It's part of the realities of this market. I want Omar back, but I also understand the market we're in and the tough decisions Mark has to make," Wedge said. "We can't have everything. We have to take the money we can spend and make the best decisions we can."
When the Indians cleared out their lockers on Monday, All-Star catcher Victor Martinez said he was holding out hope that he would see Vizquel, a fellow Venezuelan, next season.
"I didn't say goodbye to him," Martinez said, "because there is still a good chance he can come back."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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