From first base coach to starting shortstop? Seems laughable and almost something you’d only see in a movie script, but it was something the Detroit Tigers apparently thought about doing.
As you’ll recall, Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias could miss most of the season as he’s dealing with multiple shin fractures. Needless to say, he’ll be out for the forseeable future at minimum.
Detroit isn’t exactly stacked with minor league depth up the middle and the Tigers are already dealing with payroll issues, so it’s not as if they could just go out and sign/trade for a starting caliber player with relative ease.
That lead to the team exploring the idea of starting 46-year-0ld first base coach Omar Vizquel, who retired from playing in 2012 after 24 Major League seasons.
“We talked about it.”
“He probably could do it part-time,” Ausmus said of Vizquel, who finally retired after the 2012 season, after 24 seasons in the big leagues. “But then I’d have to go find a first-base coach.”
The manager laughed. And you would have thought that was the end of this discussion. Except Ausmus then picked it up again, musing out loud that Vizquel “could probably handle it. I don’t know if he could play 150 games. But he could probably be a platoon shortstop if he got himself in shape. He certainly still has the hands.”
The idea seems to have understandably come to a dead end, but that certainly would have made for an awesome feel-good story.