Maybe this was always obvious, seeing as Omar Vizquel has a -0.2 WAR in 49 games, but it occurred to me Wednesday night that there's not really anyone on the roster who can play shortstop if Ozzie Guillen wants to do something crazy; like give the best position player on the team the day off.
Now, I'm generally not in favor of Alexei having the day off. It means no Homer Hands, no Turn, Pivot & Fires, and no trust that every groundball will magically be absorbed.
Just hearing the news today filled me with dread. But, if the manager of the team decides that Alexei needs a day off from playing one of most physically demanding positions on the field, well then so be it.
It just can't be Omar Vizquel again.
Prior to Wednesday, I might have been convinced that rapidly declining range and all, Omar had enough guile and know-how or what-have-you to pretend to be a viable shortstop and avoid total disaster.
Nope, nope...turns out sometimes you have to be able to run to things.
In rapid succession on Wednesday in Bodymore, Murdaland, Omar was ghastly slow ranging to his left (result: single), ghastly slow ranging to his left again (result: single), and then ghastly slow ranging to his right before booting the ball (result: single because the official scorer is friendly). By then, the point had pretty much been made, and properly reiterated.
Vizquel's abysmal bat (54 wRC+ coming into the night) already made his consistent presence a curiosity, as there are few elderly defensive specialists, but with the range he didn't show Wednesday, the Sox would seem to have a position they don't have a backup for.
It's far from an emergency. Alexei's the best player on the team, and it's entirely possible that he'll play every game until September. At which point, a call-up for Eduardo Escobar when rosters expand could solve the problem.
Eduardo can't hit at all--which probably means Ozzie will try to bat him 2nd--but he'd more than serve the purpose of making sure the Sox groundball-oriented pitching staff doesn't fall into irreparably woe should Alexei miss a game for a dentist appointment or something. Utility infielder is probably Escobar's future anyway.
Spending more money on this problem would be a mistake, or at least rampant overkill, but for love of Philip Humber, Omar can't play shortstop again. And while we're at it, he can't hit again either.
But there will always be a place for him, because a team can never have too many old, light-hitting middle infielders....provided they're on the coaching staff.