Hard to believe it was six years ago the Seattle Mariners had interest in then-Cleveland shortstop Omar Vizquel, courted him and then gave him a physical - which they said he failed.
Whatever held Vizquel back then seems never to have shown up on the field, and on the day free agents were formaly listed, Vizquel became the first man signed when the Chicago White Sox brought him back with a $1.75 million contract.
Yes, Vizquel will be 44 next spring. And yes, a few hundred years ago he was a Mariners infielder with the quickest hands in the organization. Last season, at 43, Vizquel batted .276 in 108 games, playing second base, third base and shortstop. That's better than his career average (.273), and the man known as the 'Little O' when he played in Seattle can do all the little things that help win games.
The Mariners should have snapped him up in '04, and he'd have helped them in '11, too.
Meanwhile, three Mariners became free agents today - catcher Josh Bard, infielder Chris Woodward and reliever Jamey Wright.
The Mariners will need a backup catcher for Adam Moore, but there will be plenty of them available. Bard may get an offer, he may not. The same can be said for Wright, who pitched marvelously after Seattle acquired him from Oakland - a 3.41 earned run average in 28 appearances, covering 37 innings. A veteran willing to work long and middle relief, he might be asked back, depending on what general manager Jack Zduriencik has in mind for his bullpen.
Of higher interest are the options for three other Mariners - Jose Lopez, Russell Branyan and Erik Bedard. There's a chance all three have played their last game in a Seattle uniform, but it will take a little more time to find out. Stay tuned.