The Tijuana Toros are overlooked at times with the presence of the San Diego Padres in the border city region when it comes to baseball. However, the Border City Bulls are consistent contenders for the Mexican League title year after year and set for a thrilling 2020 campaign.
The Toros shocked the baseball world earlier this offseason and signed former MLB star Omar Vizquel to be the manager of the club. The Caracas, Venezuela native, spent 24 seasons in MLB and is arguably a shoo-in to make the Baseball Hall of Fame one day.
Vizquel played with the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays throughout his lengthy playing career. The 11-time gold glover was predominantly known for his exquisite defensive skills, but also racked up over 2,800 hits in his career.
At 52 years old, his coaching career is still young, but the three-time All-Star has spent the last seven years working in MLB organizations. Vizquel started coaching in 2013 with the Angels as an infield coach, but then quickly received an opportunity by the Detroit Tigers to be their first base coach.
The former Mariners’ star spent five seasons with the Tigers and then interviewed for the vacant managerial role left by Brad Ausmus. Vizquel did not receive the job and then joined the Chicago White Sox organization to become the manager of Class A-advanced team Winston-Salem Dash.
The 52-year-old moved up the ladder in the Sox’ organization last year as he was the manager of Double-A Birmingham. However, instead of continuing to pursue minor league jobs, Vizquel will take a leap of faith this year and take charge of the Tijuana Toros in the LMB.
The Mexican League can prove to be extremely competitive, and this will be an excellent opportunity for Vizquel to work under some serious pressure. It will also be a golden opportunity for the Toros’ players to work with such an experienced figure like Omar Vizquel.
In the past, the Toros’ front office has proven to be very demanding for its managers, but Vizquel also has the players to build something great. The start of the season is still a few months away, as the border city club will still look to make a few signings to this team.
The recent signings have focused on pitching as Tijuana signed Joe Van Meter, Greg Mahle, and Jose Samayoa in the past few weeks. Vizquel also added former Padres’ catcher Carlos Hernandez to his coaching staff to add even more experience.
Toros fans have plenty to be excited about in 2020, as the Venezuelan legend tries to add to his coaching resume.