Casual Orioles fans everywhere are freaking out at the speculation that we could end up signing Vlad Guerrero this week. For cereal guys, there are people hanging on every word and really letting the Orioles have it for not getting this done already. The guy is a HOF player and had a “great” year for Texas last year. What are we waiting for? I mean, shouldn’t we all be super excited to sign Vlad Guerrero’s corpse at this stage?
I say no. Sure, I wouldn’t mind signing him and it would certainly be a little fun to watch him hit a missile into the stands on a pitch at his shoelaces and then limp around the bases like a gimpy old man. However, it would probably be a little infuriating to me to watch another Orioles hitter flail away at every single pitch thrown in his direction. Seriously, Guerrero hit .300 last year and still didn’t manage a .350 OBP. He walked in less than 5 percent of his plate appearances, not a typo, that’s for real. That number has also been declining for several years, along with his OPS. His second half OPS last year was also pretty bad, he disappeared in the postseason, and showed in the World Series that he absolutely cannot wear a glove under any circumstances anymore. Though, he doesn’t wear batting gloves, which is pretty awesome.
Far too many people are acting like signing Guererro is the difference between the 2011 Orioles winning the World Series or remaining a doormat. All the major projection systems have Guerrero coming in around a mid case of a .820 OPS next year, except for Bill James who for some reason thinks he bucks a decline and is even better than last year. I think it is possible we could get that kind of production from a platoon of Reimold and Pie. Sure, it isn’t as likely but you also aren’t sacrificing defense as you would be the other way. I think realistically you can get around a .800 OPS from those two with better defense and even it out. It would be better long term to find out what we have internally before going out to get a one year mercenary who may slightly outperform the in-house candidates, especially on a team that isn’t going to the postseason next year.
That said, it looks like this could come to fruition and I certainly won’t be upset if it does (as long as the contract is reasonable). I just don’t understand why so many people are seeing this as a necessity and are stating they will totally be up in arms if it doesn’t happen. Guerrero doesn’t seem to have any suitors outside of the Orioles so they appear to have a decent amount of leverage in these negotiations. We’ll see how this plays out…