Vladimir Guerrero got his wish. He is a free man.
The former American League MVP signed with the Toronto Blue Jays last month. He had hit four homers in four games at the A-ball level and batted .303 for the Las Vegas 51s at the AAA level. But he wasn’t promoted to the Jays due to some solid performance from players ahead of him.
He went 4-for-5 yesterday after being hit by a pitch on his left hand on Saturday and being forced from the game. Word of an ultimatum were on twitter this morning. A few minutes ago the announcement came.
It didn’t take long for the offensive starved zombie Bucco fans to fire up the Vlad to Pirates question. It’s hard not to because we’ve been trained to keep an eye on the waiver wire for years and years, it’s just natural now.
Could Pittsburgh target the 37-year old slugger with 449 career home runs, 1,496 RBI, 2,590 hits and a .318 average?
We don’t think so, but we never predicted the team would go after veterans like D Lee and Ryan Ludwick in Back to the Future-esque trade deadline moves last year. It would be interesting to see what the 6’3″ slugger thinks he can do for a big league club.
A conversation with his agent is free. Does Vlad expect to start every day? Can he still play in the field as a regular? He hasn’t played in the National League since 2003. There are always questions around looking at a player like Vlad. But one man knows him well.
When he was in the Montreal organization, Neal Huntington was very familiar with the young Guerrero.
In fact Huntington spoke about Vlad’s A-ball team being absolutely dreadful in terms of wins and losses, but producing an abundance of eventual big league players. He was using the analogy to discuss the current struggles of the West Virginia Power.
Rumors of his knees missing are obviously false as he is generating power even if it is at the low minor league level. His agent Bean Stringfellow told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that Vlad “is in great shape. He is hitting very well and running very well.”
The question about Guerrero being able to hit isn’t and never was in question. But last season, he simply wasn’t the old Vlad that many were used to seeing during his time with Baltimore. His OPS slumped to .733, but Guerrero did hit 13 home runs, drove in 63 and posted a somewhat hollow .290 average in 562 at-bats.
His numbers were down primarily to a dreadful August when he posted a tiny .602OPS.
We looked at the July and September OPS numbers for Guerrero and were suprised to find a shiny .894.
The Pirates are offensively challenged. Just how much they believe Guerrero could help will be interesting to watch. Maybe some select Pirates fans will get their wish.