Friday, February 4, 2011

It's a Vlad, Vlad, Vlad, Vlad World

He looks good in orange, no?

It's not 2004, but the Orioles signing Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year, $8 million dollar contract is still a good move. Sure, it would have been nice to have had Guerrero's services since 2004, when the Orioles lost out to signing Guerrero to the Angels, but at 36, Guerrero can still perform as long as he's healthy, and last year Guerrero proved that he still is, playing in 152 games.

The one-year, $8 million contract was about $3.5 million more than the O's initial reported offer, but it doesn't matter. Even at $8 million, signing Guerrero is a coup for the O's, who have put the finishing touches on a pret-ty good 2011 line-up.

The Guerrero signing means that Luke Scott goes back in LF, and Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold get relegated to the bench and Norfolk respectively. And as much as I want to see Reimold rebound in 2011, having him start the year in Norfolk just speaks to the depth that the Guerrero signing gives the Orioles.

Most important, the move gives manager Buck Showalter a veteran-laden team, something that he worked wonders with in Arizona. Sure, many of the veteran players the Orioles have under contract in 2011 are here on one-year deals, but a manager of Showalter's stature can milk the most talent possible out of a roster filled with this much experience. That isn't to say that the Orioles are headed toward the postseason, but the O's have at least given Buck Showalter some real tools to work with, something that previous managers cannot say.

Yet, at 36, you have to wonder when the aggressive-swinging Guerrero will start to break down. Maybe he already has, and the Orioles are paying $8 million to find out.

But I think it's worth the risk.

Guerrero had 115 RBI and 29 home runs a year ago, and with more rest (something the O's can afford to give Guerrero), Vlad should be able to put up similar numbers for at least one...more...year. And even if he is not at 100%, or on a decline, I still think Guerrero could still be an asset to this line-up. He just knows how to hit, having hit above .295 over the course of his entire career.

And let's not forget what the 2011 season should be about -- ending the 13-year losing streak. I know one winning season doesn't translate to anything more than just that, but O's fans are absolutely starved for a winning season and with Guerrero on the roster, the O's have one more weapon to achieve that task.

And with the Pittsburgh Steelers playing in the Super Bowl this weekend, the Guerrero signing should give Baltimore sports fans a little something to smile about for the time being.

At least until those goddamn Steelers win the Super Bowl.

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