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January 22, 2011

More Guerrero rumors

I was told once again this morning that nothing has changed in the club's pursuit of veteran designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero.

I feel the need to point this out only to respond to your questions about the recent report from Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio. Bowden, a former general manager, tweeted late last night that Guerrero is close to accepting a one-year deal with the Orioles.

That would be news to the Orioles people I've talked to.

As I've written several times over the past month or so, the Orioles haven't totally dismissed the idea of adding Guerrero, a move that would push designated hitter Luke Scott to left field. However, they haven't been actively pursuing him, either, and at this point, they are focused on adding one or two starting pitchers and a lefty for the bullpen.

Like everyone else, I wondered whether Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon agreeing to terms with the Tampa Bay Rays last night and the Los Angeles Angels trading for Vernon Wells could result in Guerrero falling into the Orioles' laps at a significantly reduced rate.

I guess that still could happen, but as of now, an Orioles-Guerrero marriage does not appear to be imminent.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 8:10 AM | | Comments (42)
        

Comments

Maybe the Orioles interest in Guerrero is dependent on a trade involving Pie for a starting pitcher.

Jeff,

Why 2 starters? I thought the idea was to get one to give Tillma/Britton more time in Norfolk?

If Vlad falls into their laps, it does give them some trade flexibility to get a better pitcher but I doubt it is a good idea long term. It comes down to pitching, not more HRs, to get into contention so his addition is only good if they can parlay it into a better arm.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Meant more along the lines of one veteran for the big leagues, and another to start at Triple-A and be available for insurance purposes. With the health of Bergesen and Arrieta and the struggles of Tillman, a little more depth will certainly help.

why not sign vlad. i knew we give up some defense by moving scott to LF. but i think the added power more than makes up for that loss. we need all the power in the lineup that we can get.
signing vlad makes a lot of sense to me.

The benefits of signing Vlad are twofold:

1) Sure, he adds more power to the lineup

2) But more importantly he stabilizes a lineup that is prone to injury. What are the odds that Jones and Pie remain injury-free over the course of the season? Minimal.

This is a move that is based off the market price being so low due to the high supply of free agent veteran hitters (Thome, Manny, Guerrero, etc.)

I think this is a bad idea. Vlad will be 36 and your ready to give up on Luke Scott and Felix Pie.
Pie earned the chance to start. Look at the stats. He is an offensive sparkplug to a team who's only other one is Brian Roberts. He has a good glove, too.
Luke Scott earned the right to the DH position last year with a .285 batting average, a higher on base average and a higher slugging percentage than Vlad had last year.
I love Vlad. Always have, always will. The time to get him has passed.
The O's are in prime position to give a couple of guys, who have earned it, the starting position until they don't perform.
Like Reimold last year. He earned the chance to start and lost it with his play. But he earned the chance.(hopefully will get another)
Scott and Pie have earned their chance too. Taking that away for this short term (maybe very short)improvement is very short sighted.
You said sign Vlad for 2 years if thats what it takes. While admitting he can no longer run or play the field.
I am glad Andy is in charge. Now if Andy is using Luke for a trade to get the last starter or set up guy we need then this would make sense.


A Few Thoughts

The Orioles have to get this done! Sign Vlad for heaven sakes! I really do feel he has one good year left in him as a hitter. Maybe more, but lets just focus on 2011.
As for starting pitchers. I would seriously consider Jeremy Bonderman more so then Justin Duchscherer. Here's why.
I love the fact that Jeremy has these pitches slider, split-finger fastball as well as a four-seam fastball. I love the split finger. That's a tough pitch to control and Jeremy has it. Also, Jeremy throw harder then Justin. Jeremy can still hit it in the 90's somewhere, Jeremy was never really known for being a hard thrower. Lastly, Justin had two things wrong with him in the past, Jeremy had only one thing. Oh one other thing Jeff when I was reading on Jeremy and old name came up Mike Maroth. He's left handed and only 33. His K to Walk ratio isn't half bad. The problem I saw is that he gave up a lot of hits. Still maybe he could be helpful as a left handed specialist. I am not sure if Bonderman and Maroth would qualify as the dynamice duo, but Bonderman gets out Yankees and Maroth could find himself in Baltimore. It's just a thought.

all due respect Jeff - but I highly doubt anyone within the O's would tell you something was going on under any circumstances.

They are very tight lipped these days.

I still can't see it happening though.

--
This is Dan, not Jeff, but trust me when I say that through the years when this many people come out and deny something is not imminent, it's not imminent. Not say it can't or won't happen. But we trust our sources, who rarely allow us to be wrong, no matter how "tight-lipped" they are.

Roberts
Markakis
Lee
Guerrero
Scott
Reynolds
Jones
Weiters
Hardy

Looks pretty good to me.

Do it already! No trades necessary. Give Reimold a chance to get at bats and innings in the field at AAA, re-build his body, game and confidence and be ready to come back the first time an OF/1B hits the DL. This builds depth and buys time. PLUS, it DRAMATICALLY improves our line-up from top to bottom. DO IT!

I love how everyone is worried about giving up on Luke Scott and Felix Pie.

As if a 33-year-old Scott is any more a major part of the future of this team than a 36-year-old Guerrero would be.

Just sign Guerrero, trade Scott for that back end of the rotation pitcher and let Pie sink or swim in left field.

Since he will be returning to his normal inconsistent self, there is no better time to trade Luke Scott than right now.

Also, as Dan said, Vlad's ridiculously low strikeout numbers will balance out Reynolds' ridiculously high strikeout numbers.

Of course, all of this just makes too much sense for the Orioles, so I don't expect it to get done.

If you look at all of the available top run producers and where they have gone this offseason, it is quite apparent that Peter Angelos has no intention of ponying up to sign Guerrero. They would not have waited this long if they intended on injecting marquee talent offensively into the lineup.

Nothing has changed since Macphail was hired to be Angelos' waterboy. Broken down players coming off down years is the Macphail MO. Guerrero simply had too good of a year last year to interest Andy and PA. After all, we can't spend with Nationals and the Rays, let alone the Yankees and the Red Sox. Once again Angelos is the Baseball's version of Jack Luskin.{You have to be from Baltimore to get that.}

Adding Vlad would greatly improve our line up from top to bottom, and would give us a legit clean up hitter for the first time in a long time. Although I am still a big believer in Riemold, I am not sure why the club is so hesitant to make this move ..... Riemold is far from a sure thing at this point given his awful last year, and Pie ideally would be a 4th OF or platoon player. Plus, having a little depth never hurt anyone.

It does get a little frustrating that we are afraid of blocking someone to the point where we won't make a move that would clearly improve our line up and our depth, plus give us some flexibility if an opportunity arises to trade an OF for a SP we like.

Vladdy in, Scott off to the left handed power starved Phils for Blanton.
Let's Play Ball!

Jeff, how can we take stock in anything anyone from the team says? And, I don't mean this in a negative way. The Orioles' M.O. is to get players at a discount. If you're going to do that, then they have to have a good poker face throughout negotiations, and that includes what they say to the media. I'm not saying I buy the report that he's close to signing, but what the Orioles say is even less of an indicator of what is actually going on with any talks.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Yes, O's front office doesn't say a whole lot but they also don't attempt to deceive. If they are saying they are not close to deal with Vlad and they aren't even pursuing him at this point, I believe them. They are also saying that they completely wouldn't rule it out if his price comes down significantly and I believe that as well. The bottom line is they are not actively and currently negotiating with Vlad Guerrero. That could change but that's where things are at now.

Clutch on the Luskin comment Gil! The AL East is about blunt force trauma and the lineup Frank Rizzo proposes supplies that. I'd think that a combo of Scott/young pitcher could fetch us at least a decent starter if not better.

At this point, Scott will likely have a better year than Vlad. Unless signing Vlad allows you to trade Scott for something useful, there is no sense in signing the guy. Certainly don't hold Pie or Reimold down for one year of Vlad.

All I'll say is I wouldn't give up multiple seasons of Pie or Reimold for one year of Vlad. I want to see wins as much as the next guy, but we shouldn't give away young talent for a guy who has maybe 2 good seasons left.

Scott is no worse an outfielder than Reimold, or for that matter Pie---he is not the quickest guy, but he gets a good jump and read on the ball. His arm is average/above average. One thing Scott has over both of those guys is that he's a pro...I like Mr. Rizzo's projected line-up...get Vlad--more strikes for everyone, and gives us a more formidable, fresh, bench.

I keep Scoot and get Vlad. Make Reimold earn a promotion from Norfolk. If he does, good. Then move Pie/Reimold/Jones/Scott for added depth. I don't see an issue here.

Whether we get Vlad or not, I hope management is still actively pursuing Justin Duchscherer, who fills our largest need-- another good starter.

Jeff/Dan,

Vlad was supposed to land a decent contract this year if his production was good, which it was. Very good. The Angels and Rangers are modestly interested. We already have said we might negotiate if the asking price were low. But isn't that the same logic of Angels and Rangers? So if you're Vlad, why not play for Tex or Cal, where you have played before and haev a betetr chance of winning than here? And then, maybe the market is better for him next year.

It boggles me, a bit, that no one is willing to go after a guy with his numbers. Age and injury...understood. But still, he seems way undervalued right now.

Bottom line though, unless his decision is retirement or O's, I just don't see it.


...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Good post. You are right. If all things were pretty much equal money wise, he'd likely choose Angels or Rangers over O's. People act like O's only team with even tepid interest. The last time I checked, the Rangers were willing to sign Thome and move Young to a utility role. Not sure why they wouldn't be willing to do it for Vlad, who had 115 RBIs for them last year.

Jeff,

I have to disagree with you. I think the O's ARE playing possum. If the warehouse were to allude to the possibility of signing Vlad and don't, then there is a huge blowback from the fans, who, are already miffed about ticket prices. And on and on about how the front office can't pull the trigger.

I also believe that if they do sign him, it is a precursor to a trade, that, I believe, will include Scott. Maybe to the Phils as part of a package to replace Werth's bat and to get Blanton.

Maybe the O's don't want to go through the arbitration process with him. Maybe the whole birther thing (don't forget, Peter Angelos is a staunch Dem and contributor and Obama backer) plays into it.

Scott has never been as valuable for a trade as he is now.

I think this deal is going to happen. Vlad is 36 an has at least two good productive years left in him. He ond Lee will put more "fannies in the seats" than Scott will.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: So you think Andy would openly dispute the story, basically say they are not in on Vlad right now though not rule him out totally, and then sign him 2 days from now and risk the media not believing a word he says again? The good thing Jay is you are free to believe what you want.

Jay-

Politically, I think PA will go for whatever helps him the most, as seen with GE's Immelt, a republican, sucking up to BHO.

I say 2 years, $20 mil.

btw- the reCaptcha thing is junk.

Nolan Ryan mentioned that he wasn't interested in bringing back Vlad because he doesn't feel he can give him the playing time that Vlad would want. He specifically mentioned that Thome is a niche player and he would be happy to get a DH who would be content with 300 ABs plus pinch hitting duties which is why he ruled out on Manny and re-signing Vlad. Does that mean it's set in stone? No, but I truly believe the Rangers aren't after Vlad.

I know his 2nd half wasn't as good as his 1st half, but they lost Hamilton to injuries so he lost his protection in the lineup, but those #s were still good. You take away the first two and a half months away from Wiggy and he would be begging for a job now.

I think the holdup is which player gets to wear # 27? Reynolds, Lee or Vlad so once that gets sorted out, Vlad will be in Baltimore.

Jeff, can I get your thoughts on the Wells trade? I simply don't understand how the Angels think Wells is worth over 20 mil for the next 4 years. I know they lost out on Crawford and Beltre, but I am still trying to figure out what they gained?


..............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: I agree with pretty much what everyone else has been writing. I was shocked that the Angels took on Wells without getting salary relief as it was my belief that Wells and Zito had most untradeable contracts in baseball. I still think Wells has some good baseball left in him, but I'm not sure how you can do that deal if you are the Angels.

Maybe the O's made an offer to Vlad awhile ago that was like 1 year $4 mil. But they never took the offer back. With Vlad other wells drying up he might only have that offer left. and he might be considering it. Doesn;t mean the O's had to have offered anything recently.

Also it be nice to send Reimold to AAA. He had a nice 360 ABs in 2009. But did not even hit .250 last year in AAA.

i do not see vlad signing with the orioles.with the rise of the price of tickets i feel that it will drive more people away from oriole park.

Jeff, On a totally unrelated topic, is there any chance you could do some posts over the next few weeks on the minor leagues.

Last year, Dean Jones (I think) did minor league rankings by position, which I found very interesting, and I think others did as well based on feed back.

Any chance you or Dan could replicate something similar. Maybe I have missed it, but I don't believe I have really seen much other than some excellent articles on our top ten prospects.

Just curious.......


...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Dean and Mike Milller ranked all of the Orioles' prospects earlier this month. Go back and you should be able to find it.

Jeff/Dan:
Everyone is worried that "if" we end up signing vlad to a one year deal, that it's not in the best of interest for the future of this franchise. The way i see it, i think it'd help. Vlad would make this team better the day we sign him. He has one good year, helps the team get over .500 and next year bigger name free agents might want to come here. Your thoughts?

---
From Dan: I see little downside in adding Guerrero, assuming the finances are right. And, given how late it is in the offseason, the finances could be right.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: I'm not too worried about it affecting the franchise's future, that's for sure.

The addition of Vlad would be an addition which could really be the kick that O's fans are looking for. At this point, with various pundits and representatives stating that things are pretty well set with the Orioles, what's needed is that something Extra, some pizazz put into the roster. Something additional to get a little excited about. Forget about logic; What's needed is a gut-inspired move. And I state all this while always having had some resentment against Vlad "The Gloater" Guerrero. I've observed that he just can't get his s*&%-eating grin off his face when he shows up the opposing team and it just sits there, like when a misplayed hit of his or something goes through. He's never been content to just get the go ahead hit, displaying poor sportsmanship in his demeanor. That being said, he Is a Threat, an unpredictable one who you can never count out to come though.. I'd take him!

BIG Guerrero fan since his days in the Expos farm system.

That said, he'll sign with another team....more [bs] from Angelos and MacFail.

Ravens lose, O's fail to snag Guerrero, no snow accumulations....this city is quickly becoming LOSER CENTRAL.

Jeff,

Do you think that Andy Macphail deserves a contract extension? Do you think he will get one? In your opinion do think this franchise has made significant progress during his tenure?

Many of us expected much more and a lot sooner. If you go back and read Pete's blog, he and many of us thought that in 2009 Macphail needed to put a competitive product on the field. Then Pete expressed the same thoughts about 2010. I understand that Macphail is a plodding incrementalist, but is that approach really fair to the fans now that the losing streak has straetched to 13 years? I think you would agree that the team is likely to finish last again in the division in 2011 with only an outside chance at fourth. Why isn't the team really spending the money it needs to to compete? I'm beginning to wonder if Peter Angelos really wants to win. Our farm system certainly is berift of positon players that can help the big league team, and Andy has had four offseasons to show some measurable results somewhere. What HAS he done other than to keep the payroll down? I know that is a lot of questions but I am interested in your frank opinions.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: As you mentioned Gil, that's an awful lot to answer in response to a question on the blog and I'm sure this will be a topic that gets revisted multiple times here going foward. Hopefully then, I'll be more expansive. But in answering your question, no, I wouldn't extend him now. I'd really wait and see what happens this year. I think MacPhail has done some nice things. He has added some much-needed young talent. He hasn't bogged the organization down with bad contracts, a big factor considering he interited a ton of them. But I've said this many times, ultimately, it has to start showing in the standings. That's the bottom line. You have to win games. I think he inherited a near possible situation, but I think there have been some times where he needed to be a little more aggressive, assertive and creative to narrow the gap between the O's and the rest of the AL East. Also, several areas where MacPhail vowed improvement (international scouting, scouting and player develppment, etc) haven't improved much under his watch. I'm sure he'd be first to admit that he is the one accountable for that.

Jeff, did the O's ever make an offer to Guerrero this offseason? I am wondering if they don't have a lowball offer in that He is considering just because there is nothing else worth taking out there.

..............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Nope

Jeff,

Do you consider Bowden to be a credible source in general? Does he have a track record of making unsubstantiated postings? What role does Angelos or Showalter have in a high visibility signing like this one? Doesn't a signing like this result in increased attendance? Doesn't this addition give the Os more bargaining power to trade for a starter? I just
see this making the Os significantly more competitive in the AL east. Doesn't McPhail need to make a splash at sometime? how long do you wait to make this club competitive? Maybe the Os will never be in the playoffs as MLB does not have revenue sharing plan? I mean are the fans wasting their time falsely hoping that the Os will win again?

Hey guys,
don't you think anyone who uses the childish, trite nickname of "McFail" generally loses any objective credibility as well as a passive aggressive personality trait?

Gil;

If you "thought that in 2009 Macphail needed to put a competitive product on the field", then you started off with an unrealistic set of expectations.

2008 was MacPhail's first full season running the club. He wasn't about to come out of spring training with a winner in year 2.

Maybe you can think of some examples of a GM turning around a team in the middle of a 10 year losing streak in one season but I sure can't.

Dan And Jeff,

The Orioles might only retain the rights to Hardy and Lee for one year. I don't think management would block the playing time of Pie, Reimold, and maybe later this year Bell to make Vlads the DH. I don't think it will happen unless it is accompanied by a major trade for a #1 or #2 starter.

Guerrero is just a way better DH than Luke Scott!!! Point blank.... The guy had over 100 RBI's last year!! Duh Andy McPhail is smoking crack if he doesn't sign this guy. I would trade Luke Scott and keep Reimold and Pie in a Platoon situation in LF.

Derek;

Over the last 2 years Vlady has had 1030 plate appearances to 1010 for Luke Scott. Pretty even.

Scott has hit 55 doubles to 43 for Vlady, hit 52 Hrs to just 44 for Vlady and has had a higher OB%, SL% and OPS than Vlady . As far as run production is concerned, Vlady has a slight edge at 142 to 131 in runs scored and 165 to 149 in RBIs, but he has also played for much better offensive teams with more good hitters around him than Scott has had here in Baltimore.

Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to see Vlad playing right field in Philly this year. There are some concerns about the kid who's supposed to replace Werth, and Philly's pitching staff is strong enough to handle Vlad's lack of defensive abilities.

I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHY THE ORIOLES DON'T SIGN VLAD TO ENFORCE THE LINE UP AND BRING THE FANS TO THE BALL PARK. THEN GO AFTER A STARTER OR WAIT UNTIL JULY TO DO SO. WITH VLAD ON THE LINE UP A WILL LOOK SCARY TEAM. QUICK PLAYING AROUND AND DON'T BE AFRAID TO GIVE THE STEP.

Dan S,

I see your point but I just think that Vlad is a little better than Luke. And if we got Vlad I don' think that Scott should be in left field because he isn't the greatest fielder. Trade Luke or platoon him with Vlad. We need some more pitching also! I can't wait to get to Sarasota to see these guys!!!!

i dont see how the orioles have swiped up blanton yet, the second i heard he might be available it seem like a perfect match. Id give up any 1 of scott/pie/reimold to get him and the phils need a replacement for werth. Why hasn't this happened yet?

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Jeff Z's reply: Because he has $17 million remaining on his contract, and that's an awful lot of money for a 4th or 5th starter. The Phillies obviously want to move the guy and they still haven't so obviously the O's aren't the only team with reservations.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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