What would happen if O’s got Guerrero?
Judging by the public outcry every time Vladimir Guerrero's name is mentioned these days, the first thing would probably be Orioles fans taking to the streets en masse, then rushing to the ticket booths to get 2011 season-ticket packages. However, that's not what I'm getting at.
What I mean is what would happen to the roster if the Orioles were able to sign the veteran designated hitter (and I have my doubts that they will, but I seem to be in the minority these days).
This is mostly speculation because the Orioles aren't commenting, but the first and obvious result would be former designated hitter Luke Scott's becoming the team's everyday left fielder. There has been talk — mostly generated by fans — that the Orioles should and/or would trade Scott, but I just don't see that happening. Scott is 32 years old. He remains arbitration-eligible, and he'll likely make close to $6.5 million this season. While I think criticism of his defense is a little overblown (I won't quibble with him being called below average, but I've seen plenty worse around the league and in the organization), most teams view Scott exclusively as a DH. If a team is still looking for a DH in late January and still has some payroll flexibility, it would sign Guerrero rather than trade for Scott. So Scott's trade value simply isn't high at the moment.
Scott was the Orioles' best and most dangerous hitter last season, so there is no way you can leave him out of the lineup. But if he plays left field regularly, either Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold almost certainly will be left out and off the Opening Day roster.
Reimold is the right-handed hitter, so he could play left field while manager Buck Showalter sits Scott against tough lefties. However, that's about all that's in Reimold's favor.
He has a minor league option left while Pie doesn't, meaning Reimold wouldn't have to be exposed to waivers and potentially lost as Pie would. Despite being a very good athlete, Reimold struggled mightily with his left-field defense last year, perhaps a result of not being completely healed after surgery on his Achilles tendon. Pie is the superior defensive option and the better choice to be used as a late-game defensive replacement for Scott in the outfield, a strategy that Showalter almost certainly would employ. Pie can also play center field, allowing Showalter to give Adam Jones an occasional day off.
This is my opinion more than anything, but I would be surprised if signing Guerrero resulted in an immediate trade of Pie or Reimold. The fact remains that Pie has yet to stay healthy and Jones has been banged up quite a bit over the past couple of seasons. The Orioles are relatively thin in outfield depth, especially in the upper levels of the minor leagues.
It seems to me the best thing to do would be to keep them all and hope both Reimold and Pie stay healthy and have strong spring trainings. If that's the case, you can always trade one of them late in spring training if an outfielder-needy team comes calling.
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