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February 18, 2011

Guerrero gets jersey, meets with media

Vladimir Guerrero received his new Orioles' jersey from manager Buck Showalter, and said, "I’ve been feeling very much at home, they are like family here."

Guerrero passed his physical, making official today his one-year, $8 million deal with the Orioles. In a news conference this afternoon in a room adjacent to the clubhouse at Ed Smith Stadium and attended by Jeremy Guthrie and Adam Jones among others, the 36-year-old slugger said that he's not thinking about retirement and he just wants to stay healthy and help the Orioles win.

"Hopefully, God-willing, I’m going to have a healthy, productive year," he said, speaking through agent and translator, Fernando Cuza. "I’d like to stay in the lineup like I did last year. If I stay in the lineup, I feel like I can be very productive."

Guerrero currently has 436 home runs, and has no plans on stopping there.

"I haven’t thought about retirement yet," he said. "My whole mindset is to have a good year, continue playing and if I stay healthy and things keep going well for me, I’m going to continue playing. Five hundred home runs is definitely something I’m after. And whatever comes after that."

The news conference was pretty anti-climactic, but Guerrero did garner some laughs when he said, "Since I was little, I’ve always swung at bad pitches.”

Before putting his signature to a contract and getting Guerrero to do the same, president of baseball of operations Andy MacPhail lauded the player's achievements, and thanked team owner Peter Angelos.

"It’s rare when you get a chance to introduce someone who has had over 10 seasons of 100-plus RBIs, he’s been an MVP award winner, lifetime .320 hitter, and I can’t remember in recent memory where we’ve made a signing that has generated as much enthusiasm as this one has.

"I would be remiss if I really did not thank ownership for this. I blew past a couple numbers that we had agreed on and this signing certainly takes us there. I think we’ll have a payroll in excess of $20 million where we were a year ago. This is really ownership’s objective to try to capture and sustain the momentum that we showed when Buck came on board in August and we played with almost a .600 winning percentage. We’re very grateful to Peter and his family to be able to make this announcement today."


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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 2:39 PM | | Comments (21)
        

Comments

Clearly this is a good time, and Spring Training is the most upbeat of times for all of us.

At the same time, I just to make sure I am not the only one who paused for some slight hesitation here. Please, let me ask the writers who have more of an insight: Is it apparent to MacPhail and/or Angelos that for the Orioles to continue to sustain winning that the payroll will have to continuously increase to retain the players who perform?

I suppose my concern just stems from the surprise MacPhail had that ownership allowed him to go over budget to take advantage of a clearly undervalued player.


...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Yes ... their desired payroll is based on where ownership and the front office believe they are as a franchise. If they have a good season, finish above .500 and look to be a player or two away from contending, then they'll spend the money and raise the payroll.

Thank you Mr. Angelos, thank you Mr. MacPhail and thank you Mr. Guerrero!

Let's kick some AL East tail! Go' O's!!

Welcome to Charm City, Vladdy. Please tear it the hell up!

Ain't the beer cold!

Welcome Vladimir!!

Other than Cal Ripken, Vladimir has been my favorite major league ball player over the past 15 years,

It will be great to finally see him in an Oriole uniform!

Welcome!!

In an entry dealing with Vlad getting his jersey, I would HOPE to find out what NUMBER was on our newest Oriole's jersey!!!! Especially when the story is filled with all kinds of other numbers pertaining to his prowess as a player. WHAT'S HIS JERSEY NUMBER?!!?

...............................................................................................Jeff Z's reply: He's wearing No.27. I've written it in numerous places.

This signing reminds me of the trade for Sammy Sosa. Everybody's going gaga over a man whose last great year was 2007, is 35 years old, had a poor second half to last season and looked overmatched in the postseason. Did anybody else watch him go 1-for-14 in the World Series?

Derrek Lee was the big signing this offseason, as he fills what had been a hole bigger than the one in Garret Atkins' swing. Yet nobody's talking about Lee.

I hope Guerrero has enough let in the tank to put up another year just like last season, when his numbers were about equivalent to Nick Markakis' (122 OPS+ to 119) without any defensive contribution. The O's can use another Markakis-level hitter.

But please, the Superman t-shirt? I would like to have seen Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson's reaction to that.

Nice job, Jeff, all the way around. you and Pete are our eyes and ears.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Thanks Gil.

RT section 34: "had a poor second half to last season and looked overmatched in the postseason. Did anybody else watch him go 1-for-14 in the World Series?"

I think Jim Mora said it best.

"What's that? Ah -- Playoffs? Don't talk about -- playoffs?! You kidding me?! Playoffs?! I just hope we can win a game! Another game!"

Section 34,

If you had to play here in TX during July, August and September, you'd be worn out at that age as well. This signing is nothing like the Sosa signing. Sosa was washed up when we signed him. This guys would have led us in several offensive categories, or come close, even though he regressed towards the end of the season. The impact he will have on the pitches the top of the lineup gets alone, especially Markakis, will significantly boost the offense.

I'll take him for one year hitting in Camden Yards for 82 games. That's minimum risk and basically a no-brainer. Hell, the O's really have don't have anything to lose now do they???

Jeff -

What's your opinion (or insider knowledge) as to why the O's didn't take a chance and sign Vlad to a 2 year deal? He's 36, yes, but it's not as if aging sluggers haven't had productive careers as DH's in this age range... and, also, we don't have anyone like him in the wings.

Is there an option in his contract for a second year?

As excited as I am to have him as the blow-up DH hitter that we need... I'm also bummed that he's only locked down for 1 year.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Nope, just one-year. I get the impression that neither side wanted two years. I think there is obviously some concern looking at what Vlad did in the second half last year, along with in 2009, about how much he has left. So two years would have been too much for Orioles. Also, I don't think the O's were Vlad's first choice either, so his hope may be that he has a great year and can get a multi-year offer from somebody else after 2011.

Sammy Sosa was the same age when the O's acquired him and coming off a 113 OPS+ season to Guerrero's 122. Sosa wasn't required to DH by physical limitations, though he was a brutal fielder.

Both players had been in decline for two years before joining the Orioles. In all this enthusiasm for Guerrero, I haven't seen anyone mention that the Angels gave him up after 2009, thinking he was washed up, when his OPS+ was just 107. (An OPS+ of 100 is league average.)

Regarding the Texas ballpark: It's a great hitters' park and no doubt helped Guerrero's numbers. And just how worn out can a guy who only DHs get?

Guerrero's overpaid, but that's not my problem. He hopefully will help the Orioles, though it's possible that if he declines further, Felix Pie might be a better hitter. But that's not what I'm saying.

What I'm saying is, stop worshipping washed-up old guys. The Baltimore media is complicit in the Orioles' continued underperformance. Organizations like the Sun kept pushing Guerrero on us like he's a savior, and then will turn around and act surprised when he didn't turn out to be. Then next winter, the next "Sign a big name" campaign will begin again.

I want to see the Orioles win the World Series again in my lifetime. Guerrero's signing will NOT help them do that. For that we need a real Superman, and he'll have to come from the farm system or an international signing.

Are they going to let him keep his goatee?

.............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: No

Section 34:

Not only was his last great year LAST YEAR, but if you look at the numbers he hit .325 in September. Just had a bad July/August, so the "2nd half decline" argument is pretty misleading.

Posters have been going on about Guerrero's poor second half last year. You can go to mlb.com and get all the monthly splits if you want more numbers. In each time period Vlad played in between 22 - 27 games. He was really poor in July but started to recover in Aug and was hitting just fine in Sept/Oct. The troubling stat is HRs. Other than May and June he did not hit more than 4 HRs in the other 4 time periods.

OBP/SLG/BA/HR
Mar/Apr .387/.464./.333/2
May .339/.633/.330/10
June .427/.622/.356/6
July .282/.340/.210/3
Aug .296/.423/.269/4
Sept/Oct .359/.521/.323/4

Thank our good Lord and Mr. Angelos.
Maybe this will give Mr. Angelos some credit . Most all you so called Oriole fans have been really unfair with the owner . He has been getting so much slack it made me sick to think people could be so rude , to enother person .
Again I thank you Mr. Angelos .
Curt

Nobody got a picture of the guy in his O's #27 jersey?????
_______________________________________
Response from Steve Gould:
There will be one as soon as I finish updating our spring training photo gallery with pictures from today. You can view it here.

section 34;

Where are you getting the numbers you're calling OPS? For the record, OPS is OB%+SL%. League average OB was about .330 while SL was about .410 last year. Add them up and an average OPS is about .740 or so. (fluctuates year to year)

For the record, Vlady's OPS last year was.841 while Markakis was .806 An OPS of 1.00 is Pujols territory.

Vlad had a real good OPS last year at .841 For the benefit of those who have a hard time appreciating Luke Scott, his OPS was .903

OPS+, not OPS. From Baseball Reference dot com.

In all honesty, I'm not very enthused about Guerrero either. I fear that he's just here to collect a paycheck and won't put in the effort needed to help propel this team back to contention. It seems as if he feels like having to sign with the Orioles is a slap in the face.

However, I hope he proves me wrong and has a solid year. I don't expect much; maybe 20 home runs and 90 RBI's, and that's probably a bit inflated. He could be a total flop and finish with 10 HR's or less and 50 ribbies. Prove me wrong, Vladdy.

Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz said that Vlad was a very calming influence in the dugout when things got tough and was a very good mentor to the young players so even if Vlad doesn't have the same #s as last year, I expect the O's will get a lot out positives of this contract.

I can't wait to see the 2011 Birds because for the 1st time in a long, long time, I feel like we have a real team with real talent plus a real manager who wont let things get out of hand.

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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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