Would you let Vladimir Guerrero play outfield this week?
Had a heck of a day at the bar yesterday – plenty of comments and some interesting thoughts on how to fix the Orioles. Lots of bitters were ordered as well (just a joke, people, I understand your vitriol).
Anyway, interleague play is upon us – AGAIN. But I don’t want to ask whether you like it. We’ve beaten that one to death.
Interleague is particularly interesting for the Orioles this year, because this may be the first time during its existence that the Orioles have had a designated hitter that didn’t really play other positions.
Technically, Vladimir Guerrero is an outfielder, but he hasn’t done it much since 2008. Guerrero has started 63 of the Orioles’ 66 contests this year, hitting .288 with six homers and 27 RBIs. All of those games have come as a DH.
But for the next six games in Washington and Pittsburgh, there will be no DH. So what do you do with Guerrero?
He won’t be in Friday’s starting lineup and I doubt he’ll start any – maybe one – in left field. It’s not just that he is considered a liability out there. The Orioles don’t want him to risk injury – and last year his offensive production dipped when he played the field. (By the way, he still shags fly balls in warm-ups and would like to play outfield if the alternative is getting to hit just once. But he says it is completely up to Buck Showalter.)
While in the outfield in 2010, Guerrero batted .234 with four homers in 64 at-bats. As a DH last year, he hit .306 with 25 homers in 523 at-bats. He also saw a serious drop in power between his first and second halves of 2010 – which we assume means he wore down. Even if he isn’t part of the Orioles’ future, you want him as a potential trade chip in July, so keeping him somewhat fresh could be important.
The flip side is, even though his power numbers are down, he still can be a presence in the middle of the lineup and taking him out weakens a group that isn’t exactly playing pinball with the scoreboard.
My suggestion is start him twice in left and use him as a pinch-hitter in the other four games. I don’t’ think that’s what’s going to happen – I see him pinch-hitting in all six – but if I were in charge for a week, I’d let him play the outfield twice.
I’d also fire myself if he pulls a hamstring and is out for four weeks.
Tell me your thoughts.
Daily Think Special: Do you let Vladimir Guerrero play outfield this week?