Guerrero: Eight (million) is more than enough
If I were holding the pursestrings in the warehouse, I don't know if I would have spent $8 million on Vladimir Guerrero, but since it's not my money, I'm all for it. The Orioles were painfully short on run production last year for a variety of reasons -- from Brian Roberts being unavailable for much of the year to the Garrett Atkins fiasco -- but now they've brought in enough potentially productive bats to dramatically change the outlook for the offense.
Notice that I said "potentially" productive, because we're talking about a group of players who -- taken individually -- each have some issue that creates realistic doubt his ability to produce replicate one of the better seasons of his career. But the fact that the Orioles have added Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee, J.J. Hardy and now Guerrero gives them decent odds that at least a couple of them will inject some real life into the middle of the Orioles lineup.
Can Guerrero do for the Orioles what he did for the Rangers last year? That's asking a lot, considering he's a year older and the O's are a lot farther away from being a contending team. But he gives the team that much more offensive credibility and gives fans a little more to look forward to as they club gets ready to open training camp just 10 days from now.
The upside on Guerrero is way up. The downside is $8 million wasted. Somewhere in between is a player who can generate a lot of excitement when he's healthy and who will have value at midseason if the Orioles need to move him for prospects.
The only question now is what to do with Luke Scott. It looks like he'll be targetted to return to left field, though Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold might have something to say about that this spring.
If nothing else, the Orioles now have enough offensive depth that they can weather one severe injury to a key hitter this spring and still field a full lineup. That, in and of itself, is real progress.