Blue Jays Sign Vladimir Guerrero

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed Vladimir Guerrero to a Minor League contract.

The details: Guerrero will go to extended Spring Training to get into game shape, and if the Blue Jays decide to bring him to the big club, he will make $1.3 million, prorated to however much time he spends in MLB.

While fascinating on multiple levels, the least of which being that Guerrero started his illustrious career in Canada with the Montreal Expos, the most hopeful scenario playing out for Blue Jays fans would see Guerrero splitting time at designated hitter, batting only against left handed pitching.

In this case, Edwin Encarnacion would DH against right handed pitchers, and play first base vs. LHP. Meanwhile, Adam Lind would only play first base against right handed pitching.

All of this makes for a good question: Is Guerrero, at this point in his career a better option versus LHP than what’s currently in house? There’s no question that if his playing time is at the expense of Lind’s, we can expect to see an improvement, but what of Rajai Davis and Ben Francisco?

Here’s what the three players have done in their most recent full seasons and careers vs. LHP:

  • Vladimir Guerrero: .311 wOBA, 91 wRC+ in 2011; .401 wOBA, 147 wRC+ over his career.
  • Rajai Davis: .362 wOBA, 127 wRC+ in 2011; .333 wOBA, 104 wRC+ over his career.
  • Ben Francisco: .301 wOBA, 86 wRC+ in 2011; .340 wOBA, 108 wRC+ over his career.

As we see, Guerrero in his last incarnation as a Major Leaguer wasn’t anything close to the hitter he once was. However, over the last three seasons, Vladdy, as he is still affectionately called, puts up numbers like this: .341 wOBA, 108 wRC+, eerily close to what Francisco has put up over his career.

Talent declines faster at an advanced age, and Guerrero at the age of 37 is definitely going to be experiencing this. As for the Blue Jays though, they really lose nothing. They pay a minimal amount to see if he still has anything left, and if he does, there’s probably some room to have him DH occasionally and be used as a bat off the bench. Above all this, the team creates some good will with its fans, of whom even the most casual are aware of Guerrero.

Comments (28)

  1. This can’t end well…

  2. Eh I wouldn’t hate a September call-up and hope for a pinch hit home run

  3. EE to 1B?, IF Vlad can hit, DH? Lind to be DFA’d? Can’t wait to see what happens, but Guerrero likely can’t hit.

  4. A RH OF/DH type? Isn’t this what Ben Francisco is for?

  5. You know, Vladdy did bat .290 last season with a solid .317 OBP in over 500 PA’s. And he hit .324 in six games at the Rogers Center against the Jays… He doesn’t have the legs or the power he once had but he can still hit a little and could be a nice platoon option.

    • A .317 OBP isn’t solid.

      That’s not to say that this is a terrible move or anything, but Guerrero’s not an everyday player anymore (and I don’t think the Jays have any illusions of using him as one).

      • it’s not like you’re taking the bat out of the hands of someone with a hope in hell of doing much better.

        i don’t really get why people are critical of this (non-)move.

  6. BLoLue Jays.
    hmmm, doesn’t sound as nice but i’ll stick with it.

  7. I don’t see why everyone’s so butt-hurt about this. It’s a minor-league deal. If he’s terrible then he’s gone. And then we can all mutter a collective “meh” and move on with our lives.

    • “I don’t see why everyone’s so butt-hurt about this. It’s a minor-league deal. If he’s terrible then he’s gone. And then we can all mutter a collective “meh” and move on with our lives.”

      And what’s the alternative? What if he actually makes the team? It’s not like the team needs another defensively limited player hovering around a 700 OPS. There’s already Eric Thames and Ben Fransisco. Not to mention that there’s a not so defensively limited guy with actual upside in AAA. I’d rather him not make the team than get ABs.

      • What is with you people trying to hurry Travis Snider, again?

        Do you remember what happened the last three times the Jays brought him to the big club? Why hinder him with a quick move? Why even risk it? Let him dominate AAA, let him stay there for a little while. Bring him up now and you’re taking a big risk on what is supposed to be a top prospect.

        Besides, Snider’s OPS has been in the .700′s the last three season’s at the MLB level, and you can blame the management for “yo-yoing him” but the fact remains that Snider has regressed since his first year and it benefits no one bringing him up too soon.

        Vlad has more power than Snider right now, and the Jays were looking for pop. The Jays are fine with Thames who, minus a cold streak the last 8-games, has been REALLY good for them.

        • So in other words, if we ignore all the games Thames was bad in, he’d be good? It doesn’t work that way.

          It is funny that you say Snider’s OPS being in the 700s is some bad thing…unlike Thames, who had an OPS in the 700s last year.

          Just for the record, Thames is tied with Vizquel and Lind for the least productive players on the team not named Cordero. Turns out that playing extremely poor defence and being a below average hitter at a position that demands a big bat is not a good combination for Thames.

          • Lol I love how you bring Thames into this just because he said “don’t rush Snider”. There are other ways at looking at personell decisions than “OMFG Player A vs Player B!!!”

          • Exactly. Travis Snider with a .308 wOBA and a .715 OPS (Thames’ numbers right now) would be worth at least a half a win more than Thames right now, because at the very least he brings defensive and base running value.

      • In terms of relevancy, its no different than seeing Jack Cust sign a minor league deal with the Yankees. Cust is currently playing in AAA and is likely only being considered as insurance against injury.

        You can also add the benefit of instilling a slight level of fear in some corners (Adam Lind). A lack of want or continuous slack in Lind’s game will likely result in Vlad stealing some AB’s, if Vlad can show that he can hit. Seeing an increase in Lind’s motivation level could be worth the signing alone.

  8. Honestly, considering how redundant Ben Francisco is on this team (Davis is already a better hitter vs. LHP/baserunner/defender who plays the same positions), there’s nothing wrong with this. If you replace Francisco with Guerrero, you get basically equal production, but you also win over a few Expos fans. There’s nothing to lose, and a little bit to gain. That’s still better than nothing.

    • Don’t hugely disagree, but Francisco does have his value because Rajai can’t fill all three of these roles at any given time. (i.e. if you need a PR and a PH in the same inning or game.)

  9. If he’s any good, Vladdy could also fit in as part of a DH platoon with either Lind or Thames (with EE playing 1B every day).

    As silly as it is, I think Farrell would be more comfortable putting Lind or Thames in a platoon situation with a future hall-of-famer like Guerrero than he would with any other right-handed option (e.g. Francisco). And I know that’s goofy logic, but hey, if that’s what it’s going to take to get the manager to make the best use of his roster, then so be it.

  10. Welcome to Toronto Vladie. I’m a big fan

  11. It’s a good move for the Jays. Little risk for them.
    Vladdy was a tremendous player. A bad ballpark in Montreal and a couple injuries may be the only thing that prevents him from getting to the Hall of Fame.
    He still has a big following here in Montreal.

  12. fuck it, AA might as well just sign eddie murray’s mustache while he’s bringing out retreads. The ‘stache would probably hit better than Lind anyway.

  13. Honestly, let’s just have some fun with this. Vlad was a great player and one of my favourites over the years; if he has anything left, it’ll be fun to watch at the very least.

  14. WHOS YOUR VLADDY?!

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