Vladimir Guerrero was without a team in 2012 until the Toronto Blue Jays finally offered him a minor league contract in May. While Guerrero is no longer in his prime, where he used to hit 30+ homers a year, drive in over 100 runs, and steal bases in the double digits, he can still hit for average – last year, he batted .290 for the Baltimore Orioles. In his career, he generally has hit over or close to .300 each year. He also hit for 13 homers last year.
Faced long time to get signed
Given that, and given his age – he is still only 37 – it was a little surprising that nobody picked up Guerrero this year until now, especially given that even Manny Ramirez, who has to serve a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s performance-enhancing drugs policy, was signed this spring by the Oakland Athletics to a major league contract, and other aging sluggers like Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon were able to find major league jobs. In addition, Guerrero’s $1.2 million minor league contract with the Blue Jays is not guaranteed. So if he does not work out for Toronto, they can simply release him with minimal expense.
Is Vlad worth picking up?
Now Guerrero is back in Canada, where he started his major league career with the now-defunct Montreal Expos. It will take the designated hitter a few weeks to get ready for the big leagues, but is he somebody worth picking up? After all, nobody in Major League Baseball signed him until May. You cannot or should not pick him up now, obviously, as his debut in the majors will not be towards until the end of May at the earliest, but is Guerrero worth picking up? He could very well be, especially if you are in an AL-only league, or you need somebody in the DH/utility spot in an ML league.
Guerrero hit the second-best at designated hitter in 2011 for average after David Ortiz, so he can still hit. In addition, he is expected to get some good playing time if he is successful with Toronto.
Remember that he is not in the big leagues just yet
Should you pick up Guerrero? He may very well be worth a shot at DH, but don’t pick him up until he is ready to go. Also, keep in mind that he does not steal bases like he used to, and the free swinger never walks a lot, but you should get some potential value when it comes to batting average, hits and home runs.