O’s Get Vlad

The Orioles have signed DH Vladimir Guerrero to a one year contract worth $8 million pending a physical.

The game of cat and mouse is over. We’ve been hearing Vlad to the Orioles for weeks now and it finally came to fruition. I was fine going into the season with Luke Scott at DH and a Felix Pie/Nolan Reimold platoon in left field but theres no question that this signing makes us better. Guerrero will be our full time DH, moving Scott to left and Pie to the bench as the fourth outfielder. Reimold will either start the year at AAA Norfolk or on the Orioles bench getting at bats in the outfield, first base, and DH. The depth created here is a big plus. If theres an injury (and there usually is at some point) then we’ll be ready to adapt to the situation. Vlad had a solid bounce back season in 2010 after battling injuries in 2009. He hit .300/.345/.496 with 27 doubles, a triple, 29 homeruns, and 115 RBI for the Rangers on their way to the world series. Theres no doubt hes slow, getting old, and in the decline phase of his career but theres plenty of reason to believe Vlad is still capable of putting up a good season. Some reason for concern is that he performed much worse after the all-star break than before hand (1.018 OPS before, .748 after) but he had a respectable September. He was awful in the playoffs too, putting up a Cesar Izturis like .513 OPS. If he puts up another great first half and Pie and Reimold are performing the way they’re capable of we could always trade Vlad before the deadline depending on how the season is going. The price is a little steep but its only a one year deal so it won’t effect our payroll in the years to come even if he performs under par. He’ll receive $5 million in 2011 while the other $3 million will be deferred across two years at some point in the years to come. As much as I was indifferent about signing him, I can’t help but be excited to watch him play in an O’s uniform. The season can’t come soon enough.

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