Vladimir Guerrero is Vladimir Guerrero, but he's also 37 years old, officially. Last season, he was 36 years old, and he posted a 101 OPS+ with the Baltimore Orioles. That's not miserable production, but it's also not particularly appealing production from a designated hitter with next to no defensive value. Therefore, it didn't come as a complete surprise when Vladimir Guerrero passed the offseason not signing a contract with anybody.
Oh, there were whispers and there were feelers. Guerrero was at one point connected to the Cleveland Indians, and to the Miami Marlins, and most recently to the Arizona Diamondbacks. But nobody went so far as to sign Guerrero, because he's relatively old and relatively mediocre. Name aside, there were other options.
But now look! Guerrero has a new home! Vladimir Guerrero has signed a minor-league contract, but Vladimir Guerrero has signed a contract! For baseball!
Source: #BlueJays sign Vladimir Guerrero to minor-league deal.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 10, 2012
"Right now, we don't have any talks going on with anyone. But if somebody were to fall in our lap, would we take a look at it? Yes."
He later defined "fall in our lap" this way: "If someone were to say, 'I want to come in to camp on a minor league deal,' we'd say we're open to [bringing in] pretty much anybody. But in terms of adding a free agent on a guaranteed contract, we won't be doing that."
Well all right then. I think it's say to say that Guerrero more or less fell in the Blue Jays' lap. Guerrero was hoping to sign for millions of dollars somewhere, but his demands obviously and sensibly came down as he realized nobody was going to make that kind of commitment.
So Guerrero will report to the minors, at first. From there, the Blue Jays will evaluate what he can do. If you take a look at the major-league roster, Edwin Encarnacion has been hitting the crap out of the ball as a DH, but Adam Lind has been getting crapped on by the ball as a first baseman, and Encarnacion has some admittedly limited experience at first in the past. Maybe there's room for Guerrero. Maybe there's not. The Blue Jays are taking a shot here and they'll see where they stand in a matter of weeks.
Maybe it's kind of humiliating for a guy like Vladimir Guerrero to have to settle for a minor-league contract. Or maybe he's just ecstatic to get another shot, because he can't imagine a life without baseball, and he doesn't want to have to deal with that yet. I don't know, I'm not Vladimir Guerrero. If I were, I wouldn't be writing this.