Vladimir Guerrero And The Orioles: $8 Million For What, Exactly?

Man, I just don't get this one at all.

I can imagine two reasons for paying a player $8 million.

1. That $8 million might get you a shot at the World Series, and/or

2. That $8 million is going to put a lot of fannies in the stands.

Otherwise it's a great way to blow $8 million.

Does Vladimir Guerrero fit into either of those categories?

I do not believe that he does.

Everyone loves what the Orioles have been doing, especially with Buck Showalter in the dugout. But is anyone going to figure them for anything better than fourth place?

Guerrero's got a name, obviously. But can you really imagine the good people of Charm City getting excited about the chance to see Vladimir Guerrero bat four times? The truth is that there have been very, very, very few players who baseball fans would specifically pay to see. And while there might have been a year or two when Guerrero was one of those players, sort of, he's not anymore.

But wait, this gets worse. Guerrero's presence actually shoves a younger, cheaper, and decent-enough player to the bench (or the minors) and weakens the defense.

Luke Scott was the DH, and should be; now he's the Orioles' left fielder. Meanwhile, there's nowhere in the lineup at all for Felix Pie or Nolan Reimold, both of whom have their problems but do still have some upside.

And finally, let me address my all-time least favorite argument in favor of moves like this: "Hey, they have to spend the money somewhere, don't they?"

Yes, they do. Or rather, they should. But they don't have to spend it here. Every year, teams don't sign draft picks because they don't want to spend the money. Or don't even draft someone because the asking price will be too high. But that's just the stuff we know about. Do you have any idea how many teen-aged Dominicans and Venezuelans you can sign for $8 million?

I don't know, either. A lot.

If you were making a list of the things that a team like the Orioles should not do, spending $8 million on a player like Vladimir Guerrero is really close to the top.

Hey, I might be wrong. Probably not, though.

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