For my daughter’s 18th birthday, I decided to get her Vladimir Guerrero.
She really wanted a car.
(If I was feeling more clever, I’d come up with a joke that ties together Guerrero and a car. Maybe later.)
Actually, my daughter turns 18 on Valentine’s Day, but my family gathered tonight because I’ll be in Sarasota for the big occasion. And naturally, the Orioles decided to make news as the entrees arrived.
Well, it’s the least they could do after forcing us to wait until tomorrow to talk to Justin Duchscherer.
Reports place Guerrero’s contract at $8 million, with a large chunk of the money deferred, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Incentives are included, of course.
The front office was adamant about sticking to its first offer - I didn’t just make that up - so I tend to wonder whether somebody else got involved and pushed this deal to its conclusion. Or maybe it’s always been $8 million with incentives, but $4.5 million was the base. I really don’t know as I sit in the parking lot of a Severna Park restaurant.
What matters most is the Orioles just added a cleanup hitter to an already improved lineup. Guerrero remains a feared presence, someone that opposing managers must respect. And it’s pretty hard to pitch around the guy, considering that he’s one of the best bad-ball hitters in history.
A few more tickets might have been sold tonight, as well. He certainly won’t hurt attendance.
We can assume that Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Derrek Lee and Guerrero will take up the first four spots in the lineup. You could bat Luke Scott fifth, Mark Reynolds sixth, Adam Jones seventh, Matt Wieters eighth and J.J. Hardy ninth.
Manager Buck Showalter will have to figure out what to do with his bench. Does Felix Pie stick as the fourth outfielder (and Jones’ backup in center)? Does Nolan Reimold make the team or use up a minor league option?
It’ll all come into focus in spring training. We could get some early answers once the Orioles are ready to publicly confirm the deal, which requires Guerrero to pass his physical.
Many fans have grown tired of waiting while the market plays out, but in this case, it worked just fine for anyone who wanted Guerrero.
He isn’t a car, but he figures to drive in a lot of runs. (See what I did there?)