Over the winter, there was an abundance of buzz surrounding the Orioles when they were talking about signing Vladimir Guerrero. This guy was the bonafide, legitimate, middle of the order hitter that the O’s have been lacking for quite some time. Vlad was someone who was a threat to hit a 400 foot bomb each and every time he stepped up to the plate.
Sure, Guerrero had declined a bit during the second half of 2010, but he still would have been one of the best hitters on the O’s along with Luke Scott. All Vlad had to do was come close to his 2010 production and he would have been a great acquisition for Andy MacPhail and company.
Fast forward to June of 2011, and Vladimir Guerrero has been a huge disappointment in Baltimore. He is on pace for 12 home runs and only 60 RBI’s.
Once again, the Orioles signed a guy who was completely on his last legs.
I’ll admit that I didn’t see this one coming. I didn’t expect Vlad to repeat the season that he had in 2010, but I felt he would be productive in Camden Yards. I expected him to make everyone around him better, and to serve as the cleanup presence that this team has sorely lacked since the Palmeiro years.
Instead, Vladimir Guerrero has become a singles hitter who is too unathletic to play the field or run the bases. He is too high-maintenance, either in reality or in the eyes of Buck Showalter, to be moved down in the order where he clearly belongs. And the guy certainly didn’t come cheap, with the O’s on the hook for his $8 million unless he is traded before the end of August.
Why does this always happen to the O’s?
Aubrey Huff comes to the Orioles, has one good season out of three, and then signs in San Francisco and not only does he become one of their best hitters, but he also goes out in the outfield and plays full time out there! Really, Aubrey Huff?
Yet the Orioles bring a future Hall of Famer to Baltimore just months after he put up a MVP-like first half in 2010 and the guy just can’t get his feet off the ground.
At this point, what do you do with Vlad? Do you move him down a few spots in the lineup and risk the media storm that it will cause? Do you release him and give up on getting anything for him before the end of August? Should Buck keep riding him out in the #4 hole and hope that he goes on a hot streak?
It really is a shame that the Orioles always find themselves in these types of situations. Again, I’m not even blaming them for the signing. I thought it was a great move to sign Vladimir Guerrero. I really did.
Sometimes bad luck just can’t be avoided. One of these years Guerrero was going to decline. It just happened to be his first year in an Orioles uniform.
At this point, I think you have to trot him out there for the next 20-25 games and hope he catches fire, contributes a bit to the current team, and then is dealt for some prospects with solid ceilings.