Previewing The Vladimir Guerrero Market

Vladimir Guerrero earned over $80MM over the course of his last contract. He won't sign for nearly as much when he hits free agency again this winter, but he could appeal to clubs looking for a veteran bat. After all, Vladdy hasn't posted an OPS below .800 since 1996. This year, he's hitting .298/.338/.467, but his strikeout rate has risen and his walk rate has fallen. Guerrero remains the free-swinger he's always been; in fact, he swings at a higher percentage of pitches than any major leaguer with at least 250 plate appearances. 

He's 34 years old, but his legs are already starting to fail him. The one-time 40-steal man hasn't swiped more than five bags since 2006. His defense is fading, too, according to UZR/150. He's only played in the outfield twice this year, and for good reason. 

Now that he's essentially a DH, he'll be competing for jobs with Jim Thome, Hideki Matsui, Gary Sheffield and others. The Angels, Mariners, White Sox, Tigers and Blue Jays could all be among the teams with some interest in the former MVP this offseason. We won't likely know Vladdy's fate before then, since the Angels will wait until after the season before negotiating with any of their free agents-to-be.

For more on the situation, check out Bill Shaikin's article at the L.A. Times.  Shaikin explores whether Vlad would wear an Angels cap in the Hall of Fame, and how that might factor into the team's decision this winter.  He says it's "absolutely clear" Guerrero wants to stay.

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