Pitchers and catchers report today, and yet the Orioles might not be done on the free agent front. It’s a very Dan Duquette approach. It also was an Andy MacPhail approach, at least in 2011.
On this day in Orioles history the team announced its signing of free-agent slugger Vladimir Guerrero to an $8 million, one-year deal (with deferred money, of course).
Guerrero actually agreed to a deal with the O’s the week prior, but the signing didn’t become official until he passed his physical. Scheduling the physical was slowed down by the fact that the team was in Sarasota for Spring Training. Guerrero agreed to the deal on a Friday with pitchers and catchers reporting two days later.
“We got our cleanup hitter,” said Adam Jones. “He’s a masher.”
After a strong age-35 season in Texas the season prior, Guerrero posted a .290/.317/.416 slash line in 145 games for the Orioles in 2011 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI. The O’s, meanwhile, finished 69-93. They were done in by a 7-20 record in July that included a season-worst nine-game losing streak.
It appeared toward the end of the Guerrero negotiations that the Orioles might be bidding against themselves. As reported by Jeff Zrbiec, “the Orioles raised their offer from between $3 million and $5 million to $8 million when no other suitor for the free-agent slugger had publicly emerged.”
Guerrero joined Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Derrek Lee, Kevin Gregg, and Justin Duchscherer as the Orioles’ off-season acquisitions. The team was hoping to end its streak of losing seasons at 13 but would add one more to the total before turning things around in 2012.
Late signings. Waiting for a physical. Deferred money. Bidding against themselves. The more things change ….