Vladimir Guerrero batted .319/.381/.546 with 173 homers, 616 RBIs, an MVP award, and five trips to the postseason during his six-year, $85 million contract with the Angels, proving to be one of the best big-money free agent signings of all time.
But now he’s a 35-year-old free agent coming off a season in which he missed 56 games with multiple injuries and failed to post an OPS above .800 for the first time in his career, leading to questions about whether he’ll re-sign with the Angels and what the future holds in general for the eight-time All-Star.
His age, injuries, and career-worst production show a player in obvious decline, but Guerrero batted .300/.347/.498 over his final 54 games after coming off the disabled list in early August and then went 14-for-37 (.378) with a homer and three doubles in nine playoff games.
There’s still plenty of life left in his bat, but after a season in which he was used almost exclusively at designated hitter it’s unclear whether he can play the outfield regularly again. Following last night’s season-ending ALCS loss Guerrero wasted no time explaining that he wants to re-sign with the Angels:
Of course. I’m not thinking so much about the uncertainty, but I’m thinking about my mom and how comfortable she feels in Anaheim. That’s always one thing that I’m going to think about regarding free agency. It would be very gratifying to continue to play with the guys I’ve known here and have gotten used to.
Guerrero is a Type A free agent, but in order to receive draft-pick compensation for his departure the Angels would first have to offer him arbitration and that’s hardly a sure thing. Instead, coming to terms on a two-year deal worth something like $15 million seems like a reasonable fit for both sides. Of course, in addition to Guerrero the Angels also have John Lackey, Bobby Abreu, and Chone Figgins becoming free agents, so general manager Tony Reagins has a ton of crucial decisions to make this offseason.
There is a disturbing report out of the Dominican Republic, yet to be confirmed by police, but in wide circulation thanks to a series of tweets from Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. The report: that looters encountered a still alive Yordano Ventura after his automobile accident, robbing of him his World Series ring and other possessions, before leaving him to die.
The report comes from Dominican Republic journalist Euri Cabral, who made the claim on a radio station. His comments were picked up by Martinez, who tweeted about it in Spanish. The tweets, collected and translated by the Royals Review blog:
“How outrageous to know that a life like Yordano’s could have been saved had it not been that they looted him the way he was looted . . . Now it is more painful to know that Yordano remained alive after the accident and instead of someone to help him, they robbed him and let him die . . . I hope an investigation will be carried out, because if there is any specific evidence of this, I would feel a great deal of shame for my country.”
As for the state of details which are currently confirmed, Rustin Dodd and Maria Torres of the Kansas City Star report that Ventura crashed his Jeep after leaving an annual festival, losing control and hitting a guardrail in a mountainous area in foggy conditions. Ventura was not wearing a seatbelt at the time and was ejected from the vehicle.
Ventura’s family is said to be pushing for further investigation and clarification as to Cabral’s claims. We will obviously followup with anything Dominican authorities say on the matter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Cubs have signed pitcher Brett Anderson to a contract, pending a physical. Anderson, apparently, impressed the Cubs during a bullpen session held in Arizona recently. According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the deal is for $3.5 million, but incentives can bring the total value up to $10 million.
Anderson, 28, has only made a total of 53 starts and 12 relief appearances over the past five seasons due to a litany of injuries. This past season, he made just three starts and one relief appearance, yielding 15 runs on 25 hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. The lefty dealt with back, wrist, and blister issues throughout the year.
When he’s healthy, Anderson is a solid arm to have at the back of a starting rotation or in the bullpen. The defending world champion Cubs aren’t risking much in bringing him on board.