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.