Rangers decline $9 million option on Vladimir Guerrero

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T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers have declined their $9 million option on Vladimir Guerrero for 2011.

While perhaps surprising to some based on his big name and 115-RBI season, Guerrero simply wasn’t a $9 million player in 2010 and at age 36 was unlikely to be any better in 2011.

He struggled in the playoffs, going 13-for-59 (.220) with zero homers, but even before that Guerrero hit just .278/.322/.426 in 69 regular season games after the All-Star break.

His strong first half shouldn’t be entirely discounted either, but Guerrero’s overall production stood out far less than his RBI total would indicate, as his .841 OPS ranked 42nd among the 151 players who logged at least 500 plate appearances this season. Toss in his complete lack of defensive value and he’s just not worth $9 million at age 36.

After a World Series run declining his option was no doubt a tough decision for general manager Jon Daniels, but the Rangers made the right call. If they can re-sign Guerrero for a lesser salary it could make sense, but if not there will be no shortage of corner outfielders, first basemen, and designated hitters capable of producing an .800 OPS for a fraction of the cost.

Robinson Cano hit his 300th home run last night

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Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.

While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.

Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.

Cooperstown, here he comes.

Reds sign catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year deal

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Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.

The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.

Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.