After failing to find a big-league job Vladimir Guerrero agreed to a minor-league contract with Toronto yesterday, but the Blue Jays’ plans for the 37-year-old former MVP are unclear.
In fact, general manager Alex Anthopoulos basically told reporters that Guerrero isn’t even in their plans:
This isn’t someone right now that we’re prepared to say is going to be up in Toronto. I have no idea how he’s going to perform. There’s no point in even spending time on that because I don’t even know what we have. I have no idea how Vlad looks. I have no idea what kind of shape he’s in, other than from what I’ve heard.
It’s as if he’s starting spring training. It’s a minor-league contract with no risk and no downside. At a minimum it provides depth. Certainly there’s the upside that he could play very well and be a factor for us.
In other words, Adam Lind can wait a little while longer before looking over his shoulder for Guerrero, who signed a non-guaranteed contract worth a prorated share of $1.3 million if/when he reaches the majors.
At first glance his .290 batting average last season suggests Guerrero remains a productive hitter, but he managed just 13 homers and 17 walks in 145 games for career-lows in on-base percentage (.317), slugging percentage (.416), and OPS (.733). He also can’t play the outfield regularly at this point and hasn’t faced big-league pitching since last September, so Anthopoulos is right to downplay Guerrero’s likely impact.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).