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 Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.