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.
Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic reports that the Pirates have decided to convert outfielder JB Shuck into a two-way player. Recent comments relayed from the club’s director of player development, Larry Broadway, indicated that the outfielder would be coached in developing his pitching skills while working at Triple-A Indianapolis.
Per Broadway, the change would be enacted to help the veteran outfielder develop some much-needed versatility in the majors, where he’s only ever been limited to outfield and DH responsibilities. Well, except for the two games in which he pitched an inning of relief: once, against the Nationals in a blowout 11-4 loss in 2016, then in a similarly painful loss to the Diamondbacks this past April. During the latter outing, he finished the game with a 13-pitch ninth inning after allowing just one hit and one walk.
Add to that one minor-league outing in 2012, and the 31-year-old Shuck has pitched just three times over the course of his 12-season career in pro ball. While he has three years of experience on the mound from his college days, he’ll need quite a bit of preparation to handle the kind of workload expected from a two-way outfielder/reliever: 20+ innings pitched over a season and 20+ games played as a designated hitter or position player.
Still, his lack of experience doesn’t seem to faze Broadway, at least not this early in the process. There’s no word yet on how soon Shuck would be expected to debut his new skillset on a major-league level.