The Toronto Blue Jays released Vladimir Guerrero on Tuesday at the request of the 37-year-old DH. Guerrero went unsigned prior to the season, then joined the Blue Jays on a minor-league deal. He hit .314 with four RBI in eight games for the Blue Jays’ AAA club and blasted four homers in four games for their Single-A affiliate.
But with the Blue Jays looking less and less likely to call him up to the majors, Guerrero requested his release.
Would the slugger fit with the Tigers? Guerrero hit .290 with 13 HRs for the Orioles last season and mashed 29 long balls for Texas in 2010. Detroit, meanwhile, has struggled to get production from its DH spot — or really any spot in the lineup, aside from its leadoff position (Austin Jackson/Quintin Berry) and its 3-4 duo of Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
The Detroit Sports Site’s writers ponder the possibility of Vladdy as a Tiger …
Chris Burke: If the Tigers don’t at least give Guerrero a ring, it’s a huge mistake. Delmon Young was huge down the stretch last season and occasionally gets into a groove, but he has been altogether disappointing this season. It’s actually impressive that Prince Fielder has been as productive as he has been with the bottom five in the Tigers’ order being such a pushover most nights.
Adding Vladdy would open the Tigers up to a bunch of different options — lineups with both Young and Guerrero, benching Brennan Boesch, benching Young, etc. Even trading Young, whose contract expires at the end of the year, could be a viable option if Guerrero could carry some weight at DH. This is a low-risk, decent-reward prospect.
Max DeMara: Lacking a “true” designated hitter as the Tigers have for the past few months, picking up a stable veteran like Vladimir Gurrero could have immediate benefits in 2012. Dave Dombrowski and Mike Ilitch need to be all-in for this season from a personnel standpoint, and right now, that includes exploring every avenue to help this team improve their inconsistent offense and marginal standing. Dombrowski should try to talk Gurrero and his people into a one-year, incentive-laden deal for the rest of 2012. He could be the primary designated hitter, focus only on bringing much needed runs home and try to end his career on top. At this point, what is there for either side to lose?
The Cleveland Indians signed Johnny Damon to fill a similar role (albeit playing more time in the field than Gurrero would ever see) and have witnessed better than average results thus far. If Gurrero came in and gave Detroit’s offense a shot in the arm with some clutch hitting, this could be looked at as the move which helped rescue the season. At the very least, the Tigers should be gauging his interest as we speak. This team is in no position to pass anyone up who can help at this point in time.
Benjamin Singer: This is hard to answer without understanding why he isn’t on a team already. He’s obviously not the old Vlad who was a threat to go 40/40 — he’s just Old Vlad. But still, the guy is a major-league hitter and the Tigers have some guys (ahem, Matt Young) on the team who are not.
I’m under no delusion that signing Guerrero will solve any issues for Detroit. In that sense, maybe it’s a pointless move. But if you’re asking me would I take a shot at Vlad Guerrero, the answer is yes, I would let him DH and pinch hit and see what happens. At least until
V-Mart gets healthy.
Rob Starrs: Vladimir Guerrero should not be signed by the Detroit tigers — what has he done this year that would make anybody want him? The Blue Jays just released him from their minor-league squad. The Tigers’ big-bopping bats aren’t working now, but why would bringing an old veteran bat in the mix change it? Yes, he is a true DH, which the Tigers do not have (sorry, Delmon). But with a healthy lineup, I like the way Jim Leyland can mix things up at that spot.
It pains me to say it, because Guerrero has always been a favorite of mine to watch, but the Tigers don’t need to pursue another bat — they need defense and speed. Detroit has Prince and Miggy to do the heavy lifting, and that’s all Guerrero would bring. He’s not going to get the sac bunts and singles the Tigers need, and all those solo home runs aren’t working. Detroit needs to get some baserunners on for the big boys. Dombrowski should seek a speedy infielder — I know … not many out there. But the very least someone who can get the job done, offensively and defensively. No Vlad for me right now.
Andrew Tomlinson: With an offense as inconsistent and just down right stagnant as the Tigers’, they have no excuse to not sign Gurrero. He puts the ball in play, rarely strikes out and hits for power. He is a prototypical DH, something this team has not had. All season the Tigers have struggled to even put the ball in play with a runner on third with less than two outs, Vlad is the kind of guy who can get that runner home.
That said, he has to be signed to a one-year deal with low money demands. He would be a nice pickup, but the Tigers still need to keep payroll open for the trade deadline when better players probably will be available. Do not ask him to play defense, though, as that is where he usually exposes himself to injury.