Tag: Vladimir Guerrero

Vladimir Guerrero: The $2,500 Signing with Mismatched Shoes and Clemente Tools

The kid showed up unannounced, riding on the back of a motorcycle, wearing shoes that didn’t match.

“One was larger than the other,” Fred Ferreira remembered. “He had a sock stuffed into one of them so it would fit.”

It was the spring of 1993, and Ferreira was on the outskirts of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. He works for the Baltimore Orioles now, but he was with the Montreal Expos then, running a tryout camp at a field in Mendoza.

The kid with the mismatched shoes was about to become the best player he ever signed.

“I’ve had 72 guys make it up there [to the major leagues],” Ferreira said proudly.

Some were stars. Some won World Series. Ferreira thought Bernie Williams deserved Hall of Fame consideration, but he never got there.

This week, that kid with the mismatched shoes could be Ferreira’s first in Cooperstown.

Vladimir Guerrero has a chance in his first year on the ballot, although the votes publicly revealed suggest he may fall just short. Ryan Thibodaux, who runs the Hall of Fame Tracker and follows these things more closely than anyone, has Guerrero at 74.4 percent so far, with 75 percent required for election.

Numbers like that mean Guerrero will get to the Hall of Fame, even if it’s not this year. A chance like this means Ferreira will be watching closely for the Wednesday announcement.

“I certainly am waiting,” he said.

He’s not alone. Every player on the Hall of Fame ballot has a scout who first signed him, a coach who first believed in him, an instructor who helped him along the way. Everyone has a story that becomes all the more cherished when the vote goes the right way.

Houston Astros scout Tom Mooney gave Jeff Bagwell a seven (out of eight) on power potential when Bagwell was at the University of Hartford and then recommended the Astros trade for Bagwell when he was still in Double-A.

“Remember it like it was yesterday,” Mooney wrote on his Facebook page after Alex Speier of the Boston Globe wrote about scouting Bagwell.

Texas Rangers scout Doug Gassaway clocked a 16-year-old Ivan Rodriguez throwing 93 mph to second base, as Sandy Johnson remembered in an MLB.com story by Tracy Ringolsby.

And Fred Ferreira signed Vladimir Guerrero for $2,500 out of a tryout camp in the Dominican Republic.

“Jon Heyman wrote in Sports Illustrated it was the second-best deal ever, behind the Babe Ruth deal,” Ferreira said.

It’s an even better story.

Guerrero wasn’t exactly unknown that spring. His older brothers had both played baseball too, and Wilton Guerrero signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers a year and a half earlier. Vladimir spent a couple of months in the Dodgers academy, but they never signed him.

The New York Yankees worked out Guerrero too, but as a pitcher. They told him to come back a week later, but in the meantime, Guerrero showed up at Ferreira’s tryout.

“We had about 30 kids already there,” Ferreira said. “The first thing we had him do was run a 60-yard dash, and he ran like 6.5. He ran that well with shoes that didn’t match. Then we had him throw from the outfield. They were good throws, very good, exceptional.

“Running and throwing, those two tools can’t be taught.”

Ferreira was intrigued, but he had to know if Guerrero could hit. They were setting up a game, and he told his assistant to have Guerrero lead off every inning.

“The first at-bat, he hit a ground ball to short and tried to beat it out,” Ferreira said. “He was really busting it down the line and then he pulled up. He’d pulled a hamstring. I saw him go sit in the dugout with his head between his legs.”

So that was it for the day. Some running in mismatched shoes. A few throws. And one ground ball to short.

Ferreira had a flight out that afternoon, but he decided on the spot Guerrero was worth a chance. The flight home could wait.

Guerrero told the Expos he had been working out at the Dodgers academy, which would make him ineligible to sign with another team. Then he said he’d been there 60 days.

“I said that makes him a free agent,” Ferreira said.

The Dodgers hadn’t signed him because they thought he looked more like his older brother Albino, who they released because he was too slow. They preferred Wilton, who eventually played eight years in the big leagues but was never a star.

“In this business, you consider yourself a success if 5 percent of the guys you sign make it to the majors,” Dodgers scout Ralph Avila told Jeff Blair in a story for the Montreal Gazette three years later. “[Vladimir] will be part of the Expos’ 5 percent, not ours. And that’s how it works sometimes.”

Guerrero told the Expos he was 17, so they would need his parents’ permission to sign him. He was actually 18, but they wouldn’t know until 2009 that he had been lying about his age.

Ferreira canceled his flight and made plans for the 40-mile drive west to Peravia province, where Guerrero was born. But first, Guerrero told them he wanted to stop at the Dodgers academy to pick up his things.

“It turned out he had one shirt there,” Ferreira said.

The signing was straightforward, as Guerrero’s mother quickly agreed to the $2,500 bonus. It was a different era. By 2015, when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, he got a $3.9 million deal.

“I signed a crude Dominican player with great tools to play ball and a good disposition,” Ferreira reported back to his superiors in Montreal.

“They sent him to the Dominican Summer League, and I told the people in the office this kid will be Player of the Month for the next six months,” Ferreira said.

He had another message for them too.

“He was swinging at everything, but I told our instructors to let him do what he does,” Ferreira said. “Leave him alone. When he got to the States, Felipe Alou told him the same thing.”

Alou would later refer to Guerrero as a “baseball machine,” according to the Blair story in the Gazette.

Alou was the Expos’ manager by then, and Guerrero would soon join him. He shot through the Montreal farm system, skipping Triple-A altogether.

“After seeing Vlad in Double-A, our scouts said the kid had tools like [Roberto] Clemente,” said Dan Duquette, the Expos general manager at the time.

He never did stop swinging at everything. And hitting everything.

“Vladimir Guerrero is the best retired Truly Bad Ball hitter of our time,” Eno Sarris declared in a post on FanGraphs this month.

It carried him through 16 big league seasons, 449 home runs, a .318 career batting average and four finishes in the top four in Most Valuable Player voting. In 2004, his first season after signing a five-year, $70 million deal with the Anaheim Angels, Guerrero won the MVP award in the American League.

He had long since justified the $2,500 Fred Ferreira spent to sign him and the canceled flight home.

And when he goes into the Hall of Fame, you can bet his shoes will match.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Vladimir Guerrero Would Enter Baseball Hall of Fame as Los Angeles Angel

If Vladimir Guerrero is elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he will do so wearing a Los Angeles Angels hat.

Per Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Guerrero said “since there is no team in Montreal,” he would “probably” opt for an Angels hat on his plaque if he joins the list of legendary players in Cooperstown, New York.

Guerrero will be among the first-time eligible players for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017. He had a stellar run with the Angels from 2004-09, which included the American League MVP Award in 2004, when he hit .337/.391/.598 with 39 home runs and 126 RBI. 

Yet there’s no arguing Guerrero’s best seasons came when he was with the Montreal Expos from 1996-2003. He was one of the most dynamic players in the sport, posting back-to-back 30-30 seasons in 2001-02, and he finished one home run shy of joining the exclusive 40-40 club in 2002. 

In addition to Guerrero’s ability with the bat, he had one of the best throwing arms of any right fielder in recent memory. 

The already-crowded Baseball Hall of Fame ballot (with holdovers such as Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Barry Bonds) will add Guerrero, Ivan Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez and Jorge Posada, among others, next year. 

Guerrero is perhaps the most intriguing candidate on that list. He boasts a career slash line of .318/.379/.553 with 449 home runs, 181 stolen bases, nine All-Star selections, the MVP Award and five other top-10 finishes in MVP voting. 

Regardless which hat Guerrero wears if he gets elected, he was a superstar for more than a decade and belongs in the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. 

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Vladimir Guerrero Officially Retires from MLB, Falls 51 Home Runs Shy of 500

Vladimir Guerrero, one of the most dangerous hitters of the late-1990s and 2000s, has retired, reports Hector Gomez of Listen Diario (Spanish link).

Guerrero had this to say on the difficult decision (via Gomez): 

“I decided to announce my retirement due to my desire to spend more time with my family, as well as because of the two operations that I’ve had on my right knee.”

Guerrero, 38, retires with 449 career home runs. He falls 51 home runs shy of 500, a milestone that he reportedly wanted to make a run at before retiring (via Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com).

His 449 homers place him 36th on the all-time list, and Gomez reports that he would have loved to finish higher up the ranks: “Lamentably, I couldn’t do it. That was one of my principal goals.”

Injuries derailed the MLB career of Guerrero. Knee injuries hurt Guerrero’s ability to be an effective corner outfielder, hampering his value for major league clubs.

Always known for his rocket arm from right field, his inability to run down balls in the outfield had made him a liability at the tail end of his career.

He signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Independent League in April to re-establish some big league value, but his pursuit of the bigs ultimately didn’t pan out. This came after playing for the Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles in the MLB.

Undoubtedly, there will soon be speculation on Guerrero’s Hall of Fame probability.

One of the most feared hitters of the generation, he has a legitimate shot at making the Hall. At the very least, he deserves serious consideration.

He ends his 16-year career with an incredible triple-slash line of .318/.379/.553 with 449 home runs, 1,496 RBI, 181 stolen bases (40 of which came in 2002), 2,590 hits, 477 doubles, 46 triples, 1,328 runs scored and an OPS of .931.

Oh yeah—and he was an All-Star 9 times, the 2004 American League MVP, top-25 MVP finisher 12 times and eight-time Silver Slugger Award winner.

His best season came in 2000 with the Expos. He hit an absurd .345/.410/.664/1.074 with 44 home runs, 123 RBI, 197 hits and a league-leading 23 intentional walks.

Guerrero deserves legitimate Cooperstown consideration, given his monster numbers and success late in his career. His final season (2011 with the Orioles) was also pretty darn good (.290/.317/.416 in 562 at-bats).

The Dominican slugger will be remembered for his ability to hit anything near the plate (or possibly his inability to lay off pitches out of the zone). Regardless, he could hit nearly anything thrown in his direction—making him one of the hardest batters in the league to get out.

It will be five seasons before we know the Hall of Fame fate of Guerrero, but he’s just as deserving as the next guy—even if he fell short of both 500 homers and 3,000 hits.

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MLB Superstars That Dodgers Phenom Yasiel Puig’s Game Most Resembles

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has only been in the majors for one day, so it makes sense that the first response to my question on Twitter/Facebook, “Who does Puig most remind you of?”, was Moonlight Graham, who played in one major league game for the New York Giants in 1905 and was later portrayed in the movie Field of Dreams.

It’s clear, though, that an athlete with Puig‘s size, speed and strength combination reminds baseball fans of only a few players who compare in some way or another. Many baseball experts hate comps for several reasons, including unnecessary expectations on young players. But baseball fans love comps, especially because it can take us back to another era.

Even better if it takes us back to our childhood.

Starting with the amazing game-ending throw in his big league debut that everyone seems to be talking about, it’s only fair to bring up some of the most strong-armed right fielders of all time. And since he’s wearing the same uniform, the Raul Mondesi comp would be a fair start.

1. Raul Mondesi

Mondesi, who had an .815 OPS and two 30-30 seasons (30-plus homers and 30-plus stolen bases) in 1,525 career games, was probably best known for having a cannon of an arm in right field. In fact, he has a tattoo of a cannon on his right arm, and that arm even has a nickname, “El Canon,” which means “the cannon.”

Roberto Clemente and Ichiro Suzuki also come to mind when thinking of players who could make that kind of strong and accurate throw from the warning track. 

2. Bo Jackson

The name we’ve heard most associated with the 22-year-old Puig is Bo Jackson (6’1″, 227 lbs), maybe one of the greatest athletes of all time.

It’s an unfair comp for any baseball player, but this comp is mostly based on his football player-like physique. While Jackson was also a powerful NFL running back with elite speed, Puig looks more like a linebacker. But the kind of linebacker who can go sideline-to-sideline in a flash and put a serious hurting on a ball-carrier. Sort of like Ray Lewis (6’1″, 245 lbs) or Patrick Willis (6’1″, 240 lbs). 

3. Vladimir Guerrero

Puig is taller, though, at 6’3″, the same height as another comp suggested by multiple readers. Not only was Vladimir Guerrero a freak of nature with his speed and power combination—he had eight seasons with 30-plus homers and 77 stolen bases from 2001-2002—but he also had the plus arm in right field and was considered an undisciplined free-swinger when he broke into the majors in his early 20s.

He was also one of the rare hitters who proved that it didn’t matter. He could do damage on pitches outside of the strike zone as some think Puig can also do.

During his prime, Guerrero still walked a lot (84 walks in 2002), but that was mostly because pitchers weren’t giving him anything close to the plate once he built up a reputation for being able to hit almost any pitch hard. He also never struck out more than 88 times in any of his 16 big league seasons, which included nine All-Star selections and an AL MVP award in 2004.

4. Yoenis Cespedes

The active player that Puig has been compared to the most is fellow Cuban Yoenis Cespedes, who broke into the majors at 26 years of age in 2012 with 23 homers and 16 stolen bases while hitting in the middle of an A’s lineup that scored the most runs in the majors over the second half of the season.

Cespedes also looks like a football player in a baseball uniform, although he’s five inches shorter than Puig at 5’10”. Like Cespedes, he received the unfair Bo Jackson comps coming into his rookie season, but he lived up to a lot of hype by coming in second in AL Rookie of the Year voting and 10th in AL MVP voting.

Other notable mentions on Twitter were Carlos Beltran (.857 OPS, 306 stolen bases in 16 seasons), Joe Carter (396 HR, 231 stolen bases in 16 seasons) and Sammy Sosa (.878 OPS, 234 stolen bases in 18 seasons). If Puig, who went 2-for-4 in his MLB debut, can come anywhere close to what those guys accomplished in their careers, he’ll be remembered for more than just his potential.

What hitting coach Mark McGwire first observed about Puig back in spring training was his intelligence and ability to make adjustments, according to this article by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

If he’s going to become a star, it’s that ability to make adjustments that will allow him to reach the potential we’ve been hearing so much about since he signed his seven-year, $42 million big league contract last June.  

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Guide to the Toronto Blue Jays Stealing the AL East Title

One thing that the Toronto Blue Jays have shown this season is that they are consistently inconsistent.  On occasion they have looked like a team equipped to raise their play to a new level—only to follow it up with disappointing stretches against teams they should beat (teams worse than .500) or fall short against teams they are competing with for a playoff spot. 

They also haven’t been able to get on a roll.  As of May 23, they have gone on five winning streaks of two or more games followed by losing streaks of two or more games.

They began their season alternating wins and losses two at a time—splitting their first 12 games. They then swept the Kansas City Royals (April 20-24) but then lost their next four—bringing them back to .500 (10-10) after 20 games. 

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5 Benefits Vladimir Guerrero Could Provide the Blue Jays in a Pennant Race

The signing of Vladimir Guerrero comes as a low-risk/high-reward move for the Toronto Blue Jays.  He was signed to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million, which will be prorated based on his time with the club this season. 

At 37 years of age, it remains to be seen how much Vladdy has to offer.

He is probably Hall of Fame bound as he is a career .318 hitter with 449 home runs and 1,496 RBI. 

Adam Lind will likely be most affected if Guerrero can play his way onto the Blue Jays’ roster.  As of May 15, he is batting just .184 with three homers and 11 RBI in 31 games.

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New York Yankees: With Jesus Montero Gone, Who Will DH in 2012?

The Yankees finally addressed their starting rotation yesterday, when they shipped top prospect Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi to the Mariners for All-Star right-hander Michael Pineda and 19-year-old right-hander Jose Campos.

The team also signed Dodgers free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $10 million deal as the rotation now looks significantly stronger and has plenty of depth with Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia likely headed to the bullpen.

However, in dealing Montero, the Yankees now have a hole at DH that will need to be addressed in the weeks to come leading up to spring training. Luckily, there is never a shortage of DH options for a team both internally and on the free-agent market.

Here is a look at who could step into that role for the Yankees in 2012.

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MLB Trade Speculation: 10 Former All-Stars Who Could Be Dealt by the Deadline

Every baseball season, at least a few “name” players switch teams via trade.

These players are known to even the most casual of fans because they have appeared in All-Star Games and competed for major awards in the past.

At the time of the trade, their level of skill can fall into any number of categories.  

Many are former stars and heroes who now find themselves in the fading light of their careers; still in search of that elusive World Series ring. Lance Berkman and Kerry Wood were dealt separately to the Yankees last year in an attempt to reach that goal.

Some are players still in the primes of their careers whom rebuilding or poor teams can no longer afford to hold onto. Dan Haren, Roy Halladay, Matt Holliday and Victor Martinez have been traded recently for similar reasons. 

Fewer are rising stars who likely have their best years in front of them, but are players that generate polarizing opinions and are valued differently by different clubs.

Still, what all of these players have in common is that, through some combination of talent and experience, they are expected to make their new teams better.

After the jump is a list of 10 former All-Stars, each more talented than the last. Look for any number of these players to make a midseason switch and help a contending club in their chase for a pennant. 


Cot’s Baseball Contracts: http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/


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Fantasy Baseball 2011: Top 10 Sleepers and Stick-It-to-Thems

This time of year, America is buzzing over both March Madness and the fantasy baseball information superhighway. 

In this show, I’ll provide you with the broadband information you’ll need to win a championship and get your coins in.

Join me as I get it in and let you know the under the radar players to roster.

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2011 Baltimore Orioles Predictions: Vladimir Guerrero

The Baltimore Orioles’ offseason appeared to be pretty much wrapped up after the signing of veteran pitcher Justin Duchscherer when it was announced that the Orioles would once again go after Vladimir Guerrero.

The Orioles made an attempt to lure Guerrero to Baltimore back in 2004 but Guerrero scoffed at the idea.

With the news that the Orioles were in on the free agent designated hitter, word came out that Baltimore had offered Guerrero a one-year contract for about $5 million.

It was not surprising when Guerrero’s agency reported a supposed “eight” million dollar offer from an unknown team.

If things could not get any more depressing for Oriole fans, it appeared that the Orioles were not only going to lose out on the big bat for the middle of their order, but they would have to watch a free agent laugh at the idea of playing for the Orioles and get humiliated in the process as well.

Yet Andy MacPhail, the Orioles general manager, shocked the baseball world after agreeing upon a one-year, $8 million contract.

Baltimore put together the final touches to its team, and for the first time in a long time, there was a buzz in Baltimore about baseball.


4.Vladimir Guerrero, DH

Baltimore’s new designated hitter and clean-up hitter was finally officially introduced to the media in Sarasota, Florida after Guerrero passed his physical.

The 36-year-old slugger will sport No. 27 for the Orioles and has become the center-piece to the Orioles’ 2011 lineup.

In 2010, Guerrero signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers and helped lead to the Rangers to a playoff berth.

Although the Rangers made the playoffs, 2010 was a up-and-down year for the Vladimir Guerrero.

In Vladimir Guerrero’s first few months with the Rangers, Guerrero hit .339/.384/ .574 with 18 home runs through June. The rest of the year was almost forgettable for Guerrero, as he hit .263/.309/.418.

The sharp drop off the second half of the season has fueled those in opposition to signing Guerrero, but when you look at Guerrero’s statistics as a whole, you cannot find one person who produced better at the plate last year than Guerrero.

Vladimir Guerrero finished the 2010 regular season hitting .300/.345/.496 with 29 home runs and 115 RBI.

In regards to Vladimir Guerrero’s new home, Camden Yards, Guerrero has hit .333/.400/.611 with nine home runs and 30 RBI in 32 games.

As for Guerrero’s production in opposing AL East ball parks, Guerrero has a .325 average with 21 home runs and 71 RBI in 118 games.

At 36 years-old, Guerrero is not getting younger as his OPS has not been higher than .900 since 2007, but Guerrero still has shown that he can still produce at a competitive level.

And with his $8 million price tag, he could very well turn out to be a huge bargain for the Orioles in 2011.

2011 Prediction: .315, 32 HR, 112 RBI



On Deck: Luke Scott

In the Hole: Mark Reynolds

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