Tag: Vladimir Guerrero

Watch Out: Baltimore’s Nick Markakis Is Due For Bounce Back Season

Baltimore Orioles’ right fielder Nick Markakis has become the face of the franchise in Charm City. He was the first of the team’s “young guns” to make it to the big leagues back in 2006, and after a fantastic rookie season and even better sophomore campaign, he put up solid number in ’08 and ’09, only to regress considerably in 2010.

The regression, however, was more than likely not his fault.

Last year, the right fielder put up a batting average of .297, which is very solid anyway you look at it, and consistent with what he has done throughout the rest of his career. His OBP was .370, a great number. But he only hit 12 bombs and drove in a measly 60 runs, while generally being the No. 3 bat in the lineup.

I’m telling you, it wasn’t his fault.

Consider, if you will, who was batting in front of him much of the season—Julio Lugo, Corey Patterson and occasionally, Cesar Izturis. Second baseman Brian Roberts appeared in only 59 games last season, and being the Orioles’ leadoff man for the past six or eight years, it’s fairly obvious he’s something special atop the lineup.

Without Roberts getting on base in front of Markakis, the right fielder had no one to drive in almost every at-bat. And when someone in front of Markakis did manage to get on, they usually didn’t get extra bases, making it hard for Markakis to drive them in with the pitches he was being thrown.

Which takes us to the next part of the equation: How he was being pitched to.

Imagine, you’re a major league pitcher going up against the 2010 Baltimore Orioles. The middle of their lineup consisted of Markakis, Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott and Adam Jones. Who would you like to avoid out of the four of them? If you said Markakis, then your line of thinking is exactly what almost every other pitcher had last season.

Markakis was easily the most talented hitter in the Orioles’ lineup last year and is probably still in the top three-headed going into the 2011 season with the O’s revamped lineup. But last year, he had virtually no protection and pitchers gave him a healthy serving of fastballs down and away the whole season. How can one pull a fastball down and away over the right field wall? The opposing pitchers could afford to do this because if they hit the strike zone, great, but if they walked him, there were easier guys to get out hitting behind him.

Although he did hit 45 doubles last year (his fourth season in a row with 40+ doubles), he was limited to a lot of singles due to those outside pitches. Even though his batting average with runners in scoring position was somewhere in the .330 range, it was hard for him to drive in a guy from second when all he could do with what he was being pitched was to slap it to left field for a single.

This season, expect all that to change.

A healthy Roberts will do wonders for this team’s run scoring potential, and though that is no guarantee, so far this offseason the O’s offensive catalyst has proclaimed he is as healthy as ever. If the most important hitter in the O’s lineup can stay on the field, he will give the rest of the guys plenty of opportunities to drive in some runs.

As far as the rest of the guys, Markakis has some new lineup protections and it’s pretty stacked. Markakis will be pushed up to the second hole in the batting order, where he has historically hit better at anyway, due to the talent the Orioles have brought in to fill out the order. First baseman Derrek Lee will most likely be hitting third, and after having an injured, down year last season (a down year in which he still drove in 80 men), his thumb is all healed and he’s ready to show he’s still a big hitter on his one-year deal.

After Lee, DH Vladimir Guerrero will probably be hitting fourth, and we all know what Vlad is capable of. The next three bats will most likely be left fielder Luke Scott, third baseman Mark Reynolds and center fielder Adam Jones. Scott and Reynold could be flipped depending on how the opposing pitching matchup looks. How’s that for lineup protection?

With less pressure and better pitches to hit, I expect Markakis’ numbers to go back up to at least what he did in 2009, when he had a line of .293/18/101. For a No. 2 hitter, that is phenomenal, but he is capable of so much more.

All O’s fans should hope for Markakis to return to form, but at the same time, they shouldn’t be to worried about him. He’s a great talent with an awesome bunch of guys hitting behind him, so he should see his share of fastballs inside that he can yank onto Eutaw Street out over the big scoreboard in right. But even if he can’t drive in runs like he used to, he’ll still be a great contributor to the team, hitting around .300 with 40+ doubles and working plenty of walks, all while playing Gold Glove caliber defense.

Anyway you cut it, he’s a valuable player to the team. Expect him to return to the value he had shown prior to this past baseball season.

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2011 Baltimore Orioles: Road To the AL Wild Card And Beyond

Even though the Baltimore Orioles have been at the bottom of the AL East and the American League for the past ten years, 2011 will be the year that they shock the baseball world and make the playoffs as the AL wild-card team.

Due to their great off-season acquisitions, the Orioles have become an offensive powerhouse of the American League while at the same time being defensively sound. Under the guidance of Buck Showalter, the Orioles are primed for a playoff berth.

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Vladimir Guerrero: Baltimore Orioles Ink Vlad To Senseless Contract

I really can’t believe the Baltimore Orioles fell for it. I really can’t.

Here they were, rolling along this offseason. Rolling along and making solid moves like picking up Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, etc… And now they pull this.


On Friday, the Orioles inked DH Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year, $8 million contract. According to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, a significant portion of that salary is deferred.

I don’t care even if $6 of the $8 million is deferred. To give Guerrero $8 million is so ridiculous on so many levels.

The first level is that the Orioles really didn’t need Guerrero. The Orioles would have been just fine with Luke Scott at DH and a platoon of Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie in left field.

Last year, Guerrero produced a 2.6 WAR. Let’s say he produces that again in 2011—highly unlikely—but let’s pretend for a second. I will then say that I believe that the platoon of Pie and Reimold could have produced a combined 1.5 WAR in 2011.

So if my math serves me correctly, and I believe it does, the Orioles just paid $8 million for around one or 1.1 wins in 2011. That’s not good anyway you want to cut the mustard.

Also, the Orioles now have to expose Scott in LF. That’s going to leave a mark in the morning.

The second level is which Vlad are the Orioles getting? Are they getting the Vlad that was an MVP candidate in the first half of the 2010 season when he hit .319/.364/.554 with 20 HRs or are they getting the Vlad that hit .278/.322/.426 with nine HRs and ran like Mark Eaton in the second half?

My guess is they get the latter.

That’s why I thought when they offered him a contract in the $2-$3 million range, they absolutely made the right move. Vlad potentially could have been a low-risk, medium-reward signing. Now he is a a high-risk, medium-reward signing.

What happened between the point of when the Orioles offered him $3 million to the point they are at now, I’ll have no idea. It’s baffling at best.


You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg.

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Vladimir Guerrero to Orioles: What the Slugger Does for Baltimore’s Lineup

The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract with notorious slugger and possible future Hall-of-Famer Vladimir Guerrero.

And we all thought Andy MacPhail wouldn’t raise the offer.

Now, I’m not going to go all “Vlad is the 2011 Orioles‘ savior” on you. But there is no doubt that his addition will help the Orioles win a few more games this coming season, as long as he stays healthy and hits, which he always seems to do as long as he’s standing in the batter’s box.

With this signing, the Orioles’ projected 2011 lineup automatically becomes one of the best in the league. Along with Vlad, the O’s have added first baseman Derrek Lee, shortstop J.J. Hardy, and homer-but-strikeout-prone third baseman Mark Reynolds.

Putting Vlad in the middle of the likes of right fielder Nick Markakis, Lee, Reynolds and left fielder Luke Scott fleshes out the lineup beyond belief, taking pressure off of the young bats like Markakis, Hardy, center fielder Adam Jones and catcher Matt Wieters. On top of all that, Lee will be getting some help in the “veteran presence in the lineup” department.

Slotting Vladdy into the DH spot pushes Scott onto the field, and while some may see that as a problem, Scott isn’t a terrible defensive option out there in left. He’s a lot better than most people assume, maybe even slightly above league average. I’ll tell you one thing—he’s a way better option than players like Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon or even former Oriole Jay Gibbons.

Those who call for the trade of Scott now that the Orioles have Vlad are missing the point of the singing: Vlad adds a legitimate cleanup hitter to an already pretty good offense on paper, and trading Scott—a very nice complementary piece in a lineup such as the one the Orioles would be putting on the field on Opening Day—would almost completely negate the signing of Guerrero.

While Vlad very obviously swings a better bat than Scott, trading a guy who will put up a line of .260-.280/20-30 HR/60-80 RBI year in and year out for a one-year rental, who is a lot younger than the one-year rental, wouldn’t make any sense, and it would leave the lineup with only two possible everyday left-handed bats in Markakis and Felix Pie. As it is, the lineup will probably only have two left-handers with Scott here, though Brian Roberts and Wieters are both switch-hitters.

And just as Scott complements Vlad, Vlad compliments Reynolds. Being a serious 40-homer threat, Reynolds will provide exciting power the Orioles and their fans haven’t seen in years. He will leave fans on the edge of their seats waiting to see if he ties the game up late with a three-run bomb into the left-field bleachers…or simply strikes out.

Having struck out over 200 times in each of the past three seasons, something that no other player in baseball history has achieved (for lack of a better word) even once in a season, it’s almost literally “homer or K” with this guy.

But with all the free-swinging Vlad does that he’s known for, he’s never reached 100 strikeouts in a single season, topping out at 95 in 1998 and walking back to the dugout from the batter’s box only 60 times last year in 643 plate appearances. How’s that for having a batter to offset Reynold’s insane strikeout numbers while still providing great production?

Vlad won’t only help Reynolds, though. No, he’ll help the order one through nine, taking pressure off every other batter in the lineup and giving them better pitches to hit. Pitchers don’t want to pitch to guys like Vlad, so they’ll pitch to the batters in front of him—be it Markakis or Lee or Reynolds—hoping to get them out so that either they don’t have to face Vlad that inning or won’t have runners on when they do. He adds fear to a lineup full of good hitters who can use that extra little boost to receive better pitches to drive.

And while he’ll be helping the rest of the batting order, especially the young guns to perform up to those oh-so-high expectations, he’ll also be helping the pitchers’ mental games.

The pitchers, who are mainly young guys who have high ceilings, will feel so much better knowing they have a great offensive lineup to back them up with they make any mistakes. They’ll feel like they can win without having to be perfect, which I’m sure they didn’t feel much of last season, when the Orioles had one of the most anorexic lineups in the majors.

That’s not to take away from any of the guys who have been added already, but Vlad only contributes more to that secure mental feeling for the pitching staff.

I’ve acknowledged the fact that he probably won’t be as good as he was in 2010, but even if he can be good, which we all know is probable being that he always hits, he’ll be a great offensive addition to the lineup.

Mentality goes a long way, and if I’m anyone who will be on the Orioles’ Opening Day roster, I’m feeling like this team can make a serious run at the AL Wild Card this season.

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Vladimir Guerrero Signs with Baltimore Orioles: 2011 Fantasy Impact

According to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, Vladimir Guerrero has signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles. Ken Rosenthal and Buster Olney have since confirmed the news.

While most fantasy managers may jump off the Vlad bandwagon knowing 81 games in Arlington are no longer possible, Camden Yards might actually be a better place for the 36-year-old to hit.

In 32 career games at Camden Yards, Guerrero has posted the following line:

  • 126 AB, 23 R, 9 HR, 30 RBI, .333/.400/.611

In fact, Vlad has a better AB/HR rate at Camden (14.0) than he does in Arlington (16.8).

Further, Camden Yards (fifth) ranked ahead of Rangers Ballpark (seventh) in home run-friendliness last season, according to ESPN’s MLB Park Factors.

Guerrero will DH and bat cleanup in a surprisingly potent Orioles lineup that now includes: Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Derek Lee, Mark Reynolds and Adam Jones, not to mention Luke Scott and Matt Wieters.

It seems as though the only thing standing between Vlad and his seventh season of at least 27 HR, 90 RBI and a .300 batting average in the last eight years is his health. Despite entering his age-36 season, Vlad has been surprisingly durable in recent years, collecting at least 520 at-bats in six of the last seven seasons.

Vlad still whiffs at more pitches outside of the zone than anyone, and has some of the lowest walk and strikeout rates in baseball, but there’s every reason to believe he’s capable of at least 25 HR, 100 RBI and a .300 batting average in 2011.

2010 stats 643 83 29 115 4 .300
3-year average 550 76 24 85 4 .300
2011 FBI Forecast 600 80 25 100 3 .304



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Oh the Anticipation: Awaiting Vladimir Guerrero’s Fate in the Majors.

His aggressiveness at the plate and free-swinging abilities have earned him the title “Bad Vlad.”  Plain and simple, Vladimir Guerrero is an amazing baseball player.  When Guerrero played in Anaheim, he had an overwhelming fan base, and it is easy to see why. 

In his first season with the Los Angeles Angels, Guerrero led the club in many offensive categories, including 124 runs, 13 outfield assists, 366 total bases and a season-ending batting average of .337. He continued his offensive dominance in September, earning American League Player of the Month after batting .371 with 24 runs scored, six doubles, one triple, 10 HR and 23 RBI.  In the final seven remaining games of the 2004 season, Guerrero’s 10 runs, six HR and 11 RBI ultimately made the Angels’ ball club American League West Division Champions.  Following their 2002 World Series win, the Angels went on to earn four additional AL West Division Titles: 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009. 

In the 2009/2010 offseason, Arte Moreno and Tony Reagins decided not to bring Guerrero back for an additional year.  Instead, on January 11, 2010, Vlad signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal with the Texas Rangers and wound up being largely responsible for the organization’s successful win of the AL West Division Title, and the first pennant in Rangers history.

Statistics and figures aside, Guerrero was, beyond a doubt, a fan favorite in Anaheim.  After winning the 2002 World Series, the Angels automatically gained popularity and respect from their fans, but Guerrero brought extra excitement.  As a power hitter, with virtually no strike zone, he aroused Angel fans, and baseball fans in general. 

Due to Guerrero’s ongoing struggle with arthritic knees, this might very well be his last year in the majors.  What a shame it would be for such a respected player to end his career as a “free agent.”  Although the Baltimore Orioles have made him an offer, Guerrero’s fate as a major league baseball player is still up in the air.  At this point, I’m not giving up hope!! Come on Arte Moreno, sign him! Make this die-hard Angel fan’s year and bring back Anaheim’s no strike zone king!!

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MLB Rumors: Will Vladimir Guerrero Be a Baltimore Oriole?

Just a few months removed from being a major contributor to the American League champion Texas Rangers, Vlad Guerrero is a man without a team. The free-agent DH turns 36 next week, and his push for a multi-year contract has gotten him nowhere thus far. Right now, his biggest suitors appear to be the Baltimore Orioles, who have offered him a one-year deal in the $4 million range.

At this stage, the O’s offer appears to be the best Guerrero will get. He’ll play regularly and make decent money for a hitter perceived to be on the down slope of a great career.

With Vlad’s defense having deteriorated to the point that he’s more or less restricted to DH work, the pool of teams who might pop out of the woodwork with a longer contract offer is pretty small.

Whether Baltimore needs Vlad is another question entirely. While the slugger has something left to contribute in the right situation, the Orioles already have a competent DH in Luke Scott.

To make room for Guerrero, Scott would have to move to left field, a less than ideal plan. As Scott’s OPS was actually slightly better than Guerrero’s a year ago (.902 vs. .841), the change wouldn’t necessarily be a big upgrade.

On the other hand, the Orioles’ two biggest acquisitions on offense—Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds—both have big question marks hanging over them.

The bottom fell out of Lee’s production with the Cubs over the last couple of years, and a change of scenery may not be enough to convert his GIDP swing back into a home run swing. Reynolds’ dismal .198 batting average and high strikeout rate give him an awfully low percentage of productive at-bats. 

The Orioles may also sense a window of opportunity to make a statement this season. The Rays have the potential to flop if new additions Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez don’t click with the rest of the lineup.

The Blue Jays, having moved Vernon Wells, are in danger of a big letdown after last season’s homerfest. Baltimore isn’t at a level where competing with Boston or New York is realistic, but a third-place finish would send a good message. If O’s management thinks Vlad can get them there, they’ll probably do whatever they can to sign him.

Plugging Guerrero into the middle of the Baltimore order in place of either Lee or Reynolds would almost certainly be an improvement for the Oriole offense. For that reason alone, he’s probably a good bet to sign in Baltimore. We’ll have to wait and see whether the Orioles live to regret it.

One more complication in this calculus is that Guerrero isn’t the only noteworthy free agent in the Orioles’ sights. Kevin Millwood has stated that he’s considering a return to the Baltimore rotation, where he’d help give the club’s young arms more time to develop before being thrown to the lions (or Yankees). If Guerrero signs, it might do more harm than good by using up cash that might have gone to Millwood.

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MLB Rumors: Breaking Down Every Team’s Interests in the Free Agent Market

It’s almost February and that means pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training in just a few weeks; it also means that the free agent signings are coming to an end. It’s rapidly becoming time for coaching staffs to be extending training camp invites to a group of players – a few of which may be lucky enough to land the last few rosters spots on a team. 

Even though, for the most part, all the real impact players have long been signed to teams,organizations are still paying attention to some free agents that can make a difference for a contender or fill a vital role/position for any team. Just look at the San Francisco Giants in 2010 if you’re wondering why teams are maintaining interest in the players left unsigned (they’re World Series run couldn’t have been achieved without players like Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, etc).

So, let’s take a look at each team, individually, to see who they’re still interested in… 

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MLB Hot Stove: Where Will the Top 10 Free Agents Still On the Market Land?

As the last dying embers of the Hot Stove flame begin to blacken and fade, let’s take one more look at who is still out there.

At this time of the year, free agents can often be had at a discount, hungry as players are to find a team and get down to the work of getting ready for the season to come. There are still a few potential impact players floating around, as well as many more who could prove to be valuable additions in the right place.

We’ll wade through the flotsam and jetsam and pick out those ten remaining diamonds in the rough, in this, our late January free agent reset.

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MLB Power Rankings: The Greatest Right Fielder in Every Team’s History

Right Field is usually the place where the guy with the strongest arm is put so that he can throw players out going to third.

The ball is also not hit too often to right field, and in general this player is better in the batter’s box than out in the field.

So with this in mind I thought I would pick the best right fielder in each teams franchise history. In this ranking I took into account both hitting and fielding, with a slight emphasis on the first.

If you don’t agree with my opinion feel free to comment what you think.

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