When it was announced that Victor Martinez would be out for most, if not all, of the 2012 season, you could feel the panic building for the Detroit Tigers. Now they have to fill their designated hitter spot in mid-January, and one name that is being bantered about his Vladimir Guerrero.
Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press seems to be under the impression that Guerrero would be able to come close to matching Martinez's production, and the Tigers would be wise to give him a one-year, incentive-laden contract.
Signing free agent Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year incentive-laden contract would be the smartest move.
He will turn 37 before spring training. But he's only two years removed from an All-Star season with Texas, when he slugged 29 home runs, drove in 115 runs and batted .300 in the middle of an already potent lineup.
If reasonably healthy, there's no reason the right-handed-hitting Guerrero couldn't come reasonably close to those numbers in Detroit hitting behind Delmon Young in the three-hole and Cabrera at cleanup, with Jhonny Peralta or Alex Avila hitting behind Guerrero in the No. 6 spot.
There are actually a lot of reasons that Guerrero wouldn't come close to matching his Texas numbers in Detroit.
Sharp mentioned that Guerrero is 37 years old, but he glosses over everything else that is wrong with him.
Guerrero's one season in Texas is not as impressive as it seems. He hit .319/.364/.554 with 20 home runs in the first half, but dropped down to .278/.322/.426 with just nine home runs in the second half.
Last year in Baltimore was a disaster, as he batted just .290/.317/.416 with 13 home runs in 145 games. He had a WAR of 0.0, meaning he was literally a replacement player who happened to be on the field a lot.
The Tigers do need to find another hitter to plug into the lineup with Miguel Cabrera, Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta, but Guerrero is not the answer for them.
There are still some viable options out there, like Carlos Pena. He can't hit left-handed pitching at all, but he can hold his own against righties, and would even be a defensive upgrade at first base for Cabrera, who they could have DH more often this year.