Former MLB outfielder and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero has been unable to catch on with a team, and his chances of doing so may have lessened significantly after he was reportedly involved in a bar brawl in his native Dominican Republic.
According to Dominican Today, Guerrero is in police custody following his involvement in a melee at a discotheque called El Punto in Bani, D.R. Guerrero allegedly assaulted a police officer, but community leaders and his brother Wilton, who is also a former Major Leaguer, deny that Guerrero is guilty of the act.
Vlad played 16 seasons in the MLB and had what most would consider to be a Hall-of-Fame career. Not only was Guerrero a nine-time All-Star, but he won the American League MVP Award in 2004, as well as the Home Run Derby in 2007. His career marks of a .318 average, 2,590 hits and 449 home runs make him one of the most prolific Dominican hitters of all time.
Guerrero, who played for the Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles during his fruitful career, went unsigned after the O's decided to let him leave as a free agent this offseason.
Although Guerrero's numbers dipped a bit in 2011, he still managed to hit .290 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI as the Orioles' DH. He has yet to retire and may have been keeping his options open to sign with a team during the season if he generated any interest.
But this arrest has to severely damage his chances of playing regardless of whether he is guilty or not.
If Guerrero is found guilty, will he still make the Hall of Fame?
It's unclear exactly what type of discipline Guerrero might be facing, but it's obvious that he has a lot of people willing to go to bat for him. There were never any reports of Guerrero having off-field problems over the course of his MLB career, so this entire situation appears to be out of character for the former slugger.
If Guerrero is in fact done playing, then he will be up for Hall-of-Fame consideration in five years. Unlike most Halls of Fame, baseball takes off-field conduct into consideration. If it is found that Guerrero was physical with a police officer, then there is no telling what type of effect that will have on the voting.
There is no question that Guerrero had an incredible career, but this situation could possibly overshadow everything. For his sake, hopefully this is just a big misunderstanding. Otherwise it will be difficult for most fans to look at Vlad the same way ever again.