Vladimir Guerrero is back to playing competitive baseball, but it won't be in the majors—or the minors, for that matter.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that Guerrero has signed with the Long Island Ducks, an Independent League team that plays in the Atlantic League.
Source: Vladimir Guerrero signs with Long Island Ducks, an independent minor-league team.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 4, 2013
Guerrero last played in the bigs in 2011 with the Baltimore Orioles. He hit .290/.317/.416 with 13 home runs and 63 RBI while serving primarily as the team's designated hitter. He won the AL MVP award in 2004 as a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
While nothing is set in stone regarding his future in MLB, this more than likely signals the end of his professional career. Some teams may attempt to take a shot at him on a minor league deal if he performs well for the Ducks, but the pitching in the two leagues is obviously much different.
Several former major leaguers have played for the Ducks, so Guerrero isn't exactly a trailblazer with this decision. Armando Benitez, Carlos Baerga, Danny Graves, Jose Offerman, Edgardo Alfonzo, Juan Gonzalez, Carl Everett, Richard Hidalgo, Sidney Ponson, Gustavo Chacin, John Rocker, Jay Gibbons, Joey Gathright, Ryan Garko, Preston Wilson and Lew Ford have all suited up for the Ducks.
You can't fault Guerrero for accepting the offer after no major league teams showed interest in him this past offseason. If one of the game's most notorious free-swingers wants to keep playing, then he absolutely has every right to do so.
Rosenthal also points out that the Ducks are a successful team that won the Atlantic League Championship last season.
Vlad’s new team plays in the independent Atlantic League and was, in fact, the league champion last season.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) April 4, 2013
If that were not enough to draw Ducks fans to the stadium, now they'll have one of the best home run hitters of this generation hitting cleanup in their team's lineup.