The Texas Rangers announced they've signed Vladimir Guerrero to a one-year contract worth $5 million today in a move that aims to bolster the team's designated hitter spot.
Over the past two years, Guerrero has seriously been on the decline with both barely average play and a history of injuries plaguing the once-touted power hitter.
In 2009, Guerrero hit just .295 with 15 home runs, 50 RBI, and an on-base percentage of .334.
In 2008, the beginning of the end, Guerrero hit .303 with 27 homers, 91 RBI, and an OBP of .365.
His ’08 stats—from a distance—don’t seem all that bad, but in reality it was this season that really showed itself to be the beginning of the end for the once great power hitter.
From 1998 to 2007, Guerrero drove in 100-plus runs in all but one season (2003), hit at least 30 homers in every season except two (2003, and 2007), and hit 30-plus doubles in seven of those 10 seasons; it is also noteworthy to mention his 2003 season numbers were hampered by only 394 at-bats.
But for the Rangers, the signing could go one of two ways: a very strategic acquisition—even if it is for only one year—or another player whose injury-prone history comes back to bite them in the you-know-what.
There is no mistaking the Rangers' ability to score runs and hit the ball. Texas has three players from last year who had an OBP of over .400, including Michael Young, who was also ranked fifth overall in batting average. The Rangers ranked 10th overall in batting stats, hit 748 RBI, and only the Yankees hit more home runs (244 to the 224 both Texas and Philadelphia hit).
But Texas has also had a small history with injuries to valuable players, including, but not limited to, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton.
Still, the Rangers have a pretty good blend of power, quality pitching, and a bit of youth, so adding Guerrero to a controlled environment such as DH could have more perks instead of setbacks.
Did I also mention "Vlad the Impaler" put up a near-.400 OBP in Arlington through 50 games as an Angel?
Form a fantasy baseball perspective, Guerrero is just simply too high of a risk to consider anything other than waiver-wire fodder for now. With players such as Kinsler, Hamilton, and the hopeful emergence of Chris Davis and Elvis Andrus, there are plenty of other options offered by the Rangers that complement both power and speed.