Vladimir Guerrero has signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. After spending month upon month on the free agent market, Guerrero finally found a new home in the Blue Jays. Guerrero is heading to Blue Jays extended spring training to prepare for the majors. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, Guerrero’s deal is worth $1.3 million and will be prorated based on how much time he actually spends at the major league level this season.
Guerrero went through the winter and early spring without receiving much attention at all. Two teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cleveland Indians, worked out Guerrero, but they were ultimately not impressed enough to sign the 37-year-old.
Many seemed to agree that an American League team that could provide at least a part-time designated hitter role would be the best fit for Guerrero. While Guerrero took fly balls for the Indians and Diamondbacks, it is fairly well understood that his time in the field is done. Guerrero did not play in the field at all last season for the Orioles, and this trend is likely to continue into 2012.
Of course, the Blue Jays already have a pretty good designated hitter. Edwin Encarnacion has come out of the gates hot, currently leading Blue Jays regulars in home runs (10), RBIs (26) and OPS (.912). Toronto doesn’t figure to bench Encarnacion for Guerrero anytime soon.
So where will Guerrero get his at-bats?
Where Toronto’s offense does need a boost is at first base, a position currently being held by Adam Lind. Though Lind does have a solid track record as a powerful first baseman, he’s only been able to muster a line of .190/.274/.333 over his first 29 games and 105 at-bats this season.
The thought here is that Encarnacion (a right-handed hitter) could get the start at first base in place of Lind (a left-handed hitter) whenever a southpaw is on the mound. At this point, Guerrero (also a righty) would be able to take Encarnacion’s spot as the Blue Jays designated hitter.
However, before this or any other lineup involving Guerrero can happen, he’ll have to make it through extended spring training and onto Toronto’s major league roster.
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