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Saturday, January 10, 2004

THIS JUST IN...

It looks like Vlad has committed to someone, we're just not sure who yet. We do know it's not the Mets and probably not Florida. It sounds like it's either the O's (poopy) or the Dodgers (yeah!). We'll probably know by tomorrow if not sooner.

THE NEW A-ROD? NO WAY.

Nothing exemplifies the new state of baseball free-agency better than the unsigning of Vladimir Guerrero. He's certainly the best player available not only this off-season but in recent memory, and he's one of the top five players in the game now and will be for many years to come. But yet, the only team that has shown any serious interest in him is the Baltimore Orioles. Since Vlad is one of my favorite players of all time, it's starting to drive me a little nuts.

If Vlad really wanted to go to the O's then I believe he would have signed by now. Financially they have offered him a generous package that no other team has come close to matching in dollars or years at 65 million over 5 years. (Well, except for the Expos who actually offered him 75 million over 5 years.) His hesitation in signing with the O's makes me believe that he doesn't want to go to Baltimore not because it's in the AL or isn't Latino enough for him, but that he may have learned a thing or two from the unfortunate example of Mr. Alex "What have I done?" Rodriguez.

If Vlad chooses to sign with the O's he would be going to a team that A) has a horrible pitching staff, B) plays in an awful tough division, and C) is hoping to solve it's problems through a series of high-profile signings. That my friends is a recipe for mediocrity, a brew that the Texas Rangers have managed to cook up ever since A-Rod's arrival. However, if things keeping going the way they have, it doesn't look like Vlad may have any other alternative than to accept the O's offer.

But wait there's hope. Sort of. It looks as if the Mets are willing to forgo that whole "building from within, showing fiscal restraint" thing ("a plan" some might call it) and are going to make a run at signing Vlad. In the Mets defense, if they are going to make a high-profile signing they can't afford in hopes of making a short-cut towards winning, then this is the guy to do it with. Unlike Baltimore, the Mets pitching staff is okay but they do play in a really tough division (Vlad knows that first hand) and they have sucked the last couple of seasons. Still, if he doesn't mind playing in a huge market where he'll get tons of media attention and scrutiny then the Mets aren't a bad team for him to go to.

The Mets made a great decision in signing Mike Cameron and if Glavine and Leiter can remain healthy and productive they could make a run at the Wild Card or maybe even the division. One of the advantages Vlad would have in signing only a 3 year deal, which the Mets are reportedly offering, is that if he doesn't like it in NY he can be comforted by the fact that he wouldn't be there that much longer. Also, a 3 year deal would be much easier then say, a 10 year deal, for the Mets to unload should Vlad decide he wanted to be traded.

There are also a few other teams bubbling to the surface. (But not this one. Somebody's lame attempt at a joke. Ha.)

Apparently, Vlad wants to go to the Marlins. I'm not sure why he'd want to return to a team owned by Jeffery Loria but they are the defending champs and if the Marlins can get him for less then twelve million per then God bless.

It looks like the Dodgers prospective new owner, Frank McCourt, might finally get the go-ahead and if you want to read anything into Shawn Green's tentative move to 1st base, they might be preparing to move Vlad into Green's RF spot. In my mind, this move makes the most sense for both the Dodgers and Guerrero. The Dodgers get the offensive upgrade they desperately need and Guerrero stays in the NL and gets to play on a very good team. Playing in L.A. he'd also never have to worry about a language barrier seeing as Spanish should be declared California's first official language. This would be a great move.

Seattle makes sense too. Although, it seems the new GM, Bill Bavasi, is a bit of a bone-head. But don't just take my word for it, ask some Mariners fans what it feels like to watch helplessly as somebody burns your pretty house down.

I'm not sure what the situation in Montreal is, if their offer is still on the table in some shape or form, but going back to Montreal wouldn't be the worst thing... oh hell, yeah it would be.

One thing seems clear though; unlike A-Rod, Vlad's decision won't be based on money. (Sorry, MLBPA dudes.) For that you really have to respect him.

UPDATE: I wrote this a couple of days ago and just got around to polishing it up today, and since then it looks like the O's have thrown their hands up and are prepared to make a silly move. More and more, they seem like the same ol' "sign a high-priced free-agent and throw him in there" Orioles to me. Steinbrenner is a way better tyrannical owner than Angelos.

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