Vladimir Guerrero of the Baltimore Orioles slaps the ball to right field where Josh Reddick of the Boston Red Sox (not pictured) mishandled a fly ball at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Vladimir Guerrero is a free agent, and the Miami Marlins have reportedly expressed some degree of interest. It's easy to see a fit, kind of.
Remember how weird it felt talking about Roy Oswalt as an unsigned free agent in February? I mean, he's Roy Oswalt. And he's still unsigned. He'll remain unsigned into the season, and possibly beyond that.
It's a similar deal with Vladimir Guerrero. It might be even weirder with Vladimir Guerrero. I mean, he's Vladimir Guerrero. He's one of the most terrifying hitters the game's ever seen. He's a free agent right now, and it's March. Why won't anybody sign Vladimir Guerrero?
Of course, the answer is simple: players age. A player's talent tends to decline faster than his name value, and Vladimir Guerrero isn't Vladimir Guerrero anymore. He hasn't hit 30 home runs since 2006. He hasn't posted a 130 OPS+ since 2008. He's coming off a year in which he hit .290 with the Orioles, but in which he OBP'd .317 and slugged .416. The 101 OPS+ was the lowest of Guerrero's entire career, and he's listed as 37 years old. He looks and moves like he's twice that.
So Guerrero isn't what he was. That's why he's still a free agent. But it's not like his phone hasn't been ringing at all; According to El Caribe, this:
Vladimir Guerrero reveló que los Marlins de Miami es el equipo que mayor atención ha mostrado en sus servicios para su posible regreso a las Grandes Ligas.
In English, stripped down:
Vladimir Guerrero revealed that the Miami Marlins have shown the most interest in his services.
Here's the thing, though: the Marlins would use Guerrero as a bench player. Their outfield is full, with Logan Morrison, Emilio Bonifacio, and Giancarlo Stanton. Gaby Sanchez plays first base. Guerrero doesn't want to be a bench player, and Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen doesn't think Guerrero is a bench player. So there's a hurdle. The Marlins front office likes Guerrero, but at present there isn't the fit that Guerrero would like.
Look around the league, though, and you'll see that nobody has a fit that Guerrero would like. Again, there's a reason he's still a free agent. He's basically a DH, and he's an aging DH with declining offense. Much like Bobby Abreu, Guerrero seems to be a role player who believes he's more than a role player.
So we'll see where this goes. On paper, Guerrero is an obvious fit in Miami. He could be the Latin icon the Marlins wanted Albert Pujols to be, and he wouldn't require a long-term commitment. But if Guerrero were to sign there, he'd have to be willing to accept a part-time job. There's no guarantee that he'll do that. There's no guarantee that he won't just sit out if nobody calls offering a lot of plate appearances. I'm not inside Vladimir Guerrero's head. Stay tuned. Or change the channel and flip back every so often if you're curious.