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Without MLB offers Vladimir Guerrero “will explore Japan”

Mar 19, 2012, 3:15 PM EDT

Vladimir Guerrero AP

Vladimir Guerrero remains unsigned and wasn’t even linked to many teams all offseason, but his agent told Jon Heyman of that the 37-year-old plans to play somewhere this season and may turn to Japan if he doesn’t get any MLB offers.

Fernando Cuza indicated to Heyman that Guerrero will wait around for the phone to ring until the end of spring training, but considering he has no business playing the outfield at this point and so few teams aren’t already set with designated hitter options the market for Guerrero seems unlikely to heat up.

He hit .290 last season, which looks good until you consider the 13 homers and .416 slugging percentage in 590 plate appearances. Not only were those by far the worst marks of Guerrero’s career, among the 65 corner outfielders, first basemen, and designated hitters with at least 500 plate appearances last season his .733 OPS ranked 49th.

Guerrero is no longer an elite hitter and knee problems have made it impossible to play him regularly in the outfield, so it makes sense that he hasn’t found a fit. With that said, finishing his career in Japan would be unfortunate for a guy who’s one of the best right-handed hitters of all time.

  1. Old Gator - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    More than one agent talks to Jon Heyman?

    Is he franchising out these days?

  2. Baseball Beer Burritos In That Order - Mar 19, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    finishing his career in Japan would be unfortunate for a guy who’s one of the best right-handed hitters of all time.

    What’s so bad about it? He gets to eat great food, visit beautiful places (have you seen what the beaches look like in Okinawa?), and get paid to play man’s most enjoyable sport. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

    • Old Gator - Mar 19, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      Yep. And even more pristine are the so-called “Tokyo Islands” a few hours’ ferry ride from Tokyo Harbor or Yokahama. The food – fabulous (best Indian restaurant I ever ate in was in Kyoto, and since I’ve also lived in London that’s saying a lot). I’ve traveled in Japan several times, spent a few months over there, and I’d sign up to play in Japan in a heartbeat.

      Just be sure to check your shoes for mukade if you left ’em on the mat overnight….

  3. mattraw - Mar 19, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Please, please, PLEASE send a camera crew with him. I would be absolutely glued to a Vlad in Japan series.

  4. tropboi11 - Mar 19, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Good luck Vlad, you have always been one of the most exciting players I have ever watched and feared since i’m a Rays fan. And I would much rather have you on our team than great Scott

  5. cur68 - Mar 19, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Wily Mo Pena & Vladdy on the same Japanese team…I’m in lil baseball-nerd heaven. Now, please tell me they get to be Ham Fighters together?

    • Old Gator - Mar 19, 2012 at 10:56 PM

      That’s skirting the edge a little. I suspect Bryan Petersen and Tweeter would…uh…no, I don’t want to think about it….just call them “Fighters” since the team is owned by Nippon Ham, and the ballplayers don’t fight hams, they fight other teams, got it?

  6. ezthinking - Mar 19, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    Love the desire he has to keep playing ball everyday.

  7. purnellmeagrejr - Mar 20, 2012 at 7:15 AM

    I love the idea of Vladimir Guerrerro as an “explorer.” He should team up with Pedro Guerrero and be like the Columbus brothers. Or perhaps he can start in a movie like TOm Cruise as “The LAst DH?

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