May 10, 2012
Jays sign veteran GuerreroMay be called to kick-start offence
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
MINNEAPOLIS - In an effort to kick-start their struggling offence, the Blue Jays on Thursday signed 37-year-old free agent Vladimir Guerrero.
Guerrero, a nine-time all-star and former Montreal Expos outfielder, will play himself into shape at extended spring training.
Where he eventually will fit into the Jays lineup remains to be seen as Guerrero was strictly a designated hitter last year with the Baltimore Orioles. In 2010 with the Texas Rangers he was the DH in 129 games and made 18 appearances in the outfield.
For most of his 16-year career Guerrero was a right fielder, but those days are behind him.
The Jays primarily have used Edwin Encarnacion as their DH with Adam Lind getting three starts there.
If Guerrero ends up as the DH, then Encarnacion -- who leads the team with 10 home runs with 10 and 26 RBI -- would have to play the field. He could either bump Lind at first, which is not likely, or take over left field from Eric Thames who has been a clank defensively and in 29 games has not produced offensively, driving in just four runs in 93 at-bats, entering the game Thursday night against the Minnesota Twins.
Guerrero has 2,590 career hits and 449 home runs.
Last year with the Orioles he had 562 at-bats and hit .290 with 13 homers and 63 RBI. In 2010 with Texas, he hit .300 with 29 homers and 115 RBI.
Guerrero will earn the prorated portion of $1.3 million based on his day of arrival with the Jays.
After their opening 31 games, the Jays sit 12th in the league in batting with a collective .237 average. They are fourth in the league in runs with 146.
Key members of their offence in Lind and Jose Bautista have not delivered as expected.