In his latest blog post, ESPN.com's Buster Olney lists 12 things under "moves, deals and decisions." And No. 1 on that list is this:
1. Heard this: The Rangers have had interest in retaining Vladimir Guerrero on a one-year deal, and after Guerrero's side initially was looking for a two-year deal, the two sides are on the same page in discussing parameters on a one-year deal -- perhaps a turning point in these talks.
This is an important progression in the negotiations. I think fans mistakenly decided that because the Rangers and Guerrero parted ways at the end of the season in terms of the mutual option on his contract that Texas wasn't interested in the veteran slugger. That's not true. He's remained on the top of their list. But the Rangers weren't comfortable doing anything with Guerrero that wasn't a one-year deal. Why? He turns 36 in February and showed in 2010 that while he was healthy, he can't play often in the outfield. He really is primarily a DH.
Texas wanted to explore the market and see if there were more versatile options out there. And they are still doing that. But the organization knows that Guerrero still has some RBIs left in his bat and he protected Josh Hamilton very well in 2010 at the cleanup spot. Now that Magglio Ordonez has agreed on a one-year, $10 million deal, you can bet Guerrero will cost more. But maybe not much more. And it's possible the contract could be structured similarly to 2010, with some sort of mutual option at the end of the contract that could pay Guerrero an extra $1 million or something if the club decided not to exercise it. (That was done last year to pay part of Guerrero's salary at the end of the season when new ownership was in place).
It appears Guerrero has tested the market and no team wants to guarantee two years. He clearly enjoyed his time in Texas and was a great fit in the clubhouse. So it makes sense the two sides could find some common ground on a one-year deal and get this done. I, for one, hope they do. I understand the versatility issue, but Guerrero was solid for this team and is still a hitter opposing pitchers fear. That makes him very valuable. A one-year deal minimizes the risks.