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How about signing Vladimir Guerrero?

1/22/2011

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- As the Rangers sat on stage during the club's annual Dr Pepper Mid-Winter Awards Banquet, news trickled in that Manny Ramirez had agreed to terms with Tampa Bay (In fact, when master of ceremonies Eric Nadel told the audience the news, a big cheer went up).

I asked general manager Jon Daniels after the event about Vladimir Guerrero (I know the Orioles have expressed serious interest, but I wonder if the Rangers go still get in on him).

"We haven't closed the door," Daniels said.

Now that more veteran hitters have come off the market, doesn't Guerrero become more of a realistic option? The issue is that he'd have to take on the role of a player off the bench and not the guy that got all of those at-bats in 2010. At least that would be the plan initially. As Daniels has pointed out this offseason, things are very fluid on a major league team. Players get hurt or struggle and roles change (there were numerous examples of that for the Rangers in 2010).

It would be nice to have a right-handed bat with Guerrero's track record off the bench. Manager Ron Washington could put him in against tough lefties and shift Michael Young to first base in those kinds of situations. He could use Guerrero late in games as a pinch hitter and even every once in a while in the outfield (not often based on how he looked in the field late last year, but he could do it at times if needed).

Think about the clubhouse, too. Guerrero was a great fit within the chemistry of the team in 2010 and his teammates would love to have him back for another season. It's still probably a longshot, but something worth considering. If Guerrero doesn't have a job in the next few weeks, maybe he comes to the conclusion that a bench role is all he can get. And if that's the case, what better place to do it than Texas?