ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Welcome to Hollywood, Vladimir Guerrero.
In another bold offseason move, the Anaheim Angels landed the
biggest star on the free-agent market when they reached agreement
with Guerrero, one of baseball's most talented players.
Anaheim did not disclose terms of the contract, which was to be
completed as long as the All-Star outfielder passes a physical.
"Guerrero is coming into L.A., and will be undergoing a
physical," Angels general manager Bill Stoneman said Sunday.
"We've got a deal contingent on the physical."
Several reports said Guerrero will get a $70 million, five-year
contract. He is expected in Los Angeles on Monday, Stoneman said.
A .323 career hitter, Guerrero averaged 37 homers for the
Montreal Expos the past six years. He also possesses speed on the
bases and one of the game's strongest arms in right field.
The four-time All-Star, who turns 28 next month, was on the
disabled list from June 6 to July 21 last season, missing 39 games
because of a herniated disc in his back. But he played in 62 of
Montreal's final 64 games and finished the year with a .330 batting
average, 25 homers and 79 RBI in 112 games.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Guerrero had not played in
fewer than 154 games in any full season before last year.
The cash-strapped Expos, owned by the other 29 major league
clubs, let him go in December, declining to offer salary
The Angels went 77-85 and missed the playoffs last year after
winning the World Series in 2002, but they've had a busy -- and
expensive -- offseason under new owner Arte Moreno. He bought the
team from The Walt Disney Co. last May.
Colon got a $51 million, four-year contract last month after
Escobar received an $18.75 million, three-year deal in November.
Guillen signed a $6 million, two-year contract, strengthening an
Moreno has spent nearly $146 million on the free-agent market
during the offseason. The Angels' payroll was around $76 million
last season and could top $111 million this year if Anaheim doesn't
trade away any high-priced players.
Moreno paid Disney $183.5 million for the team.
Guerrero speaks little English, but will join a team with a
Spanish-speaking owner and manager, Mike Scioscia, and Dominicans
Colon, Guillen, pitcher Ramon Ortiz and coach Alfredo Griffin.
Moreno, a fourth-generation American who is a native of Tucson,
Ariz., made a fortune in outdoor advertising. He worked in his
parents' print shop in Tucson as a kid and is the first major
league controlling owner of Hispanic background.
He said when he bought the Angels that he obviously wanted to
reach out to the Mexican-American community in Southern California,
"but also to everybody."
The Angels were believed to have entered the bidding for
Guerrero only late last week. On Saturday, he turned down a
three-year offer from the New York Mets that would have paid him
$71 million over five years if he reached incentives.
The Baltimore Orioles also pursued him and were thought to have
offered at least $65 million over five years.