Photo: AP Images
The Texas Rangers declined Vladimir Guerrero’s $9M option yesterday. It’s a questionable decision to some. That contract is a bargain for a .300 hitter that slugged 29 HRs and 115 RBIs.(For comparison’s sake, last offseason Johnny Damon, a year older than Vlad is now, signed an $8M contract when he hit .282 with 24 HRs and 82 RBIs.)
But there’s a method to the Rangers’ madness. Because of financial constraints the club faced last offseason, the Rangers promised Guerrero they wouldn’t pick up his option, but would pay him the $1M buyout instead.
Regardless, Texas is probably better off this way.
Entering next season at 36, Guerrero’s production is likely to decline. The Rangers want him at a contract that’s fair for what he’ll produce next year, not past performance. And the performance freshest in the Rangers’ memory is Vlad’s 1-for-14 World Series.
Most importantly, the Rangers are saving money for another one of their free agents whose name you might recognise: Cliff Lee. If Texas plans on competing with the Yankees for his services, those $9 million will come in handy.
That’s not to say they don’t want Vlad. The Rangers still want to try and sign him for less money and use their savings on Lee. But if he goes another team, all is not lost — the Rangers get two draft picks thanks to his Type-A free agent status.
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