Why Did The Orioles Give Vlad Guerrero $8 Million (When No One Else Would)?

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Photo: AP

On Monday, the Orioles agreed to a contract with Vladimir Guerrero for one year and $8 million. Even though $3 million of the contract will be deferred, the contract is curious at best.The deal is curious because Vlad wanted $8 million per season, when the off-season started.

As recently as two weeks ago, the Orioles’ offer to Vlad was in the $3-5 million range. And when he finally agreed to a deal at the end of the winter, the Orioles were probably the only team bidding on his services.

And yet, they doubled the value of the contract.

With Guerrero, the Orioles payroll is now about $93 million, which is about $20 million more than their payroll last year. And yet, the Orioles may still be just the fourth best team in the AL East.

Will Vlad the Impaler make the Orioles better? Yes. In 2010, Guerrero hit .300 with 29 home runs, and there is no reason he won’t still be productive in 2011. But, will he make the O’s a contender? Emphatically no. While still productive, Guerrero hasn’t been worth more than 2.6 wins since 2007. And that is not going to be enough to put the Orioles over the top in the always tough AL East.

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