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Big League Stew

Vladimir Guerrero and Canada: Together again

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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(AP file)

Vladimir Guerrero became the last aging DH saved from the 2012 scrap heap, signing a minor-league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon. He'll report to the team's extended spring training camp in Dunedin, Fla., to work back into game shape.

This isn't an earth-shaking deal by any means, of course. If it were, the 37-year-old Guerrero would have found a home before the start of the season and before colleagues like Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Manny Ramirez  received their next chances.

But because it involves a non-guaranteed $1.2 million contract that will only be prorated when — and if — he makes the major-league club, there is really no downside for the Jays. The best-case scenario, as Getting Blanked points out, is that Guerrero has some power left in his at-bat and provides a good platoon DH option once the Jays are past interleague play.

The worst case is that Guerrero gets out of the Dominican Republic for a few months and enjoys a nice tour through the minor-league system, which includes Vegas and Vancouver.

There's also the not-so-small detail that a Montreal native has given Guerrero the chance to end his career in the country where it began, a fact that is not going unnoticed in Canada.

Richard Griffin touches upon this in The Star:

The wonderful thing about this current Jays regime is the connection they have with Canadian baseball history under the native Montrealer and Expos front-office ingenue, (Jays GM Alex) Anthopoulos ... Ever since Vlad showed up barefoot on the back of a Moped as the uninvited guest tryout guy, an afterthought in the Dominican for Expos scout Fred Ferreira, and knocked the socks off Montreal's scouts with his raw ability and fabulous arm, he has had a connection with Canadian baseball.

That's a nice storyline, sure, but I'm guessing Anthopoulos is driven way more by rolling the dice on a value signing than he is by any nostalgia he holds for his days in Montreal. And I'm absolutely positive that Anthopoulos' only real hope here is that Guerrero turns out closer to his 2010 Texas Rangers self (.841 OPS) than the 2011 Baltimore Orioles version (.733).

That's not to say that I don't like the nostalgia. After all, any excuse to embed this classic song from Guerrero's days at Le Stade Olympique is a good one.

Big BLS H/N: The Baseball Docent (for the vid)

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