Rangers reach deal with DH Guerrero

The Texas Rangers needed a designated hitter – maybe as much as anyone – and while they didn't intend to spend much, that was OK, because there were plenty out there.

They had their eye on Vladimir Guerrero(notes), and why wouldn't they? They've rarely witnessed him making an out.

They had some reservations about the state of Guerrero's body, but on Saturday they reached an agreement with him on a one-year contract worth approximately $5 million.

So, the Rangers and GM Jon Daniels settled their DH vacancy and perhaps began to open a clogged marketplace for aging DH/corner outfield/first base types.

Assuming a physical exam doesn't turn up trouble, Guerrero's move to Texas places two of the most popular Angels of the past decade – Chone Figgins(notes) (Seattle Mariners) is the other – with AL West rivals and a third (John Lackey(notes), Boston Red Sox) with a regular postseason foe.

And while this hardly made the Rangers unique among AL teams, the free-swinging Guerrero has pounded them since he joined the Angels for the 2004 season. Guerrero batted .396 with 24 home runs and 68 RBIs against the Rangers in 102 games, including .394 with 14 homers and 33 RBIs in 50 games at the Ballpark in Arlington. His 1.175 OPS there is his highest in any ballpark where he has played at least 20 games.

As the latest mid-30's guy in Texas who may or may not have much left, Guerrero would replace Andruw Jones(notes), who takes the same job (flyer/DH) with the Chicago White Sox. (Hank Blalock(notes) and Julio Borbon(notes) also saw time at DH for the Rangers.)

Guerrero, meantime, hit well enough when he was healthy in August, September and October to suggest he was largely over the ailments that disabled him during the season – muscle strains in his hamstring, behind his knee and in his chest. He also thrilled the Angels' coaching staff by cutting down on his swing in some critical postseason moments, perhaps recognizing that he won't be able to both over-swing and age well in the game.

Like others considering upgrades, the Rangers explored many other options, among them Jermaine Dye(notes), Carlos Delgado(notes), Xavier Nady(notes), Gary Sheffield(notes), Ryan Garko(notes), Jonny Gomes(notes), Jim Thome(notes) and maybe even Johnny Damon(notes).

It's a buyer's market.