As my first real post back, I will discuss the recent news of us signing Vlad Guerrero to a 1-year, 8 million dollar deal. Am I happy that he signed? Yes. But it is the best move for the future team? No.
Let me address the first point of the short term. This makes our lineup very good. The worse hitter in the lineup will be JJ Hardy, who batted a serviceable .268 for the Twins last year, an improvement over Cesar Izturis and his barnburning .230 average. We have now made improvements at 4 positions, first, third, short and left field. We now have multiple guys that are capable of hitting 30 homers, when last year we only had 1. The potential improvement in the infield could be very large from what it was at times last year. For example, on April 20th, we trotted out a lineup with the following infield: 1B Garett Atkins, 2B Julio Jugo, SS Cesar Izturis, and 3B Ty Wiggington. The best average out of those 4 was Wiggy, batting a stellar .248. Our lineup is vastly improved, and Vald just continues to do that, my providing another solid power source. This lineup could be nasty in 2011.
But what about the long-term? If this lineup gets above .500, I will be pleased. But I can’t help but look at the long-term. Vlad is a stopgap, a very good one at that, but he’s still a stop gap. But he is signed at a position where a stopgap isn’t really necessary, left field. We already have Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold, ready to battle out a spot and prove that one of them can be our left fielder for the next few years, when we will try to do something great. This only stalls their development for the future. What happens in 2012 (well other, then the world ending.) when Vlad’s contract is up? We’re in the exact same position, with Reimold and Pie, and neither of them has gotten much more experience with staring constantly in the majors and proving they can hit ML pitching consistently. While it’s easy to say “OMG, TEH ORILES HAVE A GR8 LINEUP, WE’RE GOING TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!1111!!!11!” This isn’t the year where it seems most possible that the world series, or more simply, the playoffs seem realistic, giving our young staff another year to develop will be important, 2012 is the year that we should be really trying to make a playoffs run. So shouldn’t we use 2011 has a chance to see if we already have someone good enough to be a consistent day in-day out left fielder. If that answer is yes, and huzzah. If the answer is no, we search the open market and see who we can find to replace him. This year could be used as a year for potential development for the long-term future, but it’s not.