Vlad the Impaler…the search for a Rangers cleanup hitter
Vlad III was Prince of Wallachia. He was a mean dude. He would skin the feet of thieves, pour salt on the wounds and let goats lick away. He nailed turbans to the heads of Ottoman envoys.
He was the inspiration for Count Dracula.
Vladimr Guerrero has been just as cruel to Rangers pitchers. He kills Rangers pitching. He has the highest career batting average (.396) and the highest OPS (1.127) of any opponent ever with at least 150 at-bats. In 102 games and 389 at-bats, he has 73 runs, 24 home runs and 68 RBI against the Rangers.
Now the Rangers want him on their side. They are definitely interested and they are definitely talking to his represenatives. They like the idea of him him Josh Hamilton.
A quick resolution is not expected. This is may be the ultimate off-season Catch-22.
The two sides may be perfect for each other. However…
The Rangers want badly to improve their offense but don’t have a lot of money to spend.
Guerrero wants to get paid a lot of money but doesn’t have too many teams lined up for his services.
At this point in his career, an American League team makes the most sense. Complete sense actually. There may be some debate about how much he has left at the plate but there’s little doubt that his days in the field are limited.
Big bat, big body, much wear-and-tear even if he will only be 35 in February. He needs to DH as much as possible.
The Rangers have an immediate opening. It’s just a matter of how high the Rangers will go and how low Guerrero will go.
The Rangers have options. They are very much interested in Jermaine Dye. They have made that clear from the beginning. They also have interest in Jim Thome. He is a left-handed hitter but the Rangers are willing to be flexible. They still have Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz from the right side. And Elvis Andrus.
The Rangers still mull Gary Sheffield as well. There is some interest in him.
The dark horse is Xavier Nady. He had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and missed almost all of 2009. But he hit .305 with 25 home runs and 97 RBI with the Pirates and Yankees in 2008. Both those parks (PNC and old Yankee) are tough on right-handed hitters.
He is a right-handed hitter. He can play the outfield, first base and of course DH.
One Rangers official called him, “Very interesting.”
Dye still wants to play in the field. He has told the Rangers he’s not ready to be used mostly at DH.
Guerrero should feel differently. Nady might be smart to think the same way, at least for one year after Tommy John surgery.
Vladimir Guerrero or Xavier Nady make the most sense for the Rangers.