Vlad finalizes deal with Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas – Vladimir Guerrero will now be hitting in the middle of the lineup for the Texas Rangers instead of doing damage against them.
Guerrero and the Rangers on Monday finalized a one-year contract that includes a mutual option for 2011 after the eight-time All-Star and former AL MVP passes a physical.
The Rangers planned to introduce their new primary designated hitter at a news conference later Monday. Guerrero spent the past six seasons with the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels.
“This is a guy we’ve both admired and feared for years from across the field,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “He’s been one of the most dangerous hitters in the game for over a decade. He’ll bring a presence to the middle of the order, and a winning pedigree to the club.”
Guerrero helped lead the Angels to five division titles the past six seasons and was the AL MVP in 2004, his first season in Los Angeles after beginning his career with Montreal from 1996-2003.
Texas finished second in the AL West last season, 10 games behind the Angels.
Also, free agent Khalil Greene reached an agreement on a one-year deal to become the Rangers’ utility infielder. Two people familiar with those negotiations told The Associated Press about Greene’s deal, speaking on condition of anonymity because the contract will not be finalized until Greene takes a physical.
The Angels showed little interest in retaining Guerrero, who had two stints on the disabled list last year and turns 35 next month. Los Angeles signed free-agent slugger Hideki Matsui and kept Bobby Abreu with a $19 million, two-year contract.
Guerrero is a career .321 hitter with 407 homers and 1,318 RBIs in 1,850 career games. He is a .394 career hitter at Rangers Ballpark, with 14 homers and 33 RBIs in 50 games.
In the first 44 games of his career against the Rangers (2004-06), Guerrero had one of baseball’s most peculiar streaks. He had a 44-game hitting streak, the longest stretch by any player against one team since at least 1957.
Texas was looking for a utility infielder who could play shortstop after the departure of free agent Omar Vizquel, who agreed to a $1.4 million deal with the White Sox in November. Greene has played 678 games at shortstop, and his only 16 games at third base came last season with St. Louis.
Greene hit .200 with six homers in 77 games for the Cardinals last season. Before that, he was the starting shortstop for San Diego from 2004-08.
Greene was acquired by St. Louis from San Diego last winter with expectations that he would be the Cardinals’ starting shortstop. But Greene struggled and twice last summer went on the disabled list with social anxiety disorder. He lost his starting job at shortstop, then the Cardinals used him some at third base.
His final season with San Diego was cut short when he broke his left hand after punching a wall near the dugout in July 2008. He played only 105 games that season.
The 30-year-old Greene, a first-round pick by the Padres in the 2002 draft, is a .245 career hitter in 736 games the past seven seasons. He has a .975 career fielding average, and had only 11 errors in 153 starts at shortstop in 2007 for San Diego.