Vlad ................. 0 1 / 1 1 / 2 0 0 4

Vladimir Guerrero is the jewel of this offseason, the subject of half the rumors and nearly all the ones that don't involve the Yankees or Red Sox. Consistently in the top tenth of all hitters, he's a classic five-tool player. Naturally, I thought he was headed to Baltimore when it became apparent that carpetbagger Frank McCheap's bid for the Dodgers had encountered repeated trouble, and after the Angels had essentially said they weren't in the mix for him after picking up power pitcher (and innings horse) Bartolo Colón. The Orioles made a $65 million, five-year bid. The Mets went for fewer years, but more money up front. Still Vlad stayed unsigned; speculation was that Vlad wanted more years. Rumors started to swirl that the O's had set a 48-hour clock to ticking, to force Vlad into signing or not, preferably before the Dodgers could have a chance to bid after their ownership situation became clear.

Then, it all unraveled. Vlad's agents informed the Mets he had signed with a mystery team.

The Angels.

Oh my God and Jesus as well! I'm only now coming down from this. The best hitter in the offseason, in an Angels uniform.

Aye, but his back... may the saints preserve it.

Meantime, McCourt fiddles while the Dodgers stumble toward spring training. My heart grows heavy for them.

more gruntles rlm@scareduck.com
Last modified: Sat Jan 17 12:36:35 PST 2004