Former Harrisburg Senator Vladimir Guerrero was granted his release from the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization on Tuesday after the ballclub refused to capitulate to his ultimatum for a major-league promotion. Since signing with Toronto on May 10th, the 37-year-old veteran had appeared in just 11 minor-league games as he worked his way back into playing shape after sitting out all of spring training as a free agent.
The Indians and Tigers have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Guerrero, but the market for aging right-handed designated hitters is thin at best. Ask Miguel Tejada who toils away in Norfolk for the Orioles’ Triple-A team or Derrek Lee who is sitting at home on his couch still waiting for a phone call. Guerrero is closer to forced retirement than he’s able to admit. Toronto was at least willing to give him a job and an opportunity, while the other 29 MLB clubs aren’t beating a path to his door now that he’s available.
He’s had a spectacular career that has spanned 16 productive big league seasons. The nine-time All Star amassed 2,590 hits, clubbed 449 home runs, drove in 1,496 runs, and was named the 2004 AL MVP. By all statistical predictors, Guerrero is a shoo-in for enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame. His induction into Cooperstown would cement his legacy as the greatest Harrisburg Senators player of all-time as he would become the first to ever attain that honor.
Is this the end of the line for Vlad? It sure appears that way as Guerrero and his agent wait for a phone call that will probably never come.