We’d had an inkling before, but with a second slip of the tongue, it appears that we can now be confident that Angels’ OF/DH Vladimir Guerrero is in fact a year older than his listed age. That makes him 34 for the upcoming season, his final under the contract he signed with Anaheim back in the 2003 offseason.
Given the recent trend in market contracts for good hitting outfielders with lead gloves, it will be interesting to see what kind of extension talks take place between Vlad and the Angels, if any, during this season. Any new contract for Guerrero is going to start with his age 35 season and he is already showing signs of age-related performance decline.
In fact, Guerrero’s WAR has fallen every year since 2004, when he posted a 5.6 WAR, to last season’s 2.4 figure. All that results in Vlad being overpaid each of the last three seasons according to FanGraphs estimates.
CHONE, ZiPS, Marcel and Oliver combined to project a slight rebound in offense for Vlad this coming year, but that was before it turned out that he was a year older. An extra year at that age, and track record, may result in a non trivial adjustment downward in expectations. With his defense at an abysmal -10 to -20 range and injury concerns, Guerrero really needs to scale back the number of games he plays in the field even further than the 99 he was down to last year.
If Vlad isn’t able to rebound, there could be some serious offensive issues in Anaheim, something the team can ill-afford especially with the news that Ervin Santana has at least a partial tear of his UCL.