Vladimir Guerrero Signs: Vladimir Guerrero, Dontrelle Willis Join The Long Island Ducks
Vladimir Guerrero, once one of the most feared hitters in all of baseball, has signed a one-year deal with the Long Island Ducks of the Independent Atlantic League, according to his agent Greg Maroni of California Sports Management.
Guerrero said he was considering playing in Taiwan or in Quebec, but decided on Long Island after deep consideration. "I grew up with the Montreal Expos and played there for almost 10 years," Guerrero said in a statement. "The fans [in Quebec] are my friends. However, my ultimate goal is to make it back to the major leagues and attempt to reach 500 home runs as soon as possible." Of his new opportunity in Long Island, Guerrero said, "I'm very excited about this opportunity the Long Island Ducks have given me as I try to make it back to the big leagues," said Guerrero. "I have a home on Long Island and look forward to helping the Ducks this season."
Guerrero is the proud owner of 449 home runs over his illustrious 16-year Major League Baseball career, and he is eager to add some more seasons to it. Over those 16 seasons, Guerrero batted .318, recorded 2,590 hits, 1,496 RBI, and holds a career .379 on base percentage. He also won the 2004 American League MVP award as a member of the Anaheim Angels, when he batted .337 with 39 home runs and 126 RBI.
Guerrero last laced up for an MLB game in 2011 with the Baltimore Orioles. In 2011 Gurerro played in 145 games, finishing the season with a .290 batting average, 13 home runs, 63 RBI and a .733 OPS.
The Long Island Ducks have a history of major leaguers signing and then returning to the Show. Since 2001, Carlos Baerga, Pedro Bourbon Jr., Bill Pulsipher, Ken Ray, Mel Stocker and Nelson Figueroa have all found their way back onto big league rosters.
Joining Guerrero on the 2013 Ducks roster will be former Florida Marlins sensation Dontrelle Willis, last seen in the big leagues in 2011 pitching for the Cincinnati Reds. In 2011, Willis sputtered to a 1-6 record and posted a 5.00 ERA while striking out 57 batters and walking 37.
Willis was the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year, and went 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA with 142 strikeouts in 160 innings. His control eventually deserted him in 2007 and he never posted an ERA lower than 4.98 again.