Former Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Angels outfielder/DH Vladimir Guerrero has decided to retire, reports Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Mike Wilner. Guerrero was attempting a comeback with the Blue Jays after the worst year of his career in Baltimore last season, when he hit a career-low 13 homers and had a career-low .733 OPS.
However, Ken Rosenthal of FOX is reporting that Guerrero isn't retiring, courtesy of a statement from his agent Bean Stringfellow.
Guerrero signed with Toronto in May, as an effort to provide the Jays with a solid veteran DH in the wake of the struggles of Adam Lind. he's been in AAA Las Vegas since the beginning of the month, and things haven't gone as planned. In eight games, Guerrero doesn't have a home run, and has just a .739 OPS. With his offensive struggles in a hitter's park like Las Vegas, and the successes of Lind and Travis Snider, it just didn't seem like Guerrero would be able to catch on with Toronto this year.
If the initial report is correct and this is the end, Guerrero finishes his career with 449 homers, 181 stolen bases, and a .932 OPS. He won the AL MVP in 2004 with the Angels, and finished third in both 2005 and 2007. Guerrero has a pair of 30/30 seasons in his career (2001 and 2002), and his 2002 season with Montreal saw him finish just one home run shy of a 40/40 season and finish fourth in the NL MVP voting. Guerrero holds the Expos franchise best marks in batting average (.323), slugging percentage (.588), OPS (.978), and home runs (234). At worse, he's one of the top five players of all-time for the franchise (along with Andre Dawson, Rusty Staub, Gary Carter, and Tim Raines, in whatever order), and at best, he's the best they've ever had, and possibly the third player to go into the Hall of Fame with an Expos logo on his cap, following Carter and Dawson.
On a personal note, Guerrero played in my hometown of Harrisburg with the Senators, Montreal's AA affiliate. At 21, Guerrero was part of the 1996 Senators team that won the first of four straight Eastern League championships for the franchise, OPSing 1.050 with 19 homers and 17 stolen bases. He won the Eastern League's MVP and Rookie of the Year awards that year, and was one of the first players that my young self latched on to as a guy who could be a superstar in The Show.
[h/t: Getting Blanked]