Would You Rather: Guerrero or Duchscherer

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Usually when I play “Would You Rather” with my friends it pertains to which celebrity we would rather sleep with, but I figured it would translate to the Orioles off season rumors as well. I was going to throw Joe Beimel into the game, but he just signed with the Pirates. Hypothetically of course, if the Orioles only have the budget to sign one player, would you rather the Orioles sign Justin Duchscherer or Vladimir Guerrero before spring training? (By the way, for the rest of this post I am going to just call Duchscherer “JD”, I don’t feel like spelling out his entire last name every time.)

It is conceivable this is a dilemma for Andy MacPhail and the Orioles, seeing as they are supposedly at their budget for 2011. Should the Orioles spend the money on a talented but injury prone starter or an aging slugger whose price has dropped so much so that the Orioles may be able to sign him for less than they signed Garret Atkins last off season? It pretty much comes down to whether or not you go for more starting pitching depth or another power bat in the lineup.

Both players are in line for one year deals, so either way the Orioles wouldn’t be risking too much. However, both JD and Vlad have their potential drawbacks. JD is a very talented pitcher who has shown he can be very successful when healthy. He just is never healthy and he is trying to come back from hip surgery. The last two seasons combined JD has made just 5 starts! He worked out for the Orioles and an unnamed team on Friday and was reportedly throwing in the mid 80’s. Maybe it is just me, but I don’t think the mid 80’s will cut it come the start of the season.

Vlad had a great season with the Rangers in 2010 hitting .300 with 29 home runs and 115 RBI’s. That definitely would be a great addition to the Orioles lineup. Vlad also had just 60 strikeouts last season, which would counteract all of Mark Reynolds strikeouts in the middle of the lineup. However, Vlad is at that point in his career where players usually start to drop off statistically and I have a bad feeling he is due for that first really bad season where we start to see his play really drop off.

On paper, I think the Orioles would have to go with Vlad. He would immediately make the rest of the Orioles hitters better and make their lineup much better on presence alone. However, the Orioles really could use another starting pitcher to compete for a spot in the rotation. Even those who want to see the Orioles young starters battle it out in spring training have to realize that injuries are going to happen and the Orioles need as many options as they can get. Signing JD would give the Orioles 8 starters who can battle for 5 rotation spots (I’m including Rich Vanden Hurk). That would leave the Orioles with some wiggle room if any of their young starters struggle or their are injuries.

Based on performance and track record I think most fans would rather the Orioles sign Vlad, but I have a gut feeling about JD. Maybe it is the meatballs I ate last night, but I think JD will stay healthy most of the season and end up being a great pick up for a team. So, I would rather the Orioles sign Justin Duchscherer. Who would you rather the Orioles sign?