The Orioles have taken a step toward adding a significant bat to their lineup, making an offer to designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, MLB.com confirmed on Thursday.
The amount and terms of the offer have varied from $2 million to $5 million, although FoxSports.com, which first reported the offer, estimated that the deal was in the low $3 million range.
ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted on Friday that Guerrero and the Orioles were making progress in their talks for a 2011 contract. Olney went on in a subsequent tweet to say Baltimore was also being told that Guerrero has an $8 million offer, which is about $3.5 million (including incentives) more than the O's range.
A source close to the Orioles said the team's situation hasn't changed since Thursday and those in the organization -- who feel they are the only team in on the bidding -- still aren't overly optimistic they will land the slugger.
One source said it would be shocking if the situation changed drastically enough that there was an announcement of an agreement between the two sides soon.
At one point this offseason, Guerrero requested a two-year deal worth $16 million before dropping his price to one year and $8 million. The O's had a lower figure in mind, and multiple media outlets have reported that the veteran is not pleased with Baltimore's offer, which a Major League source told MLB.com was a far "more reasonable" figure.
While last week's report that the Orioles had reached a deal with Guerrero proved to be inaccurate, the team did reignite talks with the veteran slugger. Guerrero, who has turned down the chance to come to Baltimore before, could agree to terms at any time, but the organization isn't overly optimistic he will accept a bargain deal. Monetary factors aside, the O's are also unsure how much Guerrero still has left in the tank and whether playing for another one-year deal will be enough motivation.
At this point, Guerrero's options are likely somewhat limited. The Rangers had also reportedly expressed interest earlier in the process, but after the acquisition of Mike Napoli on Tuesday, it seems playing time would be a major hurdle. The Angels and Blue Jays have also been reported to have some interest in signing Guerrero. It isn't known if any other teams have extended offers to Guerrero at this point.
If he signs with the Orioles, Guerrero's arrival would likely mean that Luke Scott would move to left field. That scenario could also raise questions about the roles of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold. A trade involving any of those three players could be a possibility or Reimold -- who has an option left and is coming off a disappointing season -- could start off in Triple-A.
The 35-year-old Guerrero posted a .300 average, with 29 homers and 115 RBIs last season with Texas. It's worth nothing, though, that Guerrero's production tailed off in the second half, as he hit just .278 with nine homers after the All-Star break.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.