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As the Vlady turns; don't look for his autograph at FanFest

The Orioles have not moved any closer to getting designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, so the hopes of seeing him jump from behind a curtain at FanFest on Saturday wearing "Baltimore" across his chest can be dashed. It's not going to happen. Sorry.

Here's what we know on the Guerrero front. His agent and the Orioles talked this week, as The Baltimore Sun reported Wednesday. A preliminary offer was made, and it sits between $3 million and $5 million, according to an industry source.

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Fox Sports first reported the estimated offer, and ESPN Deportes came back with the assertion that the offer was $2 million and Guerrero was "not excited" about it.

My take is that the Orioles would be willing to spend about $4 million on Guerrero and the deal is available now if he wants it. I don't see them offering him $5 million; that seems to be out of their comfort zone, and they aren't getting into a bidding war for his services at this point. I also don't see Guerrero jumping at $4 million today; he'll likely shop around a little longer to make sure there is nothing else out there now that he knows his initial demands won't be met. What's another week or so?

Guerrero made $6.5 million last year (which included a $1 million buyout), and he was reportedly seeking a two-year contract worth between $16 million and $20 million when the offseason began. So a $4 million deal for a dangerous hitter like Guerrero would be a coup for the Orioles.

As it is, pretty much all the teams that really need a designated hitter have filled that hole, though the Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels might still be in play.

Guerrero is on an uncomfortable island, considering other DH types who have signed elsewhere — Adam Dunn (four years, $56 million, Chicago White Sox), Jim Thome (one year, $3 million, Minnesota Twins), Hideki Matsui (one year, $4.25 million, Oakland Athletics), Manny Ramirez (one year, $2 million, Tampa Bay Rays), Johnny Damon (one year, $5.25 million, Rays). Former Orioles castoff Jack Cust got $2.5 million from the Seattle Mariners, so you really can't expect Guerrero to get less than that.

His timetable is unknown, but a Guerrero announcement at FanFest would be among the biggest upsets in Orioles history. First, the Orioles don't make announcements until contracts are signed and a physical is completed. Given Guerrero's age and past injury history, a physical would be a certainty before a deal is official — and that would have to occur today for a Saturday announcement. And a physical hasn't been scheduled — mainly because the sides aren't close to a deal (sensing a theme?).

Fans get excited about that possibility, especially when they consider that news of Miguel Tejada's signing broke at last year's FanFest. But that was not publicly announced by the club at the time, and it was in more than just the discussion stages heading into that Saturday.

It's still possible the Orioles and Guerrero will find a happy medium. But until then, you'll just have to sift through the continual, incremental updates and the rampant speculation.

Go to mobile.baltimoresun.com to get news on your mobile device. Text BASEBALL to 70701 for Orioles text alerts.

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