Over the winter, Vladimir Guerrero and Adrian Beltre were pretty much available to any team who wanted them, but for what we all thought to be good reasons, there weren't all that many takers. With both players now contributing mightily for teams making a push for the playoffs, plenty of teams are kicking themselves.
That's partly due to their numbers — Guerrero is batting .298 with 21 homers, while Beltre is hitting .330 with 22 homers — and partly due to how cheap they went. Both signed one-year deals with options for the second, with Guerrero making $6.75 million and Beltre making $10 million this year. Both players' output has far exceeded just about everyone's expectations, but who's had the bigger comeback?
Guerrero, 35, appeared to be cooked last year, when he hit 15 home runs and was limited to just 100 games for the Angels. The days of the lanky slugger swinging at everything from his eyebrows to his shoelaces and putting 30 of them over the fences looked to be over. So, too, were the chances of landing anything close to his five-year, $70 million deal.
Similarly, Beltre's 48-home run campaign in 2004 seemed to officially be deemed a fluke, as he hit just eight homers and batted .265 in 111 games for the Mariners in the final year of his five-year, $64 million contract.
As both have been proving through the first five months of the season, there is still plenty of pop left in those bats.
Both are guaranteed to be candidates for the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award, but with both players taking their cuts against each other this weekend, it's worth asking: Who's had a bigger comeback season?
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