Monday, September 09, 2013

Welcome to the Blue, Alexander Guerrero! UPDATE (Or, Not!)


The Dodgers have gone crazy in the International Baseball player market.  They are scouting and signing players at will, and this fan cannot be more excited.

Like many of you, I had some doubts about the new owners plans.  Could they really stock the current roster with stars while at the same time investing heavily in the future?  Well, the answer to that is an emphatic Yes!  I now have no doubts about the owners' intentions.  They want to win now, and into the future.

It sure is great to be a Dodger fan, eh!

Originally announced nearly two months ago, ESPN Deportes reporter Dionisio Soldevila shared news that the Dodgers had signed another Cuban escapee - short stop Alexander Guerrero.

As we now know, that announcement was premature.  Per Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, Guerrero still needed to clear OCAF (a US Government agency) before he could officially sign with a team, so Dodger nation had to wait for confirmation.  Well, that confirmation has just come.  Via MLB Trade Reports, Guerrero was cleared over the weekend to sign with any MLB team.

Additionally, per Peter Gammons today, he has just signed with the Dodgers at around $30Mil.  Jesse Sanchez says it's a 5-year $32Mil deal, via twitter.  No one besides Gammons has provided confirmation of this signing yet, so it may just be that they've agreed in principle and not on the dotted line yet.  Although, Tony Jackson at Dodger Scribe come close to confirming it, saying:
Even though Alexander Guerrero has been cleared by U.S. officials to enter the country, there still are a bunch of legal hurdles that have to be dealt with before the Dodgers can actually finalize a signing like this because Guerrero, like Yasiel Puig, is a Cuban defector.
Nevertheless, I'll count this as a done deal.

So, what do they have in mind for his immediate future?

Well, that's not exactly clear yet.  If he signed back in July, Guerrero would have been headed to the minors for a short stint, then the Dodgers to potentially take over 2nd base this year.  With less than a month left, though, he is in a kind of limbo.  An unlikely scenario has him joining the Dodgers now by adding him to the 40-man roster and bring him to the big club as a September call-up.  If this happens and he fulfills every expectation he would not be eligible for the post-season roster.  I think it's more likely that he plays some winter ball and tries to earn a job during Spring Training.

At this point I'm sure you're wondering, who is Alexander Guerrero - besides having a last name many Dodger fans are familiar with? 

Guerrero is a 26 years old short stop who played for the Cuban national team before recently opting out of league play in 2012 after being left off Cuba’s World Baseball Classic roster.  The hard feelings eventually lead to his defection to the Dominican Republic earlier this year.  J.J. Schoch at the Bleacher Report has a nice write up on Guerrero, here.

Via Matthew Pouliot at Hardball Talk:
Guerrero has been one of Cuba’s best players the last few years, hitting .338/.408/.641 in 2009, .343/.414/.583 in 2010 and .310/.400/.599 in 2011. Between the three seasons, he delivered 60 homers in 886 at-bats. One imagines that if the reports are true and he eventually becomes a free agent, he could take over as a starting shortstop or second baseman for an MLB team in short order.
Baseball Reference adds more history:
In the 2004 World Junior Championship, Alexander was 2 for 3 as Cuba won the Gold Medal. Guerrero hit .277 and slugged .426 in his first four seasons, through 2007-2008. In 2008-2009, he batted .338/.408/.641 for Las Tunas, with 19 home runs. He tied Jose Dariel Abreu and Yenier Bello for 8th in the league in homers and ranked 7th in slugging, leading all middle infielders. He was named the All-Star shortstop.
Via Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com: A quote from Guerrero -
"I was never too involved in politics, because my thing is baseball. But there was always the thought that I couldn't be taken out of Cuba because my family was against the government and I would defect," Guerrero, 26, said. "I always had to deal with that. I had incredible years in Cuba, and I was doing things no other infielder had ever done. But I was never one of the regular ones selected for the national team. I went a couple of times, but I didn't play much and everybody was watching me closely."
Mike Petriello at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness speculated that Guerrero's future with the Dodgers might be as their 2nd baseman.  I think this sounds right. He could potentially fill those shoes next season.  Mark Ellis, who will be in an option year in 2014, get's bought out.  On the other hand, maybe he slots in at 3rd base if his arm proves worthy - scouting reports appear to indicate that this isn't likely the case.  Nevertheless, next season should be very interesting.  

In celebration of this Dodgers news I made the above fantasy card of Alexander Guerrero.  (I actually made this a couple of months ago but had to wait on unveiling it until today)  Check it out at the very top.  I used the vintage 1987 Topps card design and used a photo I grabbed from Tireball.com.

Below is a video featuring Guerrero.  He works out as his agent Rudy Santin describes his skill set as a player

Video Link:

Here is another video on Guerrero.

Video Link:

UPDATE:  This whole deal is getting annoying.  It now appears that a Guerrero signing is not in the bag - far from it.  He apaprantly wants more money and has signed up with Scott Boras to get it. 

Boras... Damn you!!

Check out this post from MLB Trade Rumors for a timeline.


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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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