The Dodgers seem close to finally inking a deal (reportedly a four-year $28 million contract) with 26-year old Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero according to reports. There are also performance bonuses within the contract which could increase Guerrero’s pay by $1 million per year. This contract included a $10 million signing bonus. Guerrero would become a free agent after the completion of the contract, a key difference from the original deal Guerrero and the Dodgers were considering back in September. Also, after the first year of the deal, the Dodgers would not be able to send Guerrero down to the minors without his consent.
#Dodgers agree to a four-year, $28 MM with Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero. Can earn an additional $4 MM in bonuses based on PAs.
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) October 21, 2013
When we spoke to Ned Colletti on Blogger Night last month, the general manager was quick to avoid revealing any contract negotiations surrounding the Cuban free agent, but instead said that the Dodgers were indeed still interested in Guerrero at that point.
Back in September, it was widely circulated that the Dodgers were on the verge of signing Guerrero, but the contract length was said to be a bit longer and around 5-7 years at that time. These rumors swirled just after Guerrero defected and was granted an unblocking license by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control back on September 6, 2013 which allowed him to become eligible to sign with a MLB team. Guerrero had been represented by the MVP Sports Management and Consulting Agency, but soon after signed with notorious sports agent Scott Boras.
After defecting from Cuba this year, Guerrero has been training in the Dominican
Republic. The right-hand hitting infielder’s natural position is shortstop, but he has been categorized as a potential future second baseman for the Dodgers. The 5’10″ 197-pound Guerrero has some power at the plate, and he also is quite speedy on the base paths.
Corresponding decisions loom for impending free agents Mark Ellis and Juan Uribe. Mark Ellis has a $5.75 million club option for 2014 or a $1 million buyout. Guerrero’s signing also clearly puts the kibosh on any contemplation into signing pricey free agent Robinson Cano, something the Dodgers have said they wouldn’t be considering anyhow.
Alexander Guerrero is the best scenario for the Dodgers going into the 2014 season in order to shore up the middle infield and add some power and speed to the lineup. While the $28 million deal is not something to scoff at, it certainly is a lot less financially exuberant than signing the overpriced Cano. The Dodgers have been very successful with their international free agent signings under the new ownership regime thus far, and Yasiel Puig and Hyun-jin Ryu certainly helped the Dodgers succeed in 2013 and will continue to for a long time. While Mark Ellis has been a defensive rock at second base for the Dodgers over the past two seasons, it is apparent that the Dodgers are looking to upgrade and prepare for the future. Mark Ellis could still find himself with a spot on the team, but it will most likely be Alexander Guerrero who will be the Dodgers Opening Day second baseman next March in Australia.