The clamors for Alexander Guerrero have been massive. Everybody has yelled since the Barney callup that they’d rather see Alexander Guerrero and his bat play in Los Angeles. You know Alexander Guerrero probably for a few reasons, he’s Cuban, he is making a hefty amount of money, he was Dee Gordon‘s main competition before Dee thankfully won the 2nd base job, and he’s the dude that got his ear bitten off.
And with Hanley Ramirez hurt, and potentially walking at the end of the season, we read “Alexander Guerrero played numerous seasons for the Cuban national team as their shortstop” and it’s automatically a huge plus. “Hey, the Cubans know how to play baseball pretty well, this guy was their choice for awhile, he must know how to play shortstop no matter what people say”.
Well… Not exactly.
Lets first talk about the situation, Darwin Barney/Miguel Rojas are going to share the job initially mainly because of defense. Remember, defense is pretty much the reason why Matt Kemp is in right field, defense is the reason Carl Crawford is getting the starts in left field, defense is the reason that Yasiel Puig is playing center field, Dee Gordon at second base, etc, etc. There were huge concerns coming into the season that have subsided. So defense is a point of emphasis for this club, and rightfully so, defense is very important, a run saved is as good as a run scored (don’t ask why Justin Turner is starting at SS tonight, please, just don’t) so why not optimize that, we know the Dodgers have a good offensive club, and it seems like the Dodgers have been better ever since they tried to emphasize defense.
However, this club, like so many other other teams around baseball, likes offense too, and in terms of the development of it’s own prospects, it seems to me that the Dodgers are willing to give potential shortstops to play that position as long as they can until they prove they aren’t shortstops.
I mean we’re talking about a club who’s letting Corey Seager figure it out at SS until he can’t, even though everyone knows that Seager isn’t a shortstop long term. This is the same club who converted Darnell Sweeney earlier in the year from a second baseman back to a shortstop, and it only took a putrid stretch of defense to convince them that he wasn’t one. These are two players who aren’t really shortstops yet are still playing there because OFFENSE.
Offense from the shortstop position is very hard to find, there are only 9 shortstops in the league who are even average hitters, it’s why Hanley Ramirez has been worth so much even with the perceived lack of defense.
So even after all this, Guerrero isn’t playing SS. Maybe, just maybe, when the same organization who continues to play a healthy Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, who found Yasiel Puig, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Corey Seager, Grant Holmes and Julio Urias, etc, etc, decides “hey, this Alexander Guerrero guy, he’s better suited to play 2b/3b/LF, and not shortstop”, we should probably give them the benefit of the doubt and believe them.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) August 10, 2014
Case in point.