Neftali Ruiz of CDN first reported the deal with Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes confirming it. I couldn’t get a source to confirm the signing, though.
Guerrero, 26, defected from Cuba in January because he wasn’t included on the country’s World Baseball Classic roster. Roberto Baly wrote Guerrero left Cuba, ended up in Haiti before training in the Dominican Republic.
Listed as a shortstop, the Dodgers might see him as a second- or third baseman. Soldevila reported Guerrero will play second- or third base at either Double-A Chattanooga or Triple-A Albuquerque with the Dodgers planning to recall him to play second base in the majors. If true, that’s aggressive, unconventional and somewhat risky -- and I like it.
I’m as big a Mark Ellis fan as there is in the blogging world, but Ellis’ play has been subpar this season. His defense hasn’t been where it was in seasons past, but he’s been better of late. Still, the potential to add a potential offensive force at second is tempting and intriguing.
Guerrero has posted some impressive numbers in Cuba the last few years:
- 2009: .338/.408/.641
- 2010: .343/.414/.583
- 2011: .310/.400/.599
Despite the big power numbers, he stands about 5’10, 190 to 200 pounds. He didn’t play at all in 2012 before defecting.
We all know what happened last time the Dodgers signed a Cuban who hadn’t played in roughly 18 months -- Yasiel Puig. I’m not saying Guerrero is the next Puig (because that would be extremely foolish), but the Dodgers obviously saw enough out of Guerrero to give him a Puig-esque deal. This is Vice President of International Scouting Bob Engle’s first big-money Latin American signing.
Here's some video of the soon-to-be-Dodger.
It remains to be seen if Guerrero actually signed and if he’ll pan out. I don’t think the Dodgers move Hanley Ramirez off shortstop next year, so it seems Guerrero’s best bet to stick in the majors is at second- or third base. Either way, they’re positions at which the Dodgers could use help. Juan Uribe is a free agent after the season and Ellis has a team option that will almost assuredly be declined.
The Isotopes are up my way next week. If Guerrero signs and is sent to Albuquerque, you can bet I’ll be out there to see him. This potential signing also means the Dodgers probably won’t acquire an infielder of significance before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Graphic credit: CIA World Factbook