Monday, September 9, 2013

Report: Dodgers close to signing Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero

After weeks of speculation, it looks like the Alexander Guerrero sweepstakes is nearing an end.

Word broke this morning of the Office of Foreign Assets Control clearing the 26-year-old Cuban infielder, making him a free agent. Shortly after, the Dodgers -- who have been the favorites all along -- are close to signing him to a 5- or 7-year deal in the neighborhood of $32 million, Jesse Sanchez of reported. That's the amount that was reported in mid-July.

The Dodgers' main competition for Guerrero have been the Minnesota Twins. It looks like the Dodgers are going to win out, though.

Guerrero profiles as a second baseman in the majors, even though he played shortstop while in Cuba. There's an outside shot could play third base, but an offensive-minded second baseman appears to be his calling.

This is from my first post about the Dodgers agreeing to terms with the middle infielder:
"Guerrero has posted some impressive numbers in Cuba the last few years:

  • 2009: .338/.408/.641
  • 2010: .343/.414/.583
  • 2011: .310/.400/.599
He also averaged 20 home runs per season in those seasons (886 at-bats). Hat tip to Chad Moriyama on the statistics.
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."
This is my own speculation, but I don't think he'll play in the majors in 2013. He's not eligible for the postseason because he wasn't in the organization before Aug. 31, so there's no added playoff benefit. What's more likely is he'll play winter ball and be penciled in as the Dodgers' starting second baseman come 2014. There's no way they're going to give him $30-plus million to have him be a utility infielder.

Here are a couple videos of Guerrero:

Seeing as the Dodgers have a severe lack of middle infielders in the upper levels of the minors, this is a fantastic signing. If he's a .270/.340/.420 guy in the majors, he'll be well worth the money. I'm expecting better numbers than that, though. I'm a big believer in his bat.

Graphic credit: CIA World Factbook

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