The Dodgers had a “big crew” on hand today for a showcase in the Dominican Republic where second baseman Jose Miguel Fernandez and outfielder Lazaro Armenteros auditioned for teams, tweets Ben Badler of Baseball America. The Dodgers, of course, have been the most prominent presence on the international market during the current signing period. If there’s any genuine interest in “Lazarito,” they’d need to get a deal with him completed prior to June 15, as that date signals the end of the current international signing period, and the Dodgers won’t be allowed to sign a player for more than $300K in the 2016-17 period (which begins on July 2) due to their lavish expenditures over the past 10 months. Fernandez, however, is exempt from bonus pools and, as such, can sign for any amount. Both players have been prominently linked to the division-rival Padres in recent months, with Badler reporting in early March that San Diego was the favorite to sign Lazarito. It should be noted as well, though, that Badler also downplayed the 16-year-old’s upside, writing that he’s been the beneficiary of “extreme sensationalism” in some media reports. As of that writing, Badler rated Armenteros 11th among Cuban prospects available to MLB clubs.
A few more notes on the Dodgers…
- While many Dodgers fans are wondering when Julio Urias will arrive on the scene, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times writes that Urias’ agent, Scott Boras, is surprisingly supportive of the Dodgers’ decision not to rush him to the Majors. Boras says that he is “aligned” with the Dodgers in terms of Urias’ timeline. “We understand we have a great young talent,” said Boras. Hernandez writes that the plan for Urias is to only see a “modest” increase from his career-high of 87 1/3 innings this season. Hernandez opines that rather than rush Urias to the big league bullpen, the Dodgers would be better served to allow him to continue to develop as a starter, with an eye towards next year’s rotation. Never one to pass up the opportunity to make some form of statement, Boras used Urias as an example of why the upcoming wave of CBA negotiations should result in rosters expanding to 26 players. “You ideally want to bring a guy to the big leagues and have him throw 120, 130 or 140 innings, but then you have to make up 50 or 60 innings,” he said. “Having that extra pitcher throughout that whole year would allow them to do that.”
- Outfielder Scott Van Slyke, who has appeared in just four games with the Dodgers this season due to a lower back injury, could return to the team by June 3-4, manager Dave Roberts told reporters (via MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg). In the meantime, the Dodgers plan to continue carrying an extra reliever and going with a short, four-man bench. As Roberts explained, maintaining “flexibility of different guys in the ’pen is more of a priority” than having an additional bat off the bench at this time.
- Infielder/outfielder Alex Guerrero is currently on a minor league rehab assignment, and he told J.P. Hoornstra of the L.A. Daily News last week that he thinks he can help the Dodgers at the big league level once healthy. That type of talk is expected from most players, but it’s particularly notable in the case of Guerrero, who has a clause in his contract that allows him to refuse to be optioned to the minors. Guerrero entered tonight’s contest hitting just .152/.188/.239 on said rehab assignment (he did pick up his first hit with the team’s Double-A affiliate tonight), and he’ll give the Dodgers’ front office a decision when his rehab window is up. Guerrero has a $5MM salary this season (the $10MM signing bonus on his $28MM contract was reportedly paid up front) and will earn the same in 2017, though a clause in his deal allows him to become a free agent at the end of a season in which he’s traded. The 29-year-old has been a disappointment thus far in the contract, hitting just .224/.251/.414 in 243 plate appearances while displaying questionable defensive skills.