Alexander Guerrero Rumors
A number of notable clubs entered Spring Training looking for clear answers at second base, and other teams could face looming questions at the position. Here's a roundup of items about the keystone...
- Multiple talent evaluators tell ESPN's Jim Bowden that Alexander Guerrero needs a lot of time at Triple-A in order to both learn second base and simply to regain his form after not playing last season. In the Insider-only piece, Bowden looks at internal and external second base answers the Dodgers could explore to solidify themselves at the position.
- Early word on Guerrero hasn't been too positive, as one evaluator tells ESPN's Buster Olney (another Insider-only piece) that the Dodgers "could get him through outright waivers right now if they need a roster spot." Olney speculates that the Nationals could generate some interest in Danny Espinosa given the number of teams (including the Dodgers and Yankees) looking for second base help, though Washington wouldn't want to accept a sell-low offer for Espinosa given his poor 2013 season.
- The Royals are lacking in middle infield depth behind Omar Infante and Alcides Escobar, as Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star notes may not have the 25-man roster space for a backup infielder. Since Ned Yost plans to carry 12 pitchers, that leaves only four bench spots for Justin Maxwell, Jarrod Dyson, Danny Valencia and the backup catcher. Christian Colon, Pedro Ciriaco and Johnny Giavotella are currently fighting for a roster spot in camp and the team will have Valencia and Mike Moustakas work out at second in case they need to be emergency options. “It’s not ideal not to have a backup middle infielder on the team,” GM Dayton Moore said. “However, I do anticipate Infante and Escobar in the lineup most days.”
- Marco Scutaro is only beginning to take grounders and has yet to swing a bat, CSNBayArea.com's Andrew Baggarly reports. The veteran infielder is purposely taking a slow start to Spring Training in order to keep himself healthy and free of hip problems, and Giants GM Brian Sabean admits that the team probably should've shut Scutaro down last year when he was battling multiple nagging injuries. Despite Scutaro's issues, Sabean is confident he'll be ready for Opening Day though he only said "we'll see" when asked if he was comfortable with the team's second base depth.
MLB.com's Corey Brock brought readers into the dugout for some game action in an interesting read today. Receiving permission to camp out with the Padres during their game Thursday, Brock observed a number of inside snippets. For instance, infielder Stephen Carmon, who came over from minor league camp as depth and did not play, enjoyed a peaceful afternoon chatting with some veterans and sampling the wide variety of sunflower seed flavors made available.
Here are a few notes from around baseball:
- In another great story out of the NL West, Alex Pavloic of the San Jose Mercury News tells how 31-year-old Mark Minicozzi took an improbable path -- around the world, through multiple injuries, and over multiple years -- to rejoining the Giants. He left the organization after 2007, only to come back in 2012. Last year, he homered in his first Spring Training at-bat with the big club after coming over from the minor-league side for a road trip. This year, he earned his first non-roster invitation, and had his first ever start today. In his first trip to the plate, he swatted another long ball. Though Minicozzi still has many obstacles to overcome to reach a regular-season MLB game, his tale is testament to the power of perseverance and positive thinking.
- The second base position for the Dodgers is now a "full-blown tryout camp," reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Major offseason acquisition Alex Guerrero continues to try to learn second while adapting to the pace of the big league game, and Gurnick says it seems as if he'll start off in Triple-A. Though Dee Gordon is the other player that the team would like to see emerge, he too has not separated himself from a pack that includes Brendan Harris, Chone Figgins, Justin Turner, and Miguel Rojas.
- Infielder Jack Hannahan has not yet appeared in full spring action for the Reds because he underwent offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum, reports MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. Hannahan struggled mightily last year, but was apparently playing through the injury the entire time. The 33-year-old is in the final guaranteed year of a two-year, $4MM deal that comes with a $4MM club option for next season.
With the trade that sent Andrew Cashner to the Padres and Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs now over two years distant, R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus takes a look at its background and how it has played out to date. While both players have proven that their talent plays at the big league level, each still comes with questions. Nevertheless, the trade appears to have been quite an equal swap at this point, he opines.
Here's more from the National League:
- The Mets hesitation with respect to shortstop Stephen Drew relates to the team's valuations of him and internal option Ruben Tejada, reports MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. "At the numbers he's looking for," a source told DiComo, "we don't think he's worth it compared to what we have." At this point, a trade of Ike Davis is a more likely outcome than the signing of Drew, says DiComo.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said today that a platoon was possible at second base, a prospect that Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times questions. Both Alexander Guerrero and Dee Gordon -- the two likely platoon options -- are converting from shortstop, and each brings lots of uncertainty to the table. Guerrero, the club's most expensive offseason acquisition, has reportedly had some struggles moving to the other side of the bag, but putting his right-handed bat in a platoon role would significantly limit his plate appearances.
- In spite of a resoundingly successful 2013 campaign, Pirates GM Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle will both go into the season without a contractual assurance that they'll be around for another. As Rob Biertempfel of the PIttsburgh Tribune-Review reports, Owner Bob Nutting said today that extensions for the two are not a major priority, though he indicated that he'd be amenable to talks at the right time. "What they've done for the organization in good and bad times really is tremendous," said Nutting, "and I hope they're with the organization for a long time. My expectation is they're going to be critically important pieces of this organization as we go forward."
- Nutting also indicated that the Pirates would still consider giving up a draft pick to sign a free agent, Biertempfel further reports. "Certainly nothing is off the table," he said. "But at the same time, we need to recognize that a first-round draft pick is a meaningful source of talent for a team like the Pirates. We want to be smart and cautious." The Bucs have spoken with first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales, Biertempfel notes, though the extent of the team's interest remains unknown.
For the latest on negotiations between MLB and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball on the posting fee arrangement -- which has major implications, in particular, for highly-regarded starter Masahiro Tanaka -- check out this update from Ben Badler of Baseball America. We'll round out the evening with a variety of links from around the National League:
- Alexander Guerrero is dealing with a hamstring injury in his Dominican Winter League stint, tweets Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, and GM Ned Colletti indicated that the missed time could postpone the Dodgers' decision as to whether he'll play short or second next year. That decision -- or, potentially, the inability to make it -- could seemingly have an impact on Los Angeles' off-season shopping list.
- The Diamondbacks are down on the free agent market, reports MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. "I've spoken a little to our own free agents," said GM Kevin Towers. "But from the looks of where this free agent market is right now and where it's headed, it's not a place where I want to do a lot of business." Gilbert notes that the club has made an offer to infielder Eric Chavez, but that he is still mulling interest from other landing spots.
- The Rockies are implementing a new player development structure, reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com. In lieu of roving instructors, the standard in baseball, Colorado will employ "developmental directors" who will each be responsible for a given team and look to prioritize skill development rather than minor league game outcomes.
- Discussing the club's recent signing of Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak explained that a thin shortstop market left Peralta as the best fit for the club. While he said the club considered his PED suspension, he opined that "I don't think it's the Cardinals' responsibility necessarily to be the morality police on potentially future employment." As Peralta admitted his violation of the league's policy and paid his penance, said Mozeliak, "at this point in the game, there's nothing that says he can't go play or isn't free to go sign with another club."
- Mozeliak also said that the club looked around at possible trades, but found the cost prohibitive, tweets Stan McNeal of FOX Sports Midwest.
- In a well-argued set of responses to fan questions, Adam Kilgore and James Wagner of the Washington Post took stock of a wide range of issues facing the Nationals. Among the thoughts offered relate to the second base position. The Nats are well-situated to add Robinson Cano, says Kilgore, and the move makes some sense. But Kilgore explains that such a scenario remains largely unlikely. Meanwhile, fallen keystoner Danny Espinosa has relatively minimal trade value, Wagner offers. His value to the organization, in terms of upside and as a competitor/backup option to Anthony Rendon, probably outweighs what he'd return.
- The Marlins are mulling over a minor league offer to infielder Scott Sizemore, reports Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel. Certainly, Miami would figure to have the inside track on players looking for a legitimate chance to see big league time at second or third.
- Miami has not only lured "superscout" Jeff McAvoy away from the Rays, but sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that the club will add Mike Berger from the Diamondbacks in a vice president role (Twitter links). This makes for a quiet but outstanding off-season, opines Passan, who notes that the organization could look quite different if owner Jeffrey Loria gives new GM Dan Jennings more authority than was afforded predecessor Larry Beinfest.
WEDNESDAY, 7:20pm: The Dodgers confirmed the signing via press release.
TUESDAY, 1:15pm: Guerrero will indeed be a free agent following the conclusion of his contract and won't be eligible for arbitration, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. Hernandez adds that the contract contains a clause that prevents the Dodgers from sending Guerrero to the minor leagues without his consent after the first year of the contract (Twitter links).
10:48am: The Dodgers have agreed to terms with Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero on a four-year, $28MM contract that could reach $32MM via incentives, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez (on Twitter).
Early reports that pegged the Dodgers and Guerrero agreeing to a seven-year, $32MM pact proved to be premature. More recently, it was reported that he was nearing a five-year, $32MM contract with the Dodgers after switching over to agent Scott Boras, but bidding was said to be "wide open" once again shortly thereafter.
By talking the Dodgers down to four years at a similar (and potentially identical) guarantee, Boras has managed to commit only his client's age-27 through age-30 seasons. Guerrero, who will turn 27 this December, will be able to hit the open market entering his age-31 season, which should allow him to sign another strong contract if he is able to live up to his potential.
Guerrero batted .290/.402/.576 with 21 home runs in 328 plate appearances in his final season in Cuba's Serie Nacional. That line, along with the .316/.406/.586 that he slashed from 2010-12 in his age 23-25 seasons (h/t: Obstructed View), was enough for Boras to compare Guerrero's power to that of Dan Uggla. While that comp should be taken with a grain of salt, the bar is set pretty low for Guerrero in the Majors, at least among his new peers; Major League second basemen slugged just .376 this year as a group. It should also be noted that Ben Badler of Baseball America did call right-handed power Guerrero's best tool in his late July scouting report (BA subscription required and recommended).
Guerrero also drew interest from the Giants, Rangers, Red Sox, Twins and Reds, but ultimately wound up signing with the first team to which he was connected. With this agreement, the Dodgers seem to have taken themselves out of the running for Robinson Cano, though they could conceivably move Hanley Ramirez to third base and play Guerrero at shortstop. That seems unlikely, as it has long been rumored that the team has no intentions of pursuing Cano on the free agent market, and partial owner Magic Johnson controversially confirmed that thinking to reporters earlier this month. Guerrero's signing also seems to point to the fact that Mark Ellis' $5.75MM club option will be declined in favor of a $1MM buyout.
Guerrero is the second major Cuban star to sign in the past week, as the White Sox recently signed first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu to a record-setting six-year, $68MM contract.
The Dodgers thought they had a deal with Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero several weeks ago, but the pact dissolved when it was discovered that Guerrero's first representatives were not certified agents. Since then, the Dodgers have said that their previous five-year, $32MM deal was off the table, but that may have just been posturing. The Dodgers are again one of a few teams in the thick of the Guerrero talks, people familiar with the discussions tell Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Since the L.A. deal fell apart, Guerrero signed on with Scott Boras and the agent immediately opened the bidding back up to all major league clubs. Now, the 26-year-old is only seeking a four-year deal so that he can once again become a free agent at the age of 30. Many of the clubs in the mix for Guerrero are seeking a longer pact, but Heyman writes that the team willing to meet his asking price on a four-year deal will be the victor.
The Giants, Rangers, Red Sox, and Reds have also been connected to Guerrero in recent weeks. However, Reds GM Walt Jocketty said yesterday that he expects the Cuban to sign elsewhere and a Rangers source suggested to Heyman that they're not making an aggressive push for him. Heyman adds that it's possible the Cardinals will get involved with Guerrero this winter.
As the Cardinals battle to represent the National League Central in the World Series, let's have a look at St. Louis and the two other post-season qualifying members of the division.
- Left-handed reliever Randy Choate had his pick of the Cardinals and the Dodgers over this past off-season, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His manager, Mike Matheny, credits him not only for his performance on the hill but for mentoring the many excellent young arms that have cycled through the team's bullpen this year.
- Starting for the Cards this evening was Adam Wainwright, who has been as important as any player to the team's recent successes. As MLB.com's Steve Gilbert writes, the deal that brought him to St. Louis about a decade ago could not have turned out any better for team or player.
- Walt Jocketty, the GM who pulled the trigger on that trade, is currently at the helm of the rival Reds. Jocketty tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he is unlikely to bring aboard Cuban middle infielder Alexander Guerrero, who the club was rumored to be in on. "We scouted him extensively and had a lot of discussions," said Jocketty. "But I don't believe anything will happen."
- Top Pirates prospect Jameson Taillon has been shut down after suffering a groin injury in his first outing in the Arizona Fall League, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The injury itself doesn't seem to be significant, however, and it seems unlikely to have a significant impact on the club's plans for 2014. With Taillon now unable to add additional innings to his arm, he will have a base of less than 150 to work from next season. Of course, that is about the level that Gerrit Cole had to build off of this year. Taillon also will miss the chance to develop against AFL talent, but he has already advanced to the upper minors and should get more time there to start the season.
Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero is back on the free agent market after his engagement with the Dodgers was called off in September. Now, the Scott Boras client is seeking a four-year deal from interested MLB teams. However, some of the clubs that are in on Guerrero are pushing for a longer pact.
Heyman cites the Dodgers, Giants, Rangers, Red Sox, and Reds as clubs with interest in the 26-year-old. Guerrero and Los Angeles were closing in on a five-year, $32MM deal last month but the deal fell apart for reasons that are still unknown. The 86ing of the near-agreement also coincided with a change in representation as Guerrero left his former agent for Boras.
Guerrero played mostly shortstop in Cuba's Serie Nacional, but most scouts expect him to move to the other side of the bag for defensive purposes. He slashed .290/.402/.576 with 21 home runs in 328 plate appearances in his final season in Cuba. According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Guerrero doesn't figure to be a premium talent, but he does offer impressive raw right-handed power.
Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero could sign with a major league team soon, agent Scott Boras tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Boras doesn't expect things to take long with the 26-year-old since the teams that have looked into him are already quite familiar with what he can offer.
“The Dodgers had him work out at their complex five or six times,” Boras said. “There are four or five other teams that have seen him five or six times.”
Guerrero appeared to be close to a five-year, $32MM deal with the Dodgers earlier this month but things dissolved quickly due to reasons that are still unknown. Soon after, the infielder signed on with the Boras Corporation and opened things up to all 30 major league teams. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports heard that the Dodgers are reportedly no longer interested in paying Guerrero $32MM and might not pursue him at all, but Boras told Hernandez that Dodgers international scouting chief Bob Engle visited his client in the Dominican Republic last week.
Boras compared his client's power at the second base position to Dan Uggla and likened his MLB readiness to fellow client Hyun-Jin Ryu.
“There are just a couple of major league middle infielders in the free-agent market that have 10-home-run power, let alone 20-home-run power, which I think he has,” Boras said. “He’s a valued asset in the free-agent market.”
A look at the latest on the international front...
- The Marlins made a bid for Cuban shortstop Alexander Guerrero prior to the 26-year-old's decision to hire Scott Boras as his new agent but were told that the bid wasn't competitive, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel. The Marlins are no longer in the mix for Guerrero but still have interest in fellow Cuban Jose Dariel Abreu. However, the slugging first baseman would require an even larger commitment than Guerrero. Abreu is said to be looking for a larger guarantee than Yasiel Puig's seven-year, $42MM commitment from the Dodgers.
- The Twins have signed 16-year-old Dominican prospect Alexander Vargas, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Terms of the deal are not known for the right-hander, who stands at 6-foot-3 and boasts a fastball in the low 90s, a curveball, and a changeup. In addition to the La Academia product, Minnesota has also inked Dominican outfielder/first baseman Lewin Diaz for $1.4MM and Dominican third baseman Roni Tapia for $550K during this signing period.