FRIDAY: Infielder/outfielder Alex Guerrero is nearing a contract with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, according to Sanspo (link in Japanese; h/t J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group).
Last we heard from Guerrero, he was hitting the open market after being released by the Dodgers over the summer. He never caught on with another major league organization during the season, though presumably he at least would have made for an interesting minor-league signing this winter.
Instead, the Cuban now seems likely to head to Japan. He just reached thirty years of age, so he is still reasonably youthful. But the recent returns have not been promising.
Guerrero missed much of the 2016 season with a knee injury, and was dreadful during his rehab assignment. That made it an easy call for Los Angeles to cut him loose, even though that meant giving up on a player who was still under contract for 2017 (at a $5MM salary). The Dodgers will presumably be able to save a bit of that, depending on what Guerrero will receive in Japan, though most of the cash will remain on the books.
All said, the Dodgers didn’t make out very ell on their $28MM investment. While Guerrero wrecked Triple-A pitching, putting up a .323/.357/.598 slash in 266 plate appearances there, he never maintained success in the majors. There were flashes of promise, and some intriguing pop, but he ultimately posted a .224/.251/.414 slash in 243 trips to the plate at the game’s highest level.
That slugging potential surely would’ve warranted more of an opportunity if it weren’t for the fact that Guerrero never seemed to fit in defensively. Billed as a middle infielder upon his signing, Guerrero played third base and left field during his brief time in the majors, though presumably he could again at least be an option at second.