BOSTON – The Los Angeles Dodgers, who turned their re-entry into the international free-agent market into a deep postseason run, have reached a contract agreement with Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero, sources said Monday.
A shortstop in Cuba who is expected to play second base in the major leagues, Guerrero's deal is for $28 million over four years.
Cuban defector Yasiel Puig signed with the Dodgers for $42 million over seven years in June 2012. Six months later, the club signed Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu for $36 million over six years.
The flamboyant, five-tooled Puig batted .319 and hit 19 home runs in 104 games. Ryu won 14 games and had a 3.00 ERA over 30 starts. Both played key roles on a club that won the NL West for the first time since 2009 and played to the brink of the World Series.
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Guerrero, who will be 27 in December, defected from Cuba last winter. One of the better players in the country's highest league and on its national team, Guerrero, a right-handed hitter, hit for power and average. After being left off Cuba's World Baseball Classic roster, he turned up in the Dominican Republic and in September was cleared to sign with a U.S. team.
The San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers also reportedly showed interest in Guerrero, as Cuban players – Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes and Puig, among others – have shown an ability to contribute quickly in the big leagues.
The Dodgers hold a $5.75-million option on Mark Ellis, the steady, incumbent second baseman who batted .270 with six home runs and 48 RBI in 2013.
Some speculation had the Dodgers bidding on prospective free agent Robinson Cano, who could command more than $200 million in a multi-year deal. The Guerrero signing, which was first reported by MLB.com, would seem to cover them at second base, however.