The Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to terms with free agent infielder Alexander Guerrero of Cuba, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com. The four-year contract has a base value of $28 million and could be worth as much as $32 million for Guerrero, a 26-year-old infielder whose arrival at Chavez Ravine probably precludes the Dodgers from going after Robinson Cano in free agency this offseason.
Cleared in September to sign with major league teams, Guerrero and the Dodgers were said to being close to a deal twice, but could not agree. Guerrero fired his previous agents and went with Scott Boras in mid-September. A key part of the deal is that Guerrero becomes a free agent when it's over.
Boras used to represent Cano, too, before he switched to Jay Z. It's a funny ... coincidence that Guerrero's signing with the Dodgers could have an impact on how much money Cano makes on his upcoming deal.
The Dodgers lost Game 6 of the National League Championship Series to the Cardinals on Friday, so they could put their full attention on Guerrero starting this past weekend. The Red Sox, Twins and Braves also were said to be interested in him. And what are the Dodgers getting? A pretty good-looking player, SB Nation writes:
[Guerrero] is known as an average infielder with raw power and strong offensive abilities. Although he has seen time at shortstop throughout his career in Cuba, many expect Guerrero to play second base if he reaches the major leagues.
In his last season in Cuba, Guerrero hit .290 with 21 HR and 51 RBI in 328 plate appearances. He also posted an on-base percentage of .402, which probably increased his value in the eyes of many major league teams.
Guerrero is the second major player from Cuba to sign this offseason. The White Sox added slugger Jose Abreu for $68 million this past week.
The process for Guerrero to sign with Major League Baseball, as one might expect given the historically complex relations between Cuba and the United States, has been drawn out. Sanchez gives some of the details:
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Guerrero is a veteran of Serie Nacional, the island's top league, and he was an All-Star in 2010 and '11 with Las Tunas. He defected from Cuba earlier this year, established residency in Haiti and has been training in the Dominican Republic. He was granted free agency by Major League Baseball in July, but not until Sept. 6 did he secure an unblocking license from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which would allow him to sign with a Major League team.
Guerrero participated in a series of showcases in July in front of scouts at the Dodgers' complex in the Dominican Republic, where Los Angeles eventually emerged as the favorite. Known for his powerful bat and speed on the bases, Guerrero felt slighted when he was left off the Cuban roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and he eventually left the island.
Guerrero might not be another Yoenis Cespedes or Yasiel Puig in terms if impact, but he does appear to make the Dodgers better at second base, where Mark Ellis has been OK. And he conceivably could give them some flexibility at shortstop in case Hanley Ramirez misses any time there in the future.
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