Reports out of the Dominican Republic on Tuesday stated that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero had agreed in principle on a seven-year, $32 million contract, via Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes.
But after speaking with Guerrero’s agent, Rudy Santin, later that day, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez learned that there was actually no deal in place with the Dodgers, though they are one of three teams said to be interested in the 26-year-old.
Agent for #Cuba SS Alexander Guerrero: “Nothing finalized. No agreement in hand with anyone. No truth to any of that.” Three teams in mix.— Jesse Sanchez (@JesseSanchezMLB) July 23, 2013
Sanchez also noted that Guerrero is yet to be unblocked by the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which means he’s not free to sign with a Major League team. However, in anticipation of his clearance by the OFAC, Guerrero has scheduled a showcase Wednesday in the Dominican Republic and is expected to play in a game the following day.
Here’s what we know about Guerrero.
Guerrero began his professional career in 2005, joining Las Tunas of Cuba’s Serie Nacional as an 18-year-old. However, he didn’t emerge as one of the league’s premier players until the 2009 season when he batted .338/.408/641 with 24 doubles, 19 home runs and 30/32 K/BB in 314 plate appearances.
He continued to put up monster numbers over the next two years and made the league’s All-Star team on both occasions. But his eight-year career with Las Tunas came to an unexpected end following the 2012 season, as Guerrero opted to sit out last year—openly stating (h/t Matthew Pouliot of HardballTalk) that he lacked the motivation to play after not being chosen for Cuba’s World Baseball Classic team.
After defecting from Cuba in January, Guerrero has spent the last six months training in the Dominican Republic.
Offense: Physically strong, right-handed hitter at 5’10”, 205 pounds; employs a crouched stance with a wide base and starts with hands at eye level; toe-tap load allows him to utilize strong lower half; quiet stride; hits off a firm front side; above-average-to-plus bat speed thanks to strong wrists and forearms; easy, raw pop, especially to the pull side; gets the barrel to the ball and generates impressive extension after contact; tendency to wrap his bat and dip on the backside at times; has quick feet and moves well but won’t be a base stealer.
Defense: Average athleticism; still moves well despite thicker lower half; may lose a step as he ages; versatile and instinctual defender with quick hands and flashy glove; fast transfer and release; decent body control; actions are too stiff for clean projection at shortstop; average range and arm strength suggests a future at second base.
Once he’s officially cleared to sign, Guerrero will likely command something similar to the $32 million contract that was inaccurately reported Tuesday. However, given his age, I wouldn’t be surprised if the deal is for either four or five years rather than seven.