Alexander Guerrero made headlines Monday morning for the first time in about six weeks, which is impressive considering 1, he hasn’t played any baseball in the meantime and 2, he hasn’t signed a contract yet. The latest news is that the Cuban second baseman has finally been cleared to sign with any MLB team.
The Dodgers reportedly signed Guerrero in July — a report that was denied by Guerrero’s agent — only to be called the front-runner to sign him today. That elicited elation in some corners, temperance in others.
Two evaluators familiar with Guerrero from Cuba suggested back in July that his value has been inflated by that of fellow Cubans Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes. Guerrero isn’t in their league as a hitter, or that of first baseman Jose Abreu, who also recently defected and will play somewhere in MLB next season. One person I spoke with suggested that Guerrero would need time at Triple-A first.
While recent history suggests that the Dodgers can win a bidding war for Guerrero, would they want to? Two things to recall since that first report came out in July:
1. The Dodgers reportedly tried trading for Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick. Talks fell through at the July 31 deadline and Kendrick injured his knee, making him an unattractive piece for the Dodgers’ playoff push. But if the framework for a deal was solid enough to revisit talks with the Angels this winter, maybe the Dodgers have turned away from Guerrero. Just speculation there.
2. Perhaps just as important, the minor-league regular season is over. No team can stash Guerrero in Triple-A for a stretch and see how he performs before adding him to the major-league roster. Do the Dodgers consider time in the minors necessary for Guerrero, or just a nice bonus? Would they really throw Guerrero on the expanded major-league roster now, in the middle of the playoff hunt? If not, would Guerrero be willing to wait until next season to play in the majors?
Some more bullet points for California’s 163rd birthday:
• Part of Puig’s evolution: He’s seeing more pitches.
• Trivia question: Who is the only pitcher in major-league history to win at least 15 games for four different teams?
• FanGraphs.com gives the Dodgers a 10.8 percent chance of winning the World Series.
• It’s easy to get bogged down in advanced metrics when evaluating Zack Greinke‘s offensive ability as a pitcher. But it’s an important discussion, as Beyond the Box Score puts it, because “Greinke could be having the best offensive season by a pitcher since the leagues started playing each other, but he is also having the 180th best offensive season by WAR in baseball this year among 919 players to register a (plate appearance).”
• It’s the 25th anniversary of “Eight Men Out.” Read more than you ever cared to know about the movie.
• Trivia answer: Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon, who joined the one-man club Sunday.
• Click through to YouTube to watch this video for Hiatus Kaiyote’s “Nakamarra” in full-screen mode. Then read the description of how the video was made. You won’t regret it: