Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, or if you’ve heard it multiple times before: Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com (now backed up by Jon Heyman) reports that the Dodgers have finally signed Alexander Guerrero to a four-year deal worth $28m. That includes a $10m signing bonus, according to Heyman, plus $4m in performance bonuses for a possible total of $32m, and if you’re wondering if those numbers seem lighter than expected, they are.
Back in July, when the first agreement was incorrectly reported, it was for 7/$32m. In September, it was 5/$32m, then earlier this month, we heard that Guerrero (and Scott Boras) preferred a shorter deal, so he could have his age 27-30 seasons with his new team, then reach free agency. It appears that’s what took place, so he actually improves his yearly value over what was originally reported while keeping open the option for another big contract four years from now if he’s successful.
While Heyman’s confirmation carries weight, we’ve been burned by these reports too many times, so I’m not sure I’m going to believe this until he’s standing in the box on Opening Day. Still, if it’s true — the MLB.com article says “closing in on” a deal — then it sort of puts an end to the questions from this morning about how to fill second base in 2014, as well as all but certainly closing the book on Mark Ellis.
If it’s real this time — and again, a huge if — I’m pleased, because most reports on Guerrero indicate real talent, definitely more of an upside over Ellis, and didn’t require giving up talent to get. Still, there’s a lot of unknown about him. You certainly can’t expect every Cuban to be Yasiel Puig or Yoenis Cespedes, and there are some who aren’t overly positive about him:
Guerrero’s Davenport Translation is the worst of the recent Cuban bunch: .250/.322/.480. I’d take the under on the slugging.
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) October 21, 2013
So while I’m optimistic, I’m cautiously so, and the team will need to find a pretty solid backup — preferably an upgrade on Nick Punto — who can step in if Guerrero struggles or Hanley Ramirez is injured. Still, I’d rather take the risk of the unknown than go with another year of Ellis, so consider me pleased… and still not convinced this unicorn is real.