Alex Guerrero Is Making The Team… Cause He Has To
Titled: “25 Man Roster Spot, I’m Ready”
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Dodgers are in a pretty good situation. They’ve got 5 spots for the bench and they get to choose from a bevy of solid names to make the bench, some are proven borderline starting MLB players like Scott Van Slyke (who’s been covered), Justin Turner (who also has been written about) and A.J. Ellis (who probably should expect some positive regression). Some are former MLB starters Darwin Barney, Andre Ethier, some are prospects looking to break out Enrique Hernandez, and then there’s Alexander Guerrero.
Stacie has done a better job than mostly any of covering Guerrero’s ascent to likely bench contributor, by filming his progress at the hot corner, to retweeting a bunch of Guerrero works, culminating in this
Which is great, considering that Guerrero came into the organization at a time where nobody could watch him play baseball (SNLA debacle). So secondhand accounts are all people could deal with in terms of evaluating Guerrero’s defense, and they’ve all been bad, him playing SS in Cuba for years probably means he’s not Michael Morse trying to rekindle his defensive prowess at SS, but he’s not impeccable either.
It’s just a matter of asking how tolerable Guerrero is at wherever he starts, and like so many have said before, he’s not here for his defense. Guerrero mashed last season, a .924 OPS in AAA is given with the obvious caveat that it was in Albuquerque, and the caveat that it was in the Pacific Coast League. The thing is, a player who hits with the scouting reports to match is more reliable than Nick Buss putting up a .888 OPS in the same league.
And the legend of Guerrero grows, he has an obscene .640 slugging percentage along with a .423 on base percentage, culminating in a 1.063 OPS. Small sample size and all, he’s looked really good and that can’t hurt his case to be included on the 25 man roster come April 6th.
But lets not read too much into spring stats. Mostly because pitchers still don’t have their strategies lined up to attack major league hitters, secondly, many pitchers don’t care about what they’re doing as long as they’re putting in the work (remember Sergio Romo abandoning his slider last Spring?) and thirdly, his average faced competition thus far has been roughly the equivalent to a AA pitcher (7.2 averaged faced competition number translates to a slightly above average AA pitcher according to baseball reference).
The reason Alex Guerrero will be on the team is 3 fold.
1. Alexander Guerrero is being paid 21 million dollars over the next 3 seasons to be on the Dodgers
2. Alexander Guerrero has stated that he will refuse an option to the minor leagues (a clause that he has in his contract gives him the option to do this)
3. Alexander Guerrero has the right to opt out of his contract at the end of the season if he’s traded, which completely and utterly destroys his already marginal trade value.
So he’s being paid a lot of money for an older player who hasn’t hit a lick in the major leagues yet, he is forced to remain on the big league team unless he’s DFA’d, and he has the right to become a rental if he so chooses, meaning his trade value is nil.
Considering that there is a chance his defensive performance was fluky last year, insofar that being a complete train wreck after leaving your family behind in Cuba, learning a new language, HAVING YOUR EAR TORN OFF OF YOUR BODY, might affect your overall ability to try to make a major league squad.
And don’t worry so much about the impending Hector Olivera sweepstakes, he’s going to need a few weeks in the minors even if he’s 100% major league ready this second (he might not be), because spring training is important and he hasn’t even started his.
But Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi didn’t sign him, and they’ve shown the propensity to throw away players that Ned Colletti and them had a difference of opinion on. Considering that the most money ever eaten in a DFA was 21 million, it seems unlikely that the Dodgers would throw away a potentially useful bench piece, Guerrero is almost a lock to make the opening day roster. And for that, he should thank super agent, Scott Boras.