Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
It’s been… fun? Alexander Guerrero, Third Baseman? Guerrero appeared last night as a pinch hitter (pinch hitting for double switchee, Yasiel Puig [!!!]) and it looks like if he’s lucky, that’s where he’ll appear going forward considering the DH position might not be an option just take a look at today’s lineup:
It’s a puzzling move to say the least considering the Dodgers have a player OPS’ing at .927, and while his value has mostly come from him mashing 10 dingers in only 125 PA’s, a 153 wRC+ is 53% above average whichever way you choose to look at it. But let’s break this all down before delving into his role on the team.
May 24th, the Dodgers played the Padres, the infamous “Carlos Frias explosion” where the Dodgers gave up 11 runs and lost by 8. Perhaps the most significant thing to come out of that game is that this was the last time Alex Guerrero appeared in a game playing third base for the Dodgers. He’s mostly appeared as a LF’er and pinch hitter, which would normally be okay, but guess who’s appeared in 15 games and received 38 plate appearances mostly playing at third base since that Frias game?
Same dude who’s amassed negative 30.2 offensive runs above average since the start of the 2014 campaign, Alberto Callaspo. It’d make sense to give Guerrero the majority of the starts at third base, but if the team cannot trust Alex over Callaspo at third base, they have to look elsewhere to give him playing time.
This is where his situation with the Dodgers gets all sorts of convoluted:
Shortstop is very clearly not an option, he wasn’t good enough to push Hanley out of that position last year, he isn’t starting there with an aging Jimmy Rollins flailing at the position.
Second Base might be interesting for a game or two a week, but how is that even an option at this point? Howie Kendrick is solid and starts there most of the time anyways, Enrique Hernandez is fun and more than an adequate backup, and even Justin Turner is ahead of him on that particular depth chart.
First base is where Guerrero runs into a similar problem, Gonzalez is a 140+ game kind of player, and Justin Turner always spells him when he doesn’t start there.
Right Field shouldn’t be an option if his arm isn’t anywhere near good enough to handle SS. Also, Yasiel Puig.
Center Field? Nah.
So Left Field is the only viable option at this point if he’s not going to play at 3b, and would you look at that, Scott Van Slyke is about to finish his rehab assignment with the Quakes, and when given the choice between the two, I figure the team picks Van Slyke over Guerrero. This isn’t even mentioning the fact that Carl Crawford is going to be back at some point/totally unmovable, or the fact that Andre Ethier is suddenly good again, or the fact that Chris Heisey is the guy who’s been subbed in at LF in late game situations lately.
See where this is going?
If he was a little bit better at defense, he might be worth while to have on the roster, if he played more positions he might get more playing time, if he had a chance to go to the minor leagues and work on some stuff down there, he might exist in a Kiké type role, but none of those things are options because he’s very definitely on the major league team
"I don’t want to go down. I’m not going down. I feel like I can get better here at this level and play every day. I think that’s what every player wants. You want to be in the Major Leagues and play as much as you can."
Guerrero said this before the season, but it rings true even now, at this point he’s a pinch hitting option that might even be bumped down that depth chart if Scott Van Slyke hits closer to his career norms.
All in all, this is an interesting situation without a real answer. If the team refuses to trust him at third base (where he’s been mostly fine at) and can’t trade him for anything near real value, one has to wonder about his diminishing place on this team that won’t get any clearer when Hector Olivera arrives.
If he’s fine with just being a pinch hitting option, then great! That might be the solution to this entire situation, but the quote posted above doesn’t describe a baseball player all that eager of only appearing once (at most) a game. Remember when Juan Uribe asked for a trade because of his reduced playing time?
Guerrero has been said to be the most valuable as a member of the Dodgers, but right now, it’s hard to see him even being valuable in that role.