- The Dodgers are reportedly out of the running for Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. This comes as a bit of a surprise given their current proclivities for spending. The pitching in LA is looking better these days, as Zack Greinke seems to have turned it around, and Ricky Nolasco has been added to shore up their rotation. What remains to be seen is whether the Dodgers falling out is an indication that the pricetag on Gonzalez is too high, or that they just don't think he's good. A few reports have been trickling out that some teams consider MAG reliever, which would be in-line with some of the numbers he put up in Cuba. The Cubs may be interested if he comes cheap.
- The Indians have finalized an agreement with Leandro Linares. Linares is a 19 year old righty who is subject to under-23 spending guidelines. He sounds like he has the right frame for pitching, at 6'3", 205 pounds. However, he doesn't seem to have ever pitched in la Serie Nacional, which may be a red flag. Most of the pitchers I've looked at joined the league at 17 or 18 and spent a few years in the bullpen before moving to the rotation. That Linares didn't, even for a strong team in Villa Clara, may be an indication that he wasn't considered among the elite young pitchers in Cuba. On the other hand, one could make a similar argument for Jorge Soler, who only saw 15 plate appearances as a 19-year old.
- The other big news of the day is that the Dodgers may or may not have agreed to a contract with shortstop Alexander Guerrero. Guerrero defected last winter, though somehow I missed hearing about it until today, and is holding workouts in the Dominican Republic. Reportedly there is one other NL team interested as well as one from the AL.
Alexander Guerrero Scouting Report
Guerrero is only 5'10", but weighs 200 pounds. He is 26 years old and has played for Las Tunas since he was 18, and is a former teammate of recent Oriole callup Henry Urrutia. To my eye, he looks rigid in the field. If he can stick at shortstop or any non-first base infield position, though, he should be worth a big contract. Guerrero can mash.
Alexander Guerrero Stats
|Age||PA||AVG||OBP||SLG||ISO||BB%||K%||dt AVG||dt OBP||dt SLG|
dt-prefixes denote Clay Davenport's translations
Guerrero has put up numbers that are comparable to some of the best players in Cuba. Here's a look at how his numbers compare to some recent defectors. I'm using three full seasons worth of data, when possible, and comparing Guerrero to other players as close to their age 23-25 seasons in Cuba as possible.
Frankly, I'm surprised at the reports of 7 years/ $32 million for Guerrero. MAG has been rumored to cost $40 and $60 million for five years. Yoenis Cespedes signed a 4 year/ $36 million dollar deal last year. Three less years and four million less overall for a 26-year old Guerrero? A team would have to be pretty convinced that his numbers are inflated and his defense is merely corner- worthy. Frankly, I'd love for the Cubs to sign him at that price and stick him at second base. I haven't seen any reports of a Cub connection as of yet, and at this point it seems unlikely. So often it seems that Spanish-language news outlets report deals which are fervently denied in the American press only to happen just as originally reported days, weeks, or months later. Guerrero is waiting to be unblocked by the Treasury Department, who might get surly if they thought him presumptuous.
Given that the Cubs probably are not involved, let's compare Guerrero to a player that could well be one of their targets, Aledmis Diaz. Diaz is four years younger, so I will use Guerrero's age 19-21 seasons, as well as those of some Cuban shortstops who have previously jumped to the majors.
All in all, the two rate out fairly similarly. Little Alec didn't unravel the mysteries of aerodynamics until age 21. Through age 20, Diaz was actually better at hitting for average, getting on base, and hitting for power than Guerrero. From age 21 to 22, though, Guerrero's power increased dramatically. Diaz is still young enough that he could make up some ground; the scouts will have to judge whether they see that future power in his frame.