The Dodgers are apparently on the verge of landing free agent Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero, with Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reporting the team is "closing in" on a multi-year deal for $32 million. Peter Gammons reported the deal is for $30 million.
The deal with the 26-year-old Guerrero will be between five and seven years, reports Sanchez, and is expected to be announced later in the week.
Guerrero played shortstop and hit .302/.387/.527 in eight years playing for Las Tunas in Cuba. From 2009-2012 Guerrero averaged 20 home runs, 19 doubles, 33 walks and 37 strikeouts in 337 plate appearances.
The Dodgers were rumored to have signed Guerrero in late July, just after he was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, but Guerrero didn't get cleared by the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control until Friday, as first reported by Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 in Minnesota.
Though currently a shortstop, Guerrero will likely end up elsewhere in the infield. Ben Badler in a scouting report at Baseball America noted that Guerrero doesn't have the range or first-step quickness to stick at shortstop and added, "Several teams aren’t convinced he has the ability to either reach the majors or stick there as an everyday player, but whatever team signs him will probably see him as an offensive-oriented second baseman."
Though initial thoughts (hopes?) pegged Guerrero as potentially near major league ready, even if he is good to go the moment he signs he wouldn't be eligible for postseason play in 2013, no matter where he signs, since Guerrero wasn't added by Aug. 31.
The play for Guerrero is for 2014 and beyond. The Dodgers have a club option next year on second baseman Mark Ellis for $5.75 million, or a $1 million buyout. Juan Uribe is headed for free agency, as are reserve infielders Skip Schumaker, Michael Young, Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston. With top prospect Corey Seager just 19 years old and still in Class-A, the Dodgers have a few years to fill the infield slots around Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and now reportedly Guerrero.