Former Dodgers infielder/outfielder Alex Guerrero has found a new home, signing a deal with the Chunichi Dragons in the Japanese Central League, the team announced on Saturday.
Guerrero, who will wear jersey number 42 with Chunichi, will earn roughly $1.3 million in 2017, per Baseball Japones.
Guerrero, who turned 30 on Nov. 20, began the 2016 season on the disabled list with a left knee contusion, missing the first five weeks of the season. He was just 9-for-66 (.136) in 16 games between three levels on a minor league rehab assignment in May, with two walks and 14 strikeouts.
Once his rehab assignment concluded and faced with a decision to add Guerrero back to the active roster, the Dodgers instead designated Guerrero for assignment on May 31, then released him on June 8.
Guerrero did not play again in 2016 in the majors or minors.
The Dodgers signed Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million contract as a free agent defector from Cuba before the 2014 season, but he hit just .233/.261/.414 with 11 home runs in 117 games and 243 plate appearances in the majors.
Guerrero started the 2015 season on fire, hitting .297/.333/.683 with 10 home runs in 40 games through June 3. But he hit just .178/.197/.220 with three extra-base hits in his final 66 games and 122 plate appearances, with 32 strikeouts and two walks.
But even when Guerrero was hitting, he was essentially a man without a defensive position. Signed as a shortstop, Guerrero never played the middle infield in the majors, limited to third base, left field and designated hitter during his time with the Dodgers.
Guerrero was rated as below replacement level by both Baseball-Reference (-0.6 WAR) and FanGraphs (-0.4 WAR) during his time in the majors.
The Dodgers were hamstrung by Guerrero’s contract, which stated that he could not be sent the minors without his consent after 2014. That consent never came, though it would have been hard to hold that against Guerrero since during his one extended time in the minors he got a part of his ear bitten off by his own teammate, with catcher Miguel Olivo opting for the most unconventional of mid-game snacks.
The Dodgers are on the hook for Guerrero’s $5 million salary in 2017, which would have been offset by any major league salary he might have earned. It is unknown whether his salary in Japan will reduce any of the Dodgers’ financial obligation.