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Dodgers designate Alex Guerrero for assignment

The Dodgers now have 39 players on the 40-man roster, excluding those on the 60-day disabled list.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers on Tuesday designated third baseman and outfielder Alex Guerrero for assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster and effectively ending his tenure with the team.

Tuesday was the decision day for the Dodgers, with Guerrero's minor league rehab assignment coming to an end on Sunday followed by a travel day on Monday. Guerrero spent the maximum 20 days allowed for position players on assignment per the collective bargaining agreement.

The Dodgers had to activate Guerrero from the disabled list and either add him to the active roster or remove him from the roster, as his contract stipulates that he cannot be sent to the minors without his consent, something Guerrero has no intention of granting.

In 16 games between Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, Guerrero was 9-for-66 (.136) with a home run, a double, two walks and 14 strikeouts across the three levels.

He played six games at third base, six games in left field, and four more as designated hitter during the rehab assignment.

Guerrero became the odd man out on the depth chart for the Dodgers, who this offseason added Trayce Thompson to a crowded outfield mix that already included Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke. The return of Howie Kendrick bolstered the infield as well, with Kiké Hernandez, Micah Johnson and possibly Austin Barnes as backups on the 40-man roster behind Justin Turner and Chase Utley.

The addition of Kendrick pushed Guerrero even further down the depth chart, something president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged the roster crunch on Feb. 4.

"Things tend to happen over the course of spring training, as we saw last year and we do most years," Friedman said. "We'll figure it out as we get into March and look at exactly how we want to configure our roster, figuring out which pieces fit and which ones don't as well."

Guerrero got off to a red-hot start in 2015 with nine home runs in the first two months of the season, then hit a two-out, ninth-inning grand slam to erase a three-run deficit in Colorado on June 2, the apex of his year. After following that up with a double and a walk the next day, Guerrero was hitting .297/.333/.683.

But over the final 113 games of the season, Guerrero hit just .178/.197/.220 with one home run in 122 plate appearances, including 24 starts.

Finding a fit for Guerrero defensively became an issue, especially in the second half of 2015. Guerrero started in the field just five times in the final 50 games of the season, and didn't play at all in left field after Aug. 10.

Guerrero started 27 games in left field in 2015, 18 more at third base and four games as designated hitter. Signed before the 2014 season as a second baseman out of Cuba, where his primary position was shortstop, Guerrero has yet to play middle infield in a major league game.

The Dodgers have 10 days to try to trade Guerrero, or hope someone claims him on waivers — though given his salary the latter seems highly unlikely — or simply release him.

Guerrero's four-year, $28 million contract expires at the end of 2017. There is roughly $3.4 million remaining of Guerrero's $5 million salary this year, plus his $5 million salary next year, meaning the Dodgers would eat about $8.4 million if they release him.

If Guerrero is traded, as a condition of the contract he could opt out and become a free agent at the end of the 2016 season.