The Dodgers have signed Cuban shortstop Alexander Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million deal that includes a $10 million signing bonus. With performance incentives, the deal can reach $32 million. The Dodgers have long been the main team connected to Guerrero, who has had the current deal in place for more than a week.
Guerrero, 26, was one of the top performers in Serie Nacional, Cuba’s top league, while playing for Las Tunas. In his final season in Cuba in 2011-12, Guerrero hit .290/.402/.576 with 21 homers, 39 walks and 30 strikeouts in 328 plate appearances.
At 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, the righthanded-hitting Guerrero has been one of the top offensive players in the league for the last five seasons and has plus raw power, although scouts have questions about whether the power will translate. Those highest on Guerrero see him as a power-hitting second baseman, while others question whether his hitting will play against major league pitching. Guerrero was never a stolen base threat in Cuba, but he has revamped his body since arriving in the Dominican Republic, increasing his speed and his power. Several teams saw him as a fringe-level big leaguer.
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Guerrero, who has claimed permanent residency in Haiti, had originally been represented by Rudy Santin and Manny Paula of MVP Sports Management And Consulting, along with Javier Rodriguez. That same group worked together to represent two of Baseball America’s top 10 international prospects for July 2—third baseman Rafael Devers, who signed with the Red Sox for $1.5 million, and shortstop Yeyson Yrizarri, who signed with Texas for $1.35 million.
However, in September, Rodriguez brought Guerrero to the Boras Corporation to officially represent the player. Rodriguez, a Dominican trainer, has worked together with Boras Corp. on several Dominican amateur players, including shortstop Carlos Triunfel ($1.3 million) and outfielder Wilton Martinez ($192,500), both of whom signed with the Mariners while Dodgers vice president of international scouting Bob Engle and Latin American coordinator Patrick Guerrero were in the same positions in Seattle. MLB.com reported Guerrero’s deal earlier today.
Guerrero had already met the United States government’s requirements to sign earlier this year when he produced two permanent residency documents from Haiti, although he has been living and training in the Dominican Republic. With those permanent residency documents, Guerrero fell under the general license of the U.S. Depart of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and did not need to be unblocked by OFAC in order to legally enter into an agreement with an MLB team.
However, at some point before the end of the 2012 season, Major League Baseball changed its policy and began requiring Cuban players to acquire a “specific license” from OFAC, which is a written document that often takes three to six months to acquire. The ensuing delay means Guerrero won’t take his first official at-bat until the 2014 season.