The Los Angeles Dodgers have been regarded as the frontrunners to sign 26-year old Cuban SS Alexander Guerrero for several weeks now. At one point just over two weeks ago reports circulated that the Dodgers had in fact signed him to a multi-year deal but those reports turned out to be inaccurate. At least two other teams have reportedly maintained their interest and a tweet from ESPN1500’s Darren Wolfson reveals that the Minnesota Twins are one of those teams.
Cuba SS Alexander Guerrero is on the #MNTwins radar. “We like him,” VP Mike Radcliff told me. “We’re still watching him.” LAD the favorites.
— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) August 3, 2013
Opinions on Guerrero’s skillset and potential are varied and some question if he will be capable of holding down a starting slot in the major leagues. Baseball America’s Ben Badler published a scouting report on Guerrero on July 25th which casts Alexander Guerrero as an offense-first 2B who is not a lock to have success at, or even reach, the majors. Some brief thoughts from Badler’s report (a BA subscription is required to read the entire piece) highlight both the benefits and concerns about Guerrero’s game in a single paragraph:
Several scouts have reservations about whether that power will translate against major league pitching. Guerrero takes an uppercut stroke and he loses his balance against breaking pitches. It’s a pull-oriented, swing-for-the-fences approach that scouts think he will have to change to hit quality pitching. Scouts have also noted that the holes in his swing leave him susceptible to good velocity.
At the present time it would appear that the Twins are a long shot to land him but it’s worth noting that Guerrero’s contract will not count against the signing team’s international bonus pool since he’s older than 23. While it would be nice to see Minnesota further augment the talent in their system, this is one case where investing significant dollars – the Dodgers alleged deal was for approximately $32 million – may not be a wise decision.
That point carries more weight given the fact that Pedro Florimon and Brian Dozier, at SS and 2B respectively, have both been worth 1.7 WAR this season. A value that puts them behind only Joe Mauer when looking at the teams position players. On top of that, both Florimon and Dozier are 26-years old, under team control until after the 2018 season, won’t be arbitration eligible until 2016 and are both still improving with upside still in play.
I’m all for the Twins spending money to bring in more talent but if they’re going to shell out $30+ million on a multi-year contract, I’d much rather have the return for that money be a starting pitcher. Unless of course the team suddenly has unlimited resources, in which case they should make a run at Guerrero and see what happens.