This has been the most “July day” ever. Ongoing analysis of a big-time trade just completed, a hot rumor that peaks and is quickly dismissed (but only partially), an international free agent narrowing his list of teams, and a recently-signed draftee getting a promotion. And now there’s a Lukewarm Stove, to boot!
- There’s a big-time Cuban defector in the news today, and no, it isn’t Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (well, he’s in the news, too). It’s 26-year-old infielder Alexander Guerrero, who received only a tiny bit of attention when he defected back in January. Usually we hear updates on these guys along the way – after defection, getting into the big leagues is a long process with many steps – so there wasn’t much to say on Guerrero back then. But today, reports started swirling that he’s already agreed to a deal with the Dodgers for $32 million. Those reports seem premature, as Guerrero’s agent tells Jesse Sanchez that his client hasn’t agreed to any deals, and there are three teams in the mix. Sanchez says one of those teams is the Dodgers, and the other two include an unnamed AL team and an unnamed NL team. Importantly, Guerrero has not yet been unblocked by the U.S. Government, so he is not yet free to sign with any team. He’s going to work out for teams on Wednesday in the Dominican Republic, and then play in a game on Thursday. The Cubs have not been connected to Guerrero to date, so we’ll see what happens in this process, now that we’ve been turned on to just how close he is to reaching free agency (and the kind of beefy contract he’s going to get). That said, this has a Jorge Soler feeling to it – i.e., early reports that a deal with Team X is done, those reports are “debunked,” the process goes forward, and then the player signs with Team X on a deal that pretty much matches the early reports. In other words, I’d be shocked if Guerrero didn’t end up with the Dodgers (who just happen to have a serious need at second base).
- Joel Sherman, in discussing the ongoing Alfonso Soriano rumors, notes that the Cubs have Cody Ransom, who plays many positions and kills left-handed pitching. There was no direct reference of Ransom being in these or other discussions between the Yankees and Cubs, but it’s nice to see that Ransom is appropriately valued. I still believe he’s a nice complementary piece.
- Dustin Pedroia has reportedly agreed to terms with the Red Sox on a seven-year extension (kicking in after next year) worth $100 million-ish. The deal, which runs through Pedroia’s age 37 season, appears on first glance to be quite under-market for one of the truly elite second basemen in the game. Pedroia was under control through 2015, however, at just $10 million (2014) and $11 million (2015), so it was going to be a little while before he was able to bank huge money (and he would be 31 at that point). Seems like a good deal for both sides, and it will be interesting to see how it affects fellow elite second baseman Robinson Cano’s free agent expectations.
- Jayson Stark points out that, since Memorial Day, Alex Rios’s production at the plate has taken a huge hit: just .253/.296/.347 since then. So, to the extent that there is overlap between the markets for Rios and Soriano (or maybe Nate Schierholtz, if handedness doesn’t matter), Rios’ performance is going in the wrong direction.