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Dodgers concerned about Alexander Guerrero’s ability to play defense at second base

Jan 29, 2014, 10:20 PM EST

alexander guerrero getty Getty Images

The Dodgers signed Cuban defector Alexander Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million contract in October with the expectation that he could immediately step in as the club’s starting second baseman. But concerns have already emerged.

According to Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles, Dodgers management “has enough doubts about his ability to field the position steadily that it now says that will be an open competition this spring.” The Dodgers have tried to sway Michael Young from retirement to serve as a place-holder at second base.

Guerrero is thought to have a major-league ready bat — he posted big-time power numbers in Cuba and international competition — but the 27-year-old has played nothing but shortstop and his transition to second base hit a road block this offseason when he developed hamstring issues in the Dominican Winter League.

Mark Ellis was the Dodgers’ primary second baseman in 2013. He signed with the Cardinals in December.

  1. losanginsight - Jan 29, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Maybe Ned should kindly ask Hanley to slide over to 2nd with a new 6 yr/ 120mil contract.

    • notsofast10 - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:33 PM

      Not 2nd, but maybe Hanley to 3rd and keep Guerrero at SS.

  2. norvturnersneck - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    Karma for letting Mark Ellis go. They paid him $1 million to not play for them. Very dumb move.

  3. tfbuckfutter - Jan 29, 2014 at 11:20 PM

    Aww.

    That’s really a shame.

  4. yahmule - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:33 AM

    Vetting his defense would seem like something they might have done before they backed up the truck to his house. And how frigging bad could his defense be that Michael Young could possibly be the alternative?

    • doctornature - Jan 30, 2014 at 4:47 AM

      Amen

    • paperlions - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:52 AM

      C’mon now, I would watch Dodger games BECAUSE Young was starting at 2B, just to see how that was working out for them. I imagine it would be similar to the Yankees deciding to use Beltran as a CF.

    • gibbyfan - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:42 AM

      One would think………However, you would think the transition from ss to 2b would not be a havy lift……….I could see a p[roblemthe other way around which makes me think this will wind uo working out fine

      • natstowngreg - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        It’s the Rogers Hornsby Principle. The guy can hit, we can make him into a 2B. Maybe he’s not that great defensively, but hey, there’s that bat. Sorta the rationale why Dan Uggla has had such a long career as a 2B.

        The Nats did something similar with Anthony Rendon. Get his promising bat in the lineup (and make up for lack of good alternatives). The defensive results were, shall we say, adventurous. Though he got less bad with experience, and tutoring from Davey Johnson, a former Gold Glove 2B.

        Then one day, Davey decided Rendon could play SS (Ian Desmond was nicked, Steve Lombardozzi the Younger can’t throw well enough to play SS). First ground ball hit to him, right through the wickets. May have been his one and only career start at SS. (Frank Robinson did something similar when Ryan Zimmerman was a rookie. Two errors in his first game as a starting SS. Moved immediately back to 3B.]

  5. unclemosesgreen - Jan 30, 2014 at 6:55 AM

    I don’t think this is a big deal. He’ll figure it out eventually.

    Mike Young needs to just retire with some dignity at this point. Being used to scare Guerrero into practicing seems an undignified end to a long and excellent career.

    • mikhelb - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      Same thing was said of Alfonso Soriano when he was signed by the Yankees to move him from SS (and partially 3B where he played outside of the US) to second base. He had trouble all his career pivoting from 2B to 1B to perform a double play, his footwork was always wrong. His bat is what saved him but ultimately he was moved to the OF (his antecesor in pinstripes Chuck Knoblauch was moved to the OF to make way for Soriano).

      • natstowngreg - Jan 30, 2014 at 3:23 PM

        At first, it looked like Soriano would hold out, rather than move to LF for the Nats. His one season as a LF at RFK was, like Rendon’s at 2B last season, adventurous. The one thing he did was throw out a lot of runners (22 assists). Because opponents doubted he could throw them out.

        And hit. Soriano parlayed his 46-homer, 41-steal, .911-OPS, Silver Slugger-winning, MVP 6th-place season into that absurd contract with the Cubs. The Nats (criticized for not trading him before the deadline) used one of the resulting picks on an unknown pitcher from an unknown Division III school, a kid named Jordan Zimmermann. Life went on.

  6. chiadam - Jan 30, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    1. Scout player
    2. Sign player

    stupid Dodgers.

    • mikhelb - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:38 AM

      He was scouted as a SS because the Dodgers said their plans involved having Hanley move to 3B and play Alexander at 2B (that will have to wait until they can finalize an extension with Hanley, otherwise they won’t move him because if he feels uncomfortable he will walk away from the Dodgers when his contract ends and won’t entertain negotiations for an extension).

  7. nymets4ever - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    Acually doing some homework before throwing the GDP of a small nation at a player is so 2012.

    • gibbyfan - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:21 AM

      Don’t despair didger fans………if it turns out he can only play short I bet the Cards take him and give you Ellis back AND throw in their newly signed Peralta

  8. yordo - Jan 30, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Dee Gordon, y’all.

  9. necrondi - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Soriano wasn’t 27 years old.

  10. senioreditor2 - Jan 30, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    I’m all for waiting until spring training and seeing if he can or can’t play second base. Right now it’s just speculation……kinda like will Tanaka be worth 155 million or will Teixeira ever be the player he was? What I know is, if Guerrero can hit, they’ll find a place for him or move him to the AL to DH.

  11. tonyz6060chevy - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    they’d better start dusting off Chone Figgins !

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