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.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.