Mariners sign Vladimir Guerrero’s nephew for $400,000

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Yesterday the Mariners signed Felix Hernandez’s older brother to a minor-league contract and now they’ve signed Vladimir Guerrero’s nephew, giving 17-year-old Dominican outfielder Gabriel Guerrero a $400,000 bonus.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a brief scouting report on Gabriel and it actually sounds quite a bit like Vlad:

Guerrero, a big-bodied right-handed hitter, has shown good raw power and has made improvements at the plate and in the field since he became eligible to sign last year on July 2. He projects as a corner outfielder with a solid arm.

Obviously the odds are against Gabriel Guerrero developing into one of the best right-handed hitters of all time simply because of his bloodlines, but “big bodied right-handed hitter” and “a corner outfielder with a solid arm” are definitely Vlad-like traits and the $400,000 price tag suggests he’s a legitimate prospect.

David Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner and Fan Graphs jokingly suggested on Twitter that perhaps the Mariners have ditched their scouting department and are now simply focusing on finding all their players via genetic testing. In which case, I have two words for them: Ozzie Canseco.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?