Dodgers (finally) sign Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero

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Twice already the Dodgers were said to be signing 26-year-old Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero, first in July and then in September. Both times it was reportedly a $32 million contract and both times the deal never got completed.

Now they’ll try for a third time, as Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports that Guerrero and the Dodgers have agreed to a four-year, $28 million deal … worth up to $32 million in potential value.

Guerrero played mostly shortstop in Cuba, but many teams apparently view him as more of a second baseman and taking over for Mark Ellis there next season makes sense with the Dodgers. He was considered one of the best all-around players in Cuba and, much like they did with Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers are making good use of their huge revenue and payroll advantage by spending in one of the few places where spending on international players isn’t capped by MLB.

This is probably bad news for Robinson Cano, as it takes the Dodgers out of the market (or even the hypothetical market) for a stud second baseman, although Magic Johnson made it pretty clear last month that Cano wasn’t likely to wind up in Los Angeles anyway.

Last week, Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu signed a six-year, $68 million deal with the White Sox.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.