Alex Guerrero: slugging machine

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The Dodgers lost yesterday but Alex Guerrero kept hitting the cover off the ball. He was 2-for-3 with a homer yesterday. Of the Dodgers’ six runs in their sweep at the hands of the Giants, Guerrero drove in four of them. His batting line on the young season: .474/.450/1.211 with four homers and 12 RBI.

Those sorts of lines in the early going, especially in limited play, as Guerrero has had, are not terribly unusual. But what is unusual is that, despite that limited play, Guerrero is among the lead leaders in a couple of counting stats.

Guerrero has started only three of the Dodgers’ 15 games and has only 20 plate appearances on the year, yet his four homers have him tied for sixth in the National League, only two off of the league leaders, Joey Votto and Adrian Gonzalez. He is tied for eighth in RBI with 12, only a few behind league leader Paul Goldschmidt, who has 16. He also has a couple of doubles thrown in. He has nine hits in his 19 at bats this year, six of which have been for extra bases.

Of course the whole reason for his limited play this year are his defensive shortcomings. He was a shortstop in Cuba but can’t really play the position. His experiments at second base last year were not very successful. The Dodgers played Guerrero at third yesterday, with Justin Turner filling in for Jimmy Rollins at short as Rollins got most of the day off. Juan Uribe has third base, though.

I’ve taken to advocating for the DH in the National League in recent years. I bet the Dodgers wish they had that option right now too.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.