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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reports: Shortstop Alexander Guerrero defects from Cuba

Guerrero has been one of Cuba’s best players the last few years, hitting .338/.408/.641 in 2009, .343/.414/.583 in 2010 and .310/.400/.599 in 2011. Between the three seasons, he delivered 60 homers in 886 at-bats.

He sat out the 2012 season due to a reported lack of motivation after being passed over for the national team, but still seems like a very interesting talent.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 01:53 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cuba, free agents, general, international

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   1. JRVJ Posted: January 22, 2013 at 04:45 PM (#4352755)
Panama just issued a new permanent resident status in cases of national interest, as defined by the Presidency of the country

(and by just, I mean last Friday).

I had twitted joshingly that this was to get into the business of defecting Cuban ballplayers. I might end up more prescient than I thought.
   2. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:19 PM (#4352805)
"Sat out the 2012 season" is Cuba-speak for "was caught trying to defect and wasn't allowed to play."

Guerrero is a better player than any of the current Cuban free agents (Aledmis Diaz, Dariel Alvarez, et al.), but he's probably not a SS in MLB, and his offensive numbers were helped by playing in the Las Tunas bandbox (325 down the lines; 370 to CF).
   3. Mess with the Meat, you get the Wad! Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:22 PM (#4352812)
I would like to see him playing second for the cubs. How old is he?
   4. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:28 PM (#4352821)
According to a bio from a couple years ago, he turned 26 in December.
   5. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 22, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4352874)
"Sat out the 2012 season" is Cuba-speak for "was caught trying to defect and wasn't allowed to play."


He said at the time that this wasn't true, for whatever that's worth. Probably not much.
   6. Zach Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:08 PM (#4352889)
If he's willing to play second base, he could be a great pickup for the Royals. Right now their depth at the position is somewhere between "giant sucking chest wound" and "tell Hosmer to play way off the bag."
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:21 PM (#4352900)
FREEDOM!
   8. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4352901)
Under the new CBA does he automatically count against the international signing cap or does his new team avoid that with a major league contract? And if that is the case, can they use option years to put him in the minors?
   9. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:25 PM (#4352906)
Well, we know he won't be playing for "Cuban" Pete Angelos.
   10. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4352924)
Under the new CBA does he automatically count against the international signing cap or does his new team avoid that with a major league contract? And if that is the case, can they use option years to put him in the minors?

The spending limit only applies to foreign players who are 23 years old and younger.

***
Well, we know he won't be playing for "Cuban" Pete Angelos.

In a move that got almost no attention, the Orioles signed their first Cuban international free agent last year, OF Henry Urrutia. It seemed like somewhat of an overpay for a guy who projects as a fourth OF, and he's still stuck in Haiti some 6-plus months after signing (due to the use of some dubiously obtained residency papers), but it appears the O's are no longer avoiding Cuban defectors.

(Urrutia, incidentally, played for the same Cuban National Series team as Guerrero.)
   11. Matt Welch Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:40 PM (#4352926)
"Sat out the 2012 season" is Cuba-speak for "was caught trying to defect and wasn't allowed to play."

Did German Mesa ever cop to trying to escape? As I recall there were quite a few late-'90s stars who were pre-emptively held out from playing on suspicion of maybe *thinking* about leaving.
   12. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 22, 2013 at 06:48 PM (#4352931)
Not that I know of, but you're right about him and others being suspended in the '90s simply for being suspected of having interest in MLB. That policy did little but drive players out of Cuba, although Mesa wasn't one of them. He managed Fidel's favorite team for several years (Industriales), until 2010 or '11.

(EDITED to change Mesa's managerial stint to past tense.)
   13. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 22, 2013 at 07:57 PM (#4352977)
"Sat out the 2012 season" is Cuba-speak for "was caught trying to defect and wasn't allowed to play."


Is there any chance/hope that Raul will break with Fidel on the no playing in the MLB policy?
   14. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 22, 2013 at 08:10 PM (#4352979)
Is there any chance/hope that Raul will break with Fidel on the no playing in the MLB policy?

Absent wider changes on the island, it's highly doubtful, at least not in a form that the U.S. government would approve. Even if Cuba took 95 percent of a Cuban player's MLB salary, the remaining 5 percent would still make such players orders of magnitude wealthier than anyone else on the island, which doesn't fit with Cuba's socialist system. (And I doubt either MLB or the U.S. government would go along with a modified Japan-style posting system, in which Cuba sold players to MLB and then waved goodbye to them rather than welcome them back during the offseason.)

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