By Beth Harris ,AP
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Cuban prospect Alexander Guerrero to a US$28 million, four-year contract Tuesday.
The deal calls for a US$10 million signing bonus payable upon approval of the contract by Major League Baseball. Guerrero would earn US$4 million in both 2014 and 2015, and US$5 million in both 2016 and 2017. There is US$1 million per year in performance bonuses, based on 500-600 plate appearances.
The 26-year-old infielder defected from Cuba earlier this year and moved to Haiti. He has been training in the Dominican Republic, where scouts for the Dodgers saw him during workouts.
“We feel Alexander can be an offensive infielder and a solid everyday player,” general manager Ned Colletti said. “We’re looking forward to him competing for a middle infield position and becoming a key contributor in 2014.”
Guerrero’s deal eliminates the Dodgers as a possible bidder for Robinson Cano, the New York Yankees All-Star who is eligible for free agency and is seeking a contract that could approach US$300 million.
Guerrero played seven seasons in Serie Nacional, Cuba’s top professional league, where he was a three-time All-Star selection. In his final season of 2011-12, he batted .290 with 21 home runs and 50 RBI in 80 games. He committed eight errors in 350 chances at shortstop for a .977 fielding percentage.
In September, he received a license from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control that allowed him to sign with a major league team.
Colletti said the Dodgers would plan on having Guerrero play winter ball.
“He’s a big league infielder that has versatility to him,” the general manager said.
Another Cuban, 22-year-old outfielder Yasiel Puig, had great success with the Dodgers this season. He was called up from the minors in early June, and nearly made the All-Star team while helping the team reach the NL Championship Series.
To make room for Guerrero on 40-man roster, right-hander Peter Moylan was designated for assignment.