The Cuban infielder has done enough this spring, batting .344 with flashes of power, to convince the front office not to release him. The previous general manager, Ned Colletti, negotiated a four-year, $28 million contract that gives him the right to refuse a demotion to the minor leagues. Though a few teams, such as the Milwaukee Brewers, have expressed interest in trading for Guerrero, nobody wants to take on his full salary over the next three seasons. Some teams have been hoping the Dodgers simply would release Guerrero.
But he has shown more defensive versatility, playing generally adequate defense at third base, shortstop and second base. Guerrero played just a handful of games at third base last season in Triple-A.
“I think there’s a good opportunity here because I’m playing well, thanks to God,” Guerrero said.
Assuming Guerrero plays well enough as a utility guy to keep his roster spot all year, the real opportunity could come in 2016. Aside from Adrian Gonzalez, the Dodgers’ entire infield could leave via free agency. Guerrero’s fielding ability could determine whether the Dodgers consider him for an everyday position at some point, most likely at third base. Juan Uribe, who turned 36 Sunday, hasn’t looked particularly good this spring. Guerrero's chances of an every-day role would increase if the Dodgers bow out of the bidding to land another Cuban infielder, Hector Olivera.
Guerrero remains a work in progress at third, but he’s improving.
“I think at this point, he’s still young and fresh over there,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “We’ve seen good and bad, but that’s really what you’d expect from a guy who hasn’t been over there.”