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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — The Dodgers have agreed to a $28 million, four-year contract with Cuban prospect Alexander Guerrero, according to a person familiar with the deal.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made Tuesday.
The deal calls for a $10 million signing bonus payable upon approval of the contract by Major League Baseball. Guerrero would earn $4 million in both 2014 and 2015, and $5 million in both 2016 and 2017. There is $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,” Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said. “We’re looking forward to him competing for a middle infield position and becoming a key contributor in 2014.”
When asked about Guerrero on Monday, Colletti said the team was “very close” on a deal. He said Guerrero could play second base, and that if he’s not ready for the start of next season, he could play “very, very soon thereafter.” His agreement would eliminate one possible bidder for Robinson Cano, the New York Yankees All-Star who is eligible for free agency.
Guerrero played in Serie Nacional, Cuba’s top league, where he was a two-time All-Star selection. 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.
The signing may signal a potential end to the Dodger career of second baseman Mark Ellis.
Ellis played in 126 games with the Dodgers in 2013, batting .270 with six home runs and 48 RBI.
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