What once was a tandem of Alex Guerrero and Justin Turner at third base, which led to Juan Uribe being traded as part of a package sent to the Atlanta Braves, has now morphed into Turner assuming the starter’s role with Alberto Callaspo providing an occasional day off.
As a result Guerrero has received the majority of recent playing time in left field, though his starts have been few and far between in recent weeks. The Cuban native was said to have garnered trade interest when the Dodgers were rumored to be looking to trade away one of their third baseman.
Although that person wound up being Uribe, there’s some thought trading Guerrero may be necessary given the fact he may fall further down the depth chart with Hector Olivera’s expected arrival and the Dodgers outfield slowly getting back to full strength.
According to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, Guerrero would be open to a trade if it meant more playing time:
In this business, you have to understand those things happen,” Guerrero said through an interpreter. “I’m comfortable here in Los Angeles. I like my teammates. I like my coaches. But I also have to think of my career. If there’s a chance for more playing time, that would be good for me.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has indicated Guerrero’s primarily being used a pinch-hitter is tied to his ability to exceed in that role and Mattingly’s preference to send out a strong defensive team on a nightly basis.
The 28-year-old Cuban native acknowledged he’s had trouble in left field, but believes he’s still been functional at the position:
I try to help the team whatever way they feel they need me to,” said Guerrero, who is 7 for 23 (.304) with a double, three home runs and nine RBI as a pinch-hitter. “I can’t control how they write the lineup. I’m pretty sure when I played third I didn’t make any errors. When I played the outfield, I haven’t been perfect. But I’ve been serviceable.”
One impediment to potentially shipping Guerrero out of Los Angeles is a clause in his contract that permits him to opt out after the season in which he’s traded concluded.
While it may scare away some teams from dealing for Guerrero, it isn’t beyond reason to believe he won’t leave a guarnateed $15 million on the table over the next two years if he’s traded this season.
Guerrero is batting .267/.295/.565 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in 55 games (30 starts). However, he’s hitting just .182/.196/.295 with one home run and eight RBIs in 20 games (nine starts) over the last 28 days. As a pinch-hitter Guerrero is batting .333/.739/1.072 in 24 plate appearances.