Los Angeles Times
Guerrero talks trade possibilities
He says he wants more playing time, having started only 35 games for the Dodgers.
NEW YORK — With less than a week remaining until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Alex Guerrero is waiting for news that could free him from the Dodgers bench.
Guerrero said he likes the Dodgers organization, which he refers to as “family.” He also said he is open to a trade because he wants to play more.
“We’re talking about my career, my future,” Guerrero said in Spanish.
In the second year of his four-year, $28-million contract, Guerrero has started only 35 games. He was supposed to make a rare start Friday — he has started twice in the last 22 games — only to be scratched from the lineup with a tight back. With Enrique Hernandez playing left field instead of him, the Dodgers defeated the New York Mets, 7-2.
“Very difficult,” Guerrero said.
The Dodgers are known to be searching to bolster a starting rotation compromised by the season-ending operations to Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy.
Guerrero, who is considered a defensive liability and is used almost exclusively as a pinch hitter these days, thinks the Dodgers could address their shortcomings by trading him.
One potential obstacle is Guerrero’s contract.
The deal includes a provision that would allow him to become a free agent at the end of the season if he is traded. Teams could be reluctant to trade for him if there’s a possibility he will depart after only two months.
Guerrero would consider waiving the clause — for a price. He said his agent, Scott Boras, is exploring the possibility.
“If another team gets me, they can negotiate for me to remove the clause by paying me more over the next two years,” Guerrero said.
Guerrero is guaranteed to earn $5 million in each of the next two seasons.
Another obstacle is Guerrero’s recent performance.
Guerrero hit 10 home runs in his first 40 games, which included 25 starts.
Since then, he hasn’t hit any and is batting .155. Guerrero’s season average is down to .245.
“No one had seen me and I hit, hit, hit,” Guerrero said. “After I hit a few home runs, everyone said, ‘I can’t pitch to him so carelessly because he’s shown he can hit home runs and hit.’ So everyone started adjusting to me.”
Early in the season, Guerrero said opposing pitchers frequently attacked him with fastballs. In the last couple of months, the fastballs have been replaced by sliders.
“I couldn’t adjust back because I’m not playing every day,” Guerrero said. “Adjustments take time.”
Guerrero doesn’t understand why he is considered such a liability at third base.
A career-long shortstop in his native Cuba, Guerrero last started at third base on May 24. Each of his starts since then has been as a left fielder or a designated hitter.
Guerrero pointed to how he didn’t make a single error in his nine starts at third base. He also noted that he is batting .441 when he plays there.
Still, Guerrero said he respects management’s decisions.
“They know what they have to do,” Guerrero said. “They’re professionals, like me. If they don’t play me, they have a reason.”
Whatever happens from now to July 31, Guerrero promised it wouldn’t affect his professionalism.
“In this sport, you have to be mentally strong because things happen,” he said. “You have to continue working. You can’t stop working, be disrespectful or be a bad teammate. That can’t happen. That won’t happen with me here.”