Interesting language in Guerrero contract

First, here is the breakdown of Alexander Guerrero‘s new four-year, $28 million contract with the Dodgers, lifted directly from an ESPN.com story:

Bonuses could increase the value of Guerrero’s contract. 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 to 600 plate appearances.

He also will be eligible for free agency after his age-30 season, and he cannot be optioned to the minor leagues without his permission.

OK, to me, the most interesting (and possibly dicey) part of this is that he can’t be optioned without his permission. Let’s say that as the Dodgers get to the end of spring training, they aren’t entirely convinced this guy is ready to be their everyday second baseman. And then, let’s say that as with all talented prospects, they don’t want him wasting away on the bench, so they want to send him to Triple-A (or Double-A) to get regular playing time and regular at-bats until they deem him ready for the majors. Is he going to go willingly? Would ANY player go willingly?

The ESPN story went on to say that Hyun-jin Ryu, who like Guerrero is being represented by agent Scott Boras, had the same deal in his contract when he signed with the Dodgers last winter. But with Ryu, there was no question that he was ready to join the Dodgers starting rotation. With Guerrero, there is some thought that he MIGHT be ready to jump into the everyday lineup, but that is far from a given, and general manager Ned Colletti indicated earlier this week that the club wasn’t ready to part ways with veteran second baseman Mark Ellis.

So, it will be interesting to see how this plays out if Guerrero should struggle in winter ball or in spring training.

As stated in a previous post, I went to my first Arizona Fall League game of 2013 today. I’m always amazed at the people from the industry that you run into at these games. There aren’t more than about a hundred paying customers here today, but among the non-paying customers, I have seen much of the Padres front office, including general manager Josh Byrnes and manager Bud Black, vice president of baseball operations Omar Minaya and special assistant (and former Dodgers infielder) Mark Loretta; from the Dodgers, I have seen assistant GM for player development De Jon Watson, assistant pitching coach Ken Howell, catching instructor Steve Yeager and minor league hitting coordinator Eric Owens. From various other teams, I have seen former major league manager John McLaren, former eight-time All-Star catcher Ted Simmons and even former Dodgers outfielder Eric Davis.

But the AFL isn’t just about spotting baseball celebrities in the stands. It’s a chance to see some of the top prospects in the game, guys who are no more than a year or two away from the majors. Of all the Dodgers prospects who are playing for the Glendale Desert Dogs this year, the biggest is Corey Seager, their first-round pick in last year’s amateur draft. He is all of 19 years old, and he is struggling in the AFL (hitting .172), just he did after a late-season promotion to advanced Single-A Rancho Cucamonga (.160). But Seager had a solid year at low Single-A Great Lakes, hitting .309 with 12 homers and 57 RBI. He is a couple of years away, but if you happen to live in the Phoenix area, he’s worth getting a look at, and the price of admission for AFL games is less than $10.

Seager, by the way, has the day off today.

9 comments

  1. >> Is he going to go willingly? Would ANY player go willingly?

    Isn’t it possible that the language in the contract actually says that he can start in the minors, but that he can’t be optioned once he’s brought up to the majors?

    • No he’s on the major league roster because he signed a major league contract. So even if he were to start out in the minors, that would require him to be optioned

  2. It seems to me that, while among scouts in the media, it is not a given that Guerrero will be ready to jump into the lineup, the Dodgers must be pretty damn sure he’ll be ready to go.

  3. Tony – Guerrero can be optioned ONLY during the first year. After that, it will have to be with his permission.

  4. Tony – I am certain I read somewhere he can be optioned in his 1st year of the contract and his right of refusal begins in year 2 of the contract .

  5. LetsGetBackToThisOne

    I’m wondering if Mark Ellis will accept the role of backup 2B/pinch hitter. Since Ellis cannot play multiple positions, it’s a tough position to put him in.

    • Don’t want to be a jerk, but I’m not really too concerned about Mark Ellis’ feelings after his PS performance.