2013 Dodgers in Review #36: RP Matt Guerrier

December 19, 2013 at 8:00 am | Posted in 2013 in Review, Matt Guerrier | Leave a comment

90topps_mattguerrier4.80 ERA / 4.25 FIP  11.1 IP 6.35 K/9 2.38 BB/9 -0/2 WAR (w/LA) (D)

2013 in brief: Got into 34 thoroughly mediocre games before being DFA’d and shipped off to Chicago for Carlos Marmol, which should tell you all you need to know.

2014 status: Free agent.

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You’ll probably remember that when Matt Guerrier signed his three-year deal following the 2010 season, we really, really hated it. You’ll remember that because I’ve referred to it so often that I don’t even need to go find the link for you again, and it basically boiled down to the fact that multi-year deals for non-elite relievers almost never, ever, ever work.

So now that we’re finally free of Guerrier, who missed most of the second year with arm trouble and barely made it through half of the third year, what did that $12 million buy? 110 innings, a 4.24 ERA, and a whole lot of frustration.

I suppose the most you can say for Guerrier this year is that he was mostly anonymous, which is probably what you want from a middle reliever; the more you hear about them, the worse it’s likely to be. In fact, the only time all season I really dedicated a post to him was in late April:

Mattingly immediately came out to replace Rodriguez with Matt Guerrier, and here’s where the problems began. Rodriguez isn’t your typical LOOGY; he’s effective against hitters from either side of the plate. Guerrier, on the other hand… is Matt Guerrier. He’s the guy we’ve been complaining about since the day he was signed. Noreally.

So of course, Guerrier goes out and gives up a two-run blast to Carlos Gomez, giving Milwaukee a 4-2 lead. That was only compounded when Guerrier returned in the eighth and gave up another two-run dinger, this time to Martin Maldonado — and neither was ever in question, because they were crushed. I’ll give Mattingly some amount of understanding for having Guerrier back out in the eighth, because with Ronald Belisario & Brandon League both unavailable and Kenley Jansen serving as the evening’s fill-in closer, his usual eighth inning options were gone. But having him out there in the first place in a close game was a sizable mistake, one that ultimately cost the Dodgers the game.

The funny thing, I suppose, is that Guerrier’s Dodger career ended with six consecutive scoreless outings, striking out five in four innings. But even so, when he was DFA’d in favor of Chris Withrow, it was met with near-universal acclaim, since Withrow was immediately an improvement. That’s probably unfair to Guerrier, but then again, he never did much to make the contract look any better than the mistake it seemed to be on the day it was signed, either.

Guerrier ended up getting traded to the Cubs for Carlos Marmol, who didn’t matter, and $209,700 in international signing cap room, which does. After going to Chicago, he made it into 15 games (before getting hurt and requiring flexor tendon surgery in August) and pitched almost exactly the same, just without homers, and so a shiny 2.13 ERA looks like it’s going to sucker in some other team next year.

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Next! I’m not even sure yet! Another reliever, probably!

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