Like I could avoid using this picture. (via)
This has been a pretty productive offseason for the Dodgers, I think. We all liked the Dan Haren signing, we all accepted that Juan Uribe was the best option at third base, I’ve seen few complaints about J.P. Howell or Brian Wilson or Jamey Wright, and while Chris Perez is easily on the bottom of that list, it’s difficult to complain too much about a one-year deal for a few million guaranteed dollars.
All in all, it’s been a productive winter, with the exception of a lack of a backup infielder. And since the market there is so, so barren, that can mean only one thing: It’s the perfect opportunity to do something dumb. What kind of dumb? This counts:
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 3, 2014
For the record, I have absolutely no information or indication that the Dodgers are in on Betancourt. This is purely me seeing a tweet and having the wheels start turning, nothing more, and we should probably be honest that whether it’s Justin Turner or Alexi Casilla or Omar Quintanilla, we’re going to be underwhelmed by whomever comes in for the job — even if it’s just sticking with Dee Gordon.
Still, “four or five teams in” — and “more expected” (!) — from a reporter who has cornered the industry in terms of scoops on terrible or unknown players means that Betancourt is going to have a job next year, and that alone is unthinkable. In over 4,200 plate appearances over nine seasons, he’s been worth… -0.7 WAR. He can’t hit — .261/.285/.388 — and he can’t field (-74 DRS at shortstop). He’d be the perfect example of a replacement player, except for the fact that he never seems to get replaced. Really, I’m not sure that enough attention has been paid to the fact that he started 46 games for Milwaukee last year… at first base.
And yet, teams appear to be competing for him, because… well, this is one of those cases where our usual analytics don’t matter. I don’t need to recite stats, because they’re all terrible. Yet for some reason he keeps getting work, and when you look at a Ned Colletti-run team that needs a flexible backup infielder and has yet to do anything to infuriate us this offseason…
Again, I have no evidence the Dodgers are one of those teams. But would it really surprise you? Prepare yourselves.
6.75 ERA / 3.99 FIP / 10.2 IP 10.13 K/9 5.06 BB/9 (inc.)
2013 in brief: Made it into just nine May games for the Dodgers before getting buried in Albuquerque, never to be seen again.
2014 status: Likely to get real familiar with New Mexico, though he is without a remaining option.
Everyone thank Kyle MacGregor for pitching in with a great job on reviewing Guerra. Thanks, Kyle.
Javy Guerra’s season reminds me a lot of the last Transformers movie. I know saw it, but I honestly don’t recall a single memorable moment that occurred throughout the entire thing. I can’t conjure any more hazy memories of Guerra taking the field with the words “Los Angeles” scrawled across his chest in 2013 than I can of the time I escaped the womb and tobogganed into the world.
He didn’t make the Opening Day roster. That was mostly due to the fact Ned Colletti spent the winter collecting pitchers like they’re Pokémon cards, which inevitably pushed surplus starters into the bullpen to start the year. Javy was eventually recalled on May 1, after Josh Wall was used as a sacrificial lamb at Coors Field in a distressing 62 pitch appearance.
Guerra proceeded to pitch 10.2 forgettable big league innings that were well worth forgetting. The former closer was all over the place, mixing in fair number of strikeouts (12) alongside way too many walks (6) and hits (15!). The results speak for themselves, but, still, that 1.99 WHIP is pretty gross.
It may not have been entirely his fault, though. Looking at that 3.99 FIP, a .400 BABIP, and the fact the Dodger defense was all kinds of atrocious in the early going; I’m inclined to believe he was just a tad unlucky. The team was in such a malaise during Javy’s time in Los Angeles. The Dodgers dropped an embarrassing 16 of 25 games between Guerra’s decent first appearance against the Rockies and lackluster final game in Anaheim. So, while he was still a far cry from good, to put it mildly, I’ll cut him a little slack. There was plenty of blame to go around in May.
Guerra was sent to the glue factory of Albuquerque on May 31, in part because of Peter Moylan’s impending opt-out clause, but also because he was kind of terrible. He didn’t fare much better in the Rocky Mountain air, posting a 3.66 ERA with a 4.57 FIP for the Isotopes on the year, whilst being unusually homer-prone.
Javy struggled mightily at the end of the AAA season, where he was pushed around to the tune of a .405 BAA in his final ten appearances. Perhaps it’s needless to say, but he didn’t receive an invite to join the Dodgers when rosters expanded in September.
Something tells me the trajectory of Guerra’s career isn’t going in the direction he’d hoped. Following his breakout (but totally unsustainable) season in 2011, he gave us a lot of heartburn in 2012 after a Brian McCann liner rearranged the contents of his skull (and injured his knee). Since then, he’s showed some of the promise that landed him a closer’s job along with plenty of awful.
I’m not sure the Pacific Coast League is the best place for a guy on the slide looking to rebuild confidence and his career, but that’s where Guerra figures to be for the foreseeable future.