Update: Ken Rosenthal reports that it’ll be $12m over 3 years. I assume that’s going to be backloaded as $1m, $1m, $10m, because hey – why not?
MLBtraderumors had a solid accounting of him in November:
- Guerrier led the league in appearances in 2008-09 and pitched in 74 games this past season.
- He induces more grounders than fly balls.
- His slider is excellent.
- Guerrier has a 2.7 K/BB ratio against right-handed hittters in his career.
- He has just a 1.5 K/BB ratio against left-handed hitters in his career, but he does induce more groundballs against them (55%).
- As mentioned earlier, it won’t cost a pick to sign Guerrier.
- Defense independent pitching stats like FIP and xFIP suggest Guerrier’s 3.17 ERA would have been higher if he had been less lucky in 2010.
- He posted 5.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 last year. That’s not spectacular and both rates were better in 2009.
- The free agent market is flush with right-handed relievers, so Guerrier won’t have much leverage.
They also predicted that he’d get a one-year deal, and that’s the problem – well, one of the problems. The issue here isn’t that Guerrier isn’t good, because he’s clearly durable and effective, and in a baseball vacuum, that’s great, and he’s a solid addition to the pen.
But nothing ever lives in a vacuum, does it? When have multiyear deals to over-30 relievers – especially one who’s good but not dominant – ever worked out? How do you think the White Sox felt about Scott Linebrink‘s deal? The Blue Jays about B.J. Ryan? I realize I’m cherry-picking a bit, but the success rate there isn’t high. This is why everyone’s been laughing at the Angels for handing out multiple years to older relievers Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi. That’s all before you even notice that Guerrier’s K rate has dropped from 7.0 in 2008 to 5.5 in 2009 to 5.3 in 2010 – and his fastball velocity dropped in 2010 as well. It’s not a good trend for a guy who turns 33 next year.
Secondly, why is this team spending more money on pitching when the offense looks to be in trouble? I get that the bullpen was poor last year, but it’s long been shown that spending big money in the bullpen rarely works out. There’s plenty of talent in the pen that you need to have a little faith can bounceback, and yet the offense is still without a left fielder . We don’t yet know what Guerrier will get; I joked on Twitter that Downs got $15m over 3, but since Downs is both better and lefty, Guerrier deserves something less like $3/10. Therefore, I’m predicting 3/$21m.
Then there’s the question of what this does to the bullpen. If the season were to open today, and the Dodgers were to carry 7 relievers, which they usually do, you’re looking at a bullpen of…
That’s an intriguing group, I’ll admit. But it doesn’t include a second lefty, which seems unlikely. So is there a trade in the works? It’s obviously not going to be Kuo, Jansen, Guerrier, or Padilla. Belisario and Hawksworth are candidates because they’re out of options, but don’t have much trade value. So is this where we see Broxton moved? I’ve long said I find it unlikely that he gets moved at the absolute lowest of his value, and I would hate dumping him for nothing, but I’m fine with it in the right deal. Personally, I still don’t see it happening.
More to come…