2010 Player Profile: George Sherrill, For Whom The Bell Tolls

One of the greatest strengths of the 2009 Dodgers was the bullpen, and George Sherrill played a big role in that bullpen.  He was acquired at a hefty cost at last year's trading deadline, for switch-hitting slugging third baseman Josh Bell and pitcher Steve Johnson.  If there is one thing that general manager Ned Colletti has shown, it's that he likes depth at the major league level (for instance, the Dodgers might end up with three second basemen on their opening day roster this season), and Sherrill's acquisition was a prime example of this. The trade for Sherrill, coupled with the return of Hong-Chih Kuo from the disabled list in the same week, gave the Dodgers a ridiculously deep bullpen, which helped them capture their second straight NL West crown.

The Dodgers' acquisition of Sherrill wasn't his first big trade.  Sherrill was part of the huge bounty Baltimore received from Seattle in February 2008 for Erik Bedard.  It was with the Orioles that Sherrill, at age 31, got his first opportunity to be a full-time closer, and he racked up 51 saves in his 10 seasonal months as an Oriole.  Sherrill, like Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis, went to Austin Peay State University, but he wasn't drafted out of college.  He spent four years playing baseball in independent leagues before the Mariners came calling with a minor league contract in July 2003.  He made his major league debut a year later at age 27, and the rest is history.

As a Dodger, all Sherrill did was put up the lowest ERA (0.65) in the 126-year history of the franchise of anyone with a minimum of 20 innings (his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) was 3.17 and his x-FIP was 3.98).  After striking out over a batter an inning since 2004, Sherrill's strikeout rate did decline to 7.96 per nine innings in 2009, including 7.16 K/9 in his short time with Los Angeles.  However, Sherrill has been dominant against lefties forever:

George Sherrill Against Lefties
2004 48 0.00 7.82 .239/.250/.435 .685 3.60 3.38
2005 47 0.00 12.15 .156/.170/.333 .504 2.50 1.67
2006 88 3.38 10.88 .143/.230/.182 .412 1.86 3.05
2007 106 3.38 13.50 .156/.240/.289 .529 2.94 3.22
2008 72 3.50 15.00 .190/.264/.270 .534 1.69 2.33
2009 86 2.31 11.19 .128/.188/.154 .342 1.38 2.67
Career 447 2.44 11.97 .163/.226/.261 .486 2.24 2.78

Fun Stat

Before giving up the Raul Ibañez home run in Game 1 of the NLCS, Sherrill as a Dodger allowed lefties four hits and two walks in 36 plate appearances in the regular season, for a line of .121/.171/.152

Contract Status

Signed a one-year deal for $4.5 million for 2010, with potential of $150,000 in incentives based on games pitched.  Sherrill is arbitration eligible through 2012.

2010 Outlook

Year Age IP BB/9 K/9 ERA FIP x-FIP tRA ERA+
2006 29 40.0 6.08 9.45 4.28 3.07 4.78 2.99 104
2007 30 45.2 3.35 11.04 2.36 3.11 3.64 2.92 185
2008 31 53.1 5.57 9.79 4.73 4.33 4.84 3.69 94
2009 32 69.0 3.13 7.96 1.70 3.21 4.16 3.17 253
2010 Projections - Age 33 Season
Bill James 74.0 4.01 9.36 2.92 3.31
CHONE 52.0 3.98 9.52 3.46 3.42
Marcel 65.0 3.88 8.17 3.46 3.97
Baseball HQ 65.0 3.74 8.72 3.46 3.71
ZiPS 58.2 3.68 10.28 2.76 3.25


I'll pick "The Brim Reaper" to return to more than a strikeout an inning, with a 3.50 ERA and 1.189 WHIP in 59 innings pitched.

What is your guess for George Sherrill's 2010?  Give us a prediction of ERA, WHIP, and innings pitched.

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