Dodgers Place George Sherrill On Outright Waivers

Less than a year after acquiring him at last season's trade deadline, the Dodgers have placed George Sherrill on outright waivers, per Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse, another turn in his roller coaster tenure as a Dodger. His Dodger career might end where it began, in the city of St. Louis. Or, it might not. These outright waivers will expire Friday, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, and a source has confirmed to me that the Dodgers don't plan to release Sherrill if he does not consent to a minor league assignment.

The Dodgers acquired Sherrill for third baseman Josh Bell and pitcher Steve Johnson last July 30. Bell was rated by Baseball America as Baltimore's second-best prospect before this season.The Dodgers paid a hefty sum in both prospects and salary for Sherrill, and would be on the hook for the remainder of his $4.5 million salary if he is released. With just over five years of service time, Sherrill cannot be sent to the minors without his consent. If another team signs Sherrill, it will presumably be for a pro-rated share of the major league minimum salary of $400,000, so the most salary relief the Dodgers will see is somewhere in the $130,000 - $170,000 range.

The George Sherrill Era with the Dodgers is a perfect example of the volatility of middle relief.

In 2009, Sherrill put up a 0.65 ERA, the best ERA ever by a Dodger with at least 20 innings pitched

In 2010, Sherrill has a 7.32 ERA, the 25th worst ERA by a Dodger with at least 19 2/3 innings pitched

I had to fudge a little bit with the innings requirements because Sherrill has barely pitched this year. He has pitched less in three and a half months in 2010 than he did in two months as a Dodger in 2009, having fallen from the setup role to mop-up man.  Earned run average isn't the only area in which Sherrill has declined. His peripheral numbers have shown a stark decline this year, too:

George Sherrill As A Dodger
Year IP BB/9 K/9 ERA FIP x-FIP
2009 27.2 3.58 7.16 0.65 3.17 3.98
2010 19.2 7.32 5.03 7.32 5.91 6.32

The Dodgers are no doubt looking to acquire relief help at the July 31 trade deadline, which at the very least is ironic. The pitcher they paid so much for last season has been unreliable at best this season, creating the very hole they are looking to fill. That is the nature of middle relief. Sherrill should give the Dodgers pause as they jump back into the murky trade waters again.

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