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A Look At High-Priced Dodger Relievers

Matt Guerrier's $12 million, three-year deal is the third-richest contract the Dodgers have ever given to a relief pitcher.
Matt Guerrier's $12 million, three-year deal is the third-richest contract the Dodgers have ever given to a relief pitcher.

When Matt Guerrier signed his three-year, $12 million contract last week, it became the third-largest contract ever given by the Dodgers to a relief pitcher. The only two larger contracts in total value were given to closers. Eric Gagne signed a two-year, $19 million deal after 2004, and Jeff Shaw signed a three-year, $16 million deal after the 1998 season. George Sherrill signed a one-year deal at a higher average salary ($4.5 million, last season), but he also had closing experience and was eligible for salary arbitration.

Here is a look at every Dodger reliever (non-closers) to make $2 million or more in a season.

Dodgers Non-Closer Relievers To Make $2 Million Or More
Player Year(s) Age(s) Salary G IP ERA ERA+ Comments
Alan Mills
1999-2000 32-33 3 yrs, $6.5 million 86 98.0 3.86 113 Three-year deal, then traded in 2000
Terry Adams
2001 28 $2.6 million 43 166.1 4.33 92 Won arbitration case; started 22 games, relieved 21
Terry Mulholland 2002 39 $3 million 21 32.0 7.31 54 acquired in 2001, had one year left on deal; traded mid-2002
Paul Quantrill 2002-2003 33-34 2 yrs, $6.5 million 175 154.0 2.22 177 acquired via trade after extension with Toronto; he voided third year
Paul Shuey 2003-2004 32-33 2 yrs, $6.5 million 62 69.0 3.00 135 acquired via trade mid-2002; hurt for all of 2004
Danys Baez 2006 28 $4 million 46 49.2 4.35 104 acquired via trade as Eric Gagne insurance; traded midseason for Wilson Betemit
Guillermo Mota 2009 35 $2.35 million 61 65.2 3.44 116 signed one-year deal
George Sherrill 2010 33 $4.5 million 65 36.1 6.69 58 acquired in 2009; one-year deal to avoid arbitration
Matt Guerrier 2011-2013 32-34 3 yrs, $12 million ? ? ? ? signed three-year deal

Terry Adams achieved his arbitration salary in 2001 as a reliever, as he had pitched 342 games in his career without a start up to that point. That Adams ended up a starter for most of the season doesn't affect this discussion. I am looking at the Dodgers heading into each of these seasons. In the case of relievers acquired midseason (Mulholland and Shuey, who incidentally were traded for each other), I used their salaries and stats beginning with the next season.

Quantrill's extension, signed in August 2001 while with the Blue Jays, was actually a three-year deal worth $9.6 million, but he had the right to void the final year of his deal, in 2004, which he did. I'm not counting Baez as a closer because, at the time of his acquisition, Eric Gagne was thought to recover soon from an elbow inury ("I don't have any information that leads me to believe Eric will not be healthy," Colletti told the Los Angeles Times at the time of the Baez acquisition).