When Matt Guerrier was inked by the Los Angeles Dodgers to a three-year deal for $12 million prior to last season, the general feeling was that that seemed like a pretty long commitment to a middle reliever on the high side of 30. According to Aaron Gleeman, Guerrier seemed Boston-bound that offseason, but then Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein balked at the notion of a three-year deal for such a moundsman.
But what Dodgers GM Ned Colletti valued from Guerrier was his ability to stay healthy and continue to take the ball throughout the season. In fact, Guerrier is one of only five relievers to accumulate 500 or more innings over the last seven seasons.
|Most Innings Pitched, Relievers, 2005-2011
|No more than 10% of appearances as a starter; source: Baseball-Reference.
Colletti was right about Guerrier's availability. The right-hander chalked up another 66 1/3 innings in 2011 for Los Angeles, with his only time off the roster due to his taking paternity leave at the beginning of September for the birth of his son Jack. Three-quarters of those frames were accrued by his appearing in the seventh or eighth innings of games.
|2012 Dodgers Player Profiles
|This continues our series of 2012 player profiles, where we will analyze one player per day, between now and the end of spring training. This is also the spot for our community projections, so be sure to give us your predictions for each player for this season in the comments section.
The one-time White Sox draftee has endured a career path not unlike so many middle relievers - toiling in the minors full-time through age-25, traded for Damaso Marte, waived by Pittsburgh, claimed by Minnesota - but that changed when his endurance finally paid off with the multi-year, eight-digit contract Guerrier signed in December 2010 with the Dodgers.
One thing that has changed for the Cleveland native is his pitch selection over the two most recent campaigns. Guerrier has increased the usage of his slider about 20% in each of the last two seasons, with most the offsetting decrease coming from hurling the fastball less. Adjustments? Increasing craftiness? Concession to age? You'll have to be the judge of that.
It's also somewhat interesting to note that Guerrier is one of those pitchers that seems to manage to outperform his peripherals time and time again. His ERA has been lower than his FIP in all but two of his full-time major-league seasons (2008 and last year), and in only 2008 did his ERA exceed his xFIP.
Guerrier is the only pitcher with exactly one save in each of the last six seasons.
Guerrier is one of the PECOTA comparables for newly acquired relief hurler Todd Coffey.
With a name that is the French word for "warrior", he makes nice pairing with bullpen-mate Javy Guerra, whose family name is Spanish for "war".
Per the True Blue LA Salary page, Guerrier will be paid $4.75 million in 2012. His contract expires after the 2013 season, but his payments continue on into the following season.
Previous Dodgers Player Profiles:
|2012 Projections - Age 33 Season
The projections all seem to think Guerrier will have an ever-so-slight reduction in innings pitched, and with results in the neighborhood of his Guerrier-averages. Curiously ZiPS projects the best peripherals, but with the worst results. One might think the righty is due for a decline, but I think he will continue to give a workman-like performance out of the bullpen and tally 68 innings pitched with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP, with most of his appearance coming in the sixth and seventh innings this year.
What is your guess for Guerrier in 2012? Be sure to give us ERA, Innings Pitched, and WHIP in the comments, plus anything else you wish to guess.