Right-handed relief pitcher Javy Guerra is a 2004 fourth-round draft pick out of Billy Ryan High School and has spent time as closer of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made his debut in 2011, where he quickly caught on and saved 21 games in 47 appearances. Guerra began 2012 as the closer, but lost his job by May and was in the minor leagues before the year was over. This year, Guerra will need to make the team out of the spring, or he could see his time in Los Angeles run out because he no longer has any options, meaning he would have to clear waivers in order to be sent to the minor leagues.
In his early season call-up last year, Guerra struggled and was ineffective, allowing runs in five of his nine appearance. His WHIP hovered around 2.00 and he was quickly sent back down the Triple-A. With the Albuquerque Isotopes, the 28-year-old appeared in 27 games, including four starts, and finished with a 3.40 ERA. He had 36 strikeouts in 39.1 innings and was a capable arm for the ‘Topes.
In camp, Guerra will be fighting for a spot in a strong, but already crowded bullpen for the Dodgers. He’ll be up against Brandon League, Chris Withrow, Paco Rodriguez, Jose Dominguez and others for the last spot in the bullpen. A strong spring by Guerra, as well as an implosion by League, could be enough to get Guerra at least a shot to redeem himself with the team. His past experience will give him a small advantage and if he can prove his stuff and maturity are improved, the Dodgers may decide to keep him around.
Guerra is under team control until the 2018 season; however, he may be claimed off waivers if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster and could be picked up by another team.
2014 Prediction: A year in the minor leagues may have woken up the right-hander and could be the catalyst in a much-improved Guerra, but the fact of the matter is that he needs too much to go right to make the Opening Day roster. The off-season signings of Chris Perez, Jamey Wright and Paul Maholm essentially closed the door on any extra men in the bullpen. Guerra will battle this spring, and at best, could make the trip to Australia as part of the 30-man roster, but expect the former closer to hit the waiver wire and likely get picked up by another team.
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