The Los Angeles Dodgers have some difficult decisions to make this week concerning their bullpen. They have top-notch Major League Baseball talent in their starting rotation — so good that Aaron Harang may move to the pen or find a new home. But if he simply moves into the bullpen, Javy Guerra suddenly becomes one too many extra right-handers in an overcrowded staff.
Guerra was selected by the Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB draft, and was chosen right out of high school. Guerra spent the next five years moving through the Dodgers farm system. In 2010, he had a 2.33 ERA with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts. In 2011, Guerra started the season with the Lookouts and then on May 15, 2011, he got the call and made his debut for the Dodgers.
He pitched so well in 2011 that he became the Dodgers’ closer and finished with a 2-2 record, 2.31 ERA and 21 saves. Guerra had earned the ninth inning role, and he had firmly planted himself in the Dodgers’ bullpen. But, 2012 was not a good year for Guerra, who eventually lost the closer role to Kenley Jansen.
Right now the Dodgers have Guerra, Jansen, Shawn Tolleson, and Brandon League battling for the eighth and ninth innings. If you add Harang, Chris Capuano, and possibly Ted Lilly with the middle relievers already in the bullpen, some have to go.
They can’t keep everyone, and right now Guerra isn’t the shining star. He could very well be going back down to start 2013.