GM Ned Colletti just signed Matt Guerrier to a massive (for a reliever at least) 3-year, $12 million deal.
Guerrier’s FIP the last three years was 5.08, 4.35, and 4.23. His xFIP was 4.58, 4.31, 4.53. His WAR was -0.4, 0.4, and 0.2.
Uncle Ned strikes again!
According to Fangraphs, the market is currently paying about $5 million for each 1 WAR these days. Guerrier has produced a total of 0.2 WAR over the past three seasons. At that rate, Guerrier should have been signed to a 3-year, $1 million deal.
Unfortunately, that would be below the major-league minimum, however.
The point is that a guy like Guerrier can be almost completely replaced by whichever reliever is the best you can scrounge from your minor leagues or among the minor league free agents.
If I were a major league GM, the best I would offer Guerrier is a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. I’d be happy to pay for a reliever, but only for a guy who has shown he can consistently produce at a level significantly above replacement. Guys like Guerrier are a dime a dozen.
Also, people keep talking about how Guerrier led the American League in games pitched over the past 4 seasons as if this is a huge plus, but to me that is a glaring minus as it signals that he is due for a breakdown sometime soon.
Since the beginning of the 2007 season, Guerrier has appeared in 302 games, second in the major leagues only to Pedro Feliciano. But Feliciano is a left-handed relief specialist who tended to pitch only partial innings, whereas Guerrier was a set-up man who usually threw whole innings at a time.
There is a reason why most teams don’t ask their relievers to throw that much. Human arms just aren’t meant to pitch 90 mph that often, which is why it was insane of Colletti to hand Guerrier a 3-year deal for so much guaranteed money.
I certainly wish the best of luck to both Matt Guerrier and the Dodgers with regard to his ability to finish out his 3 years in good health. But I wouldn’t put money on it.