Dodgers To Sign Set-Up Man Matt Guerrier

The Dodgers picked up relief pitcher Matt Guerrier who had been non-tendered by Minnesota. Russell Martin signed with the Yankees for less money than offered by the Dodgers and catcher Dioner Navarro officially signed a contract with Los Angeles.

The Guerrier signing adds a solid piece to the roster. General manager Ned Colletti's focus has been depth, which is evident with his recent moves.

Guerrier led the league in appearances in 2008-09 and pitched in 73 games in 2007 and 74 games this past season. Not only durable, he is a ground ball pitcher with a career 2.7 K/BB ratio against righties. That figure drops against lefties (1.5 K/BB), but he induces more ground balls against them. He posted solid ratios of 5.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 last year, but both rates were better in 2009.

The Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays had also expressed interest in the 32-year-old this offseason.

Guerrier has been with Minnesota his entire major league career after signing his first contract with the Chicago White Sox as a 10th round selection of the 1999 draft. He had been drafted by Kansas City in 1996 but didn't sign. Chicago traded him to Pittsburgh in 2002 for Edwin Yan and Damasco Marte and Minnesota grabbed him on waivers from the Pirates in 2003. He was granted free agency by Minnesota on November 1, 2010.

He has a career ERA of 3.38, over 393 games and 472 innings. He recording a 3.17 mark last season.

However, he's shown some signs of decline at age 32, as his strikeouts per nine innings have dropped from 7.0 in 2007-2008 to 5.4 in 2009-2010. His fastball velocity was also down about one mile per hour this year and Guerrier is a fly-ball pitcher whose secondary numbers (strikeouts, walks, ground-ball rate) have never been quite as strong as his ERAs. Los Angeles is getting a very capable, durable setup man, but the three-year commitment is a risky one.

Did Martin Miscalculate?
Russell Martin signed with Yankees for lower base salary than he turned down from Dodgers. He'll earn $4 million in base salary, which is less guaranteed money than Los Angeles reportedly offered ($4.2 million upfront and another $1.5 million in potential incentives), while Martin is said to have insisted on at least $5 million guaranteed.

The question is, did Martin wanted a fresh start after five seasons with the Dodgers or did he miscalculated his market value coming off a fractured hip and back-to-back down years.

General manager Ned Colletti said on the team's discussion with Martin, "It's been difficult to come to terms in a lot of ways. I don't want to guess what they're thinking, where their heart is or what the financial goal is. I told him we're going to keep doing business. We still have interest in bringing him back, but at some point in time there will be no chairs left."

Apparently, either the chairs ran out or Martin did.

The Dodgers received 22-year-old Dioner Navarro from the Arizona Diamondbacks with LHP Danny Muegge, RHP William Juarez and RHP Beltran Perez for Shawn Green in January, 2005. On June 27, 2006, Navarro was traded to Tampa Bay, along with a player to be named later (OF Justin Ruggiano) and RHP Jae Weong Seo for catcher Toby Hall, LHP Mark Hendrickson and cash. The Los Angeles Dodgers sent (July 19, 2006) to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to complete the trade.

Navarro, who will be 27 next season, had an OPS (on-base+slugging) of .658, .641, .757 (as an All-Star in 2008), .583 and 528 with the Rays. He was limited to 124 at-bats last year, left off the Rays playoff roster and went home immediately.

Martinez to the Phillies?
Pedro Martinez's base salary with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009 was $1 million, when the three-time Cy Young winner went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA. Now the NY Daily News reports

With the Phillies perhaps looking to dump 45-year-old starter Joe Blanton and his hefty 2011 salary, there would be plenty of room to sign Martinez to an incentive-rich contract similar to the one he inked with Philly in 2009.

The three-time Cy Young winner didn't pitch in 2010, but Martinez recently told the Daily News that he has not lost his desire nor competitiveness. "I'll have to try it again," Martinez said at Red Sox slugger David Ortiz's celebrity golf tournament in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, this month when asked if he would like to pitch in 2011.

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