Javy Guerra was given the opportunity to open the season as the Dodgers’ closer after posting a 2.31 ERA and 21 saves in 23 chances last year, but most felt it was only a matter of time before Kenley Jansen would stake his claim on the role. That time is now.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly just announced that Guerra has been formally demoted from the closer role and Jansen will take over.
Guerra blew his third save of the season yesterday, giving up one run on two hits and a walk in an eventual extra-inning loss to the Cubs. The 26-year-old right-hander has allowed eight earned runs over 12 1/3 innings (12 1/3 innings) so far this year after allowing just 12 earned runs in 46 2/3 innings last year.
While Guerra has struggled in the early going, Jansen has picked up from where he left off in 2010 and 2011 by posting a 2.70 ERA and 27/7 K/BB ratio across 16 2/3 innings. It was a nice luxury to have him available for high-leverage situations in a set-up capacity, but the hard-throwing right-hander has the kind of electric stuff to hold down the closer gig for a long time.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.