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.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.