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.
Long-time rotation mainstay Tom Koehler was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans on Monday and reliever Hunter Cervenka was recalled, the Marlins announced.
Koehler, 31, made 131 starts out of the Marlins’ rotation over the last five years, but his 12 this season have not been good, so the club hopes he can figure things out with a stint in the minors. He’s carrying a 7.92 ERA with a 44/29 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. Koehler battled bursitis in his right shoulder in May and June, which may partially explain his struggles.
Cervenka, 27, posted a 4.50 ERA with a 34/21 K/BB ratio in 34 innings of relief with New Orleans. He hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season, but compiled a 3.53 ERA over 43 1/3 innings in the bigs last year in the Marlins’ bullpen.
At the trade deadline, relief pitching is the name of the game and one of the names clearly available is Pat Neshek. Today Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the Nationals, Dodgers, and Red Sox are among the clubs who are closely scouting the Phillies reliever. Last week Ken Rosenthal reported that the Brewers and Rays were involved as well.
Neshek is an impending free agent, so he may come cheaper than Justin Wilson or some of the other bullpen arms available right now. The All-Star is 36 and is posting a fantastic season, featuring a 1.12 ERA and 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40.1 innings this season.