Will the Rangers bring back Vladimir Guerrero for $9 million?

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Vladimir Guerrero’s poor postseason performance has people questioning if the Rangers should exercise their half of his $9 million mutual option for 2011, but the truth is that should have been in question well before the playoffs even began.

Guerrero went 13-for-59 (.220) with zero homers and a measly .513 OPS in the playoffs, striking out 16 times while drawing just two walks. He looked bad, no doubt, but 59 at-bats shouldn’t be the driving force behind any decision. Unfortunately for Guerrero, he also finished the regular season by hitting just .278/.322/.426 in 69 games after the All-Star break.

And while Guerrero’s strong first-half production made headlines and his 115 RBIs convinced some people that he had an excellent season overall he finished with an .841 OPS in 152 games, which is a) 100 points below his career mark, and b) not particularly great for a terrible defensive outfielder forced to play almost exclusively designated hitter.

Among the 151 players who received enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title this season Guerrero ranked 42nd in OPS. Certainly solid production, but far from special considering that group of 151 players includes guys who also bring something to the table defensively and he posted that .841 OPS in a hitter-friendly ballpark. Guerrero had a .796 OPS away from Texas.

Most of the discussions about whether or not the Rangers should bring back Guerrero for $9 million next season will no doubt focus on his postseason struggles because that came on the biggest stage and is fresh on everyone’s minds, but regardless of what he did in the playoffs the 35-year-old former MVP wasn’t looking like a $9 million player for 2011.

Dodgers upset with Héctor Neris after Thursday’s game

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July hasn’t treated Phillies closer Héctor Neris well. Entering Thursday, he had allowed runs in three of his last four appearances, blowing two saves in the process. His struggles continued as he allowed a two-out solo home run to Alex Verdugo in the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon, closing the deficit to 7-6. Thankfully for the Phillies, he was able to get the final out, getting Justin Turner to fly out to right field. An excited Neris looked into the Dodgers’ dugout and yelled an expletive.

The four-game series between the Dodgers and Phillies had quite some drama. After Matt Beaty hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning on Tuesday, Neris threw a pitch at the next batter, David Freese, seemingly in frustration. Neris was suspended three games. He appealed his punishment, which is why he’s been allowed to pitch. In the fourth inning of Thursday’s game, Max Muncy and Beaty stepped on first baseman Rhys Hoskins‘ ankle on consecutive plays. That, along with his own struggles, explains why Neris might’ve been amped up after closing out the ballgame.

The Dodgers were, understandably, not happy about Neris yelling at them. Several players shouted back, including Clayton Kershaw and Russell Martin. An unamused Muncy glared at Neris. Martin suggested to Neris that they meet in the hallway.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game, “I think we played this series the right way, played it straight. To look in our dugout and to taunt in any way, I think it’s unacceptable. Look in your own dugout.”

Muncy said, “He’s blown about eight saves against us over the last two years. I guess he was finally excited he got one. Whatever.”

Neris attributed his outburst to emotions, saying, “It’s a great win for my team and just I let my emotion get out.”

In baseball, everyone is pro-showing-emotion when it’s himself and his teammates, and against when it’s players on the other team. Muncy got into a back-and-forth with Giants starter Madison Bumgarner after flipping his bat and watching his long home run at Oracle Park last month. Bumgarner jawed at him and Muncy said, “I just told him if he doesn’t want me to watch the ball, go get it out of the ocean.”

Neris, however, is the last guy on the Phillies who should be antagonizing the Dodgers after his terrible decision to throw at Freese, not to mention his overall poor performance against them. The Phillies were pigs in mud who wanted to wrestle and the Dodgers jumped in with them for some reason. Thankfully, the two teams are done playing each other for the rest of the regular season.