Monday, July 01, 2013

Notes On The Recently Departed

In the midst of the Dodgers' re-entrance in the NL West race, not to mention the conflagration of Puig-mania that was so meteoric, it led to a city-wide heatwave, there were two designations for assignment from the Dodgers' 2013 roster.

The first DFA was for Dodger opening day third baseman Luis Cruz, who was sent down on June 28:

"Luis just got caught in a box this year," manager Don Mattingly said. "He struggled early and then Juan has swung the bat pretty well. Trying to get him at-bats after that got tougher. He needed at-bats to get out of it, and he wasn't getting those, and we couldn't send him anywhere to get at-bats."

The Dodgers now have 10 days to either place Cruz on waivers, release him or trade him. If Cruz does not land with another Major League club, he could accept an assignment to Triple-A Albuquerque.

"It's not necessarily the end of the road for Luis here, because there's a period of time that he's available to all teams and then he has a choice to make at some point," Mattingly said. "If he doesn't end up in the big leagues with someone, then you hope that he'll end up in Albuquerque, where he has a chance to get some swings. You never know what happens at that point. He could get a chance to come back again and play."

It's a pity for Cruz, who won the job based on his play in the second half of 2012 (in 78 games, .297/.322/.753; a 105 OPS+). However, this year, Cruz has been horrible offensively (OPS+ of -2; that's right, a negative number). Baseball Reference has Cruz' WAR at 2.3 in 2012; it's -0.7 in 2013. With Juan Uribe exceeding (his low) expectations, plus Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker hanging around in a pinch, designating Cruz is disappointing but well overdue. Hopefully, Cruz can stay within the Dodgers organization and get his head screwed on straight.

The other DFA came Sunday June 30, when reliever Matt Guerrier was let go:

Guerrier was 2-3 with a 4.80 ERA in 34 appearances with the Dodgers this season. In three seasons with the club, the right-hander was 6-8 with a 4.24 ERA over 120 games. Guerrier last pitched on Friday, when he allowed three runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings.

"We feel like we're getting better with bringing Chris up," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "Matt is a veteran guy, but we just weren't getting results."

Guerrier was charged with seven runs in 4 1/3 innings over his past five appearances.

"It seemed like he left a lot of balls up in the zone and and didn't seem to be able to locate the ball where he wanted to," Mattingly said.

Guerrier, in the last year of a three-year, $12M deal, is probably not going to get picked up by anyone else given the roughly $1.8M remaining on his 2013 salary. But sending him down reflected his ineffectiveness in the last five games, which saw his ERA balloon to 4.80; but to be fair, his ERA+ of 77 this year is the worst in his ten-year career, and his WHIP of 1.467 this year and H/9 of 9.6 are also near his historical highs.

Guerrier was supposedly not excited by the demotion news. But it's time to start getting some accountability around this clubhouse (not to mention the youth movement that seems to be yielding some dividends, notwithstanding the injection of energy). So I'm sorry for Matt, but much like Cruz, it's probably also well overdue.