JAVY GUERRA, 27 on Halloween, relief pitcher
Final 2012 stats: 2-3, 2.60 ERA, eight saves in 13 opportunities, 1.49 WHIP, 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings, .241 opponents batting average.
Contract status: Under team control.
The good: He had the kind of start the Dodgers expected. He saved his first five games, and seven of his first eight. After a rough stretch that cost him the closer’s spot, came back to allow only one run in his next 16 appearances. Did not allow a run in his final 10 appearances.
The bad: Between those strong stretches came the other variety. Had two rough five-game stretches (13.50 ERA, .571 opponents batting average, April 24-May 6; 6.35, .391, July 18-26). Then there was arthroscopic knee surgery in June, a trip back to the minors and finally an oblique injury that ended his season Sept. 2.
What’s next: If anyone needs a restart, it’s Guerra. He hopes to come back with a healthy knee and oblique, and new approach. It’s unlikely he’ll get another chance at the closer’s role the way Kenley Jansen performed, and particularly if Brandon League is re-signed, but that doesn’t take it out of the realm of possibility.
The take: A year ago, he seemed a veritable godsend, coming out of double-A to become the team’s unexpected closer and earning 21 saves in 23 chances. He had attitude on the mound, and it translated to success.
But when he began to struggle, the Dodgers lost confidence in him, and maybe he in himself; a killer for a closer. Still, he did not sulk over losing the closer’s job and mostly pitched very well. Certainly well enough the Dodgers will plan on him for their 2013 bullpen, and he could still prove the set-up man. He’s still young, still throws hard, still has a bright future.