Categorized | Mark Timmons

Face It – Dodgers Have a Closer Problem

I am not generally one to second-guess managers, especially ones that are my homeboys, but what the heck was Don Mattingly thinking?

Javy Guerra was having trouble BEFORE he got hit in the face.  Yes, it was gutsy that Guerra stayed in the game.  Yes, it was great that Don was showing his confidence in Guerra,  but he was struggling before and AFTER anyone gets hit in the face, they are going to be rattled a little (at best).  Donnie Ballgame should have immediately taken him out and bought in Lindbloom.  He gave a game away.  The fact of the matter is that Javy Guerra is responsible for HALF of the Dodgers losses this year.

On February 19th, I wrote this:

Javy Guerra will be supplanted by Kenley Jansen as the Dodgers closer (in fact, I can see a big regression with Guerra…  and I hope I am wrong).

Well, I was right… and wrong too.  I was right about Guerra, who I still think is a good middle guy, but I am wrong about Jansen – he’s not ready to be a closer.  He has one pitch:  a fastball with a lot of late movement, but until he adds another solid pitch, he’ll look bad at times.  The Dodgers don’t have a closer on this team.  Maybe Tolleston is one, maybe Eovaldi is one.  The Dodgers are looking for a closer, no matter how much Donnie says he has confidence in Javy.

The Dodgers are being extremely smart in limiting Nate Eovaldi to a single inning his last two starts.  They are trying to limit his innings until later in the season when he is going to be needed on the big club.  They did the same thing to Clayton Kershaw.  Nate could start or relieve later this season.  My guess is that unless a starter goes down, he will relieve.  In fact, I would not be surprised to see him this week.

Ronnie Belisario is starting his minor league assignment.  Who knows how he will pitch?  I have no clue…  Don’t forget that RDLR could be ready in a couple of months to help in the bully.

Ned Colletti is actively shopping for a bat.  1B, LF and 3B are the obvious positions.  It’s going to cost him some really good prospects.  Uribe and Loney better take note…


  • Hiroki Kuroda is 1-3 with a 4.38 ERA for the Yankees.  I still say the Dodgers are better off with Harang and Capuano, even though Harang has struggled to date.  It was two for the price of one.
  • Russell Martin continues to regress – he is hitting .182 with 1 HR and 4 RBI.
  • The vaunted Angels are trash so far, as Matt Kemp has double the HR’s of Pujols, Morales, Wells, and Hunter.  They are paying those four nearly $60 million this year.  Ouch!  I wonder if Scoisca will keep his job?  You can’t fire the players.

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

12 Responses to “Face It – Dodgers Have a Closer Problem”

  1. Jae says:

    I think you are spot on. Closer is an immediate need. Javy is a nice pitcher but we all know he was extremely lucky last year. Are there any closers available for trade?

  2. DRomo says:

    I absolutely agree with Mark here. But I will say this. Donnie is smart enough that he knows the closer role is an issue. He is also smart enough to NOT say it to the press. This early in the season like it or not you can not make daily changes to the teams routine. Guerra is well on his way to losing this closer role and Jansen is no lock to take it over no matter how dominate he looks in the 8th.

    Be it Eovaldi (who I love as a starter) or Tolleson. They to have never closed in the big leagues. It would be a roll of the dice weather they get it done. And at what cost? Say they fail. Do you crush a kids confidence? I don’t know the answer.

    As for trading for a closer…. No way. Everyone is looking for one right now. Boston, Anaheim, Cincinnati, etc. No one is out there unless you pay a kings ransom.

    To Mark’s point about Kuroda’s record I agree here too. I loved Kuroda but for the price and what is reasonable to expect from him, it was time to move on. I think he is dead on here, Lerch (AKA Harrang) and Capuano can give us the same as Hiroki did.

    Ned said the other day that he wants to pursue a bat.
    There is no question it will be at 1B, 3B or LF. But what I am interested in is, WHO? Who is out there? Jason Bay (salary dump)? I heard Mark Reynolds on the MLB network (HELL NO!) I don’t know who is available. But I do KNow Ned will do something and this time around sending a prospect in leiu of taking on salary will not be an issue. That is good news for us fans.

    I am agreeing too much with Mark here. What the hell is wrong with me?

  3. RogerCraig says:

    You are getting smarter in your old age. ;)

  4. Bobby says:

    I do think kid closers can come up and take over the closing job right away, IF they’ve been closing every step thru the minors on their way up!

    That Atl closer is filthy. He came up last year, and won rookie of the year with his 46 saves.

    Tolleson has completely dominated and at least has the closer mental makeup to come in and close. Jansen hasnt done it; hence he might not be mentally ready.

    Eavoldi has been a starter; not sure how mentally he could handle it (maybe he can)

  5. DRomo says:

    Adam Wainwright came up in 2006 with St. Louis and dominated as a closer even though he was a starter in the minors. He closed in OCT, won the WS w/ the Cards then they put him back in the rotation. Could this be a path for Eovaldi?

    Its a good problem to have I suppose (young arms). We shall see.

  6. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I haven’t totally given up on Guerra. Seems to me that I saw more breaking balls from him earlier on to complement his fastball. And I also have little doubt that Jansen could close. As for Eovaldi, I think his role with the Dodgers this year will be based on need. He can be an effective starter, but I also think he could be effective in a late inning role (7th, 8th, 9th). With Lindblom and even Belisario in the picture, I don’t think the Dodgers have a severe late inning problem. Tolleson? Maybe. I’ll have to see him before developing an opinion. Maybe even Elbert can string together some effective innings. He’s got potential, but we all know that “potential” is just a word.

    I’m not so sure why people think that RDLR is suddenly going to come back and step into an important bullpen role (not just Mark, because I’ve heard this before. And I’m mindful that Mark qualified his remarks, and correctly so, with “could be ready”). Let’s remember, he had his surgery at the end of last year. It’s less than a year for a process that generally takes 12-18 months. Yes, he’s young, but he’s also not Superman. Steven Strasberg (also young), if memory serves, had his surgery at the end of 2010, and only came back late last year for some token appearances at the end of the season. Starting this year he was about 18 months removed from his surgery. I wouldn’t expect RDLR back any sooner. And also, keep in mind, if RDLR was put into a significant role at mid-season this year, he would be pitching stressful innings, which is not what Strasburg did last year at the end of the season.

    For me, the greatest need is for the Dodgers to find consistent hitting and some pop at the infield corners, most especially 3B. Uribe is hopeless, and I have my doubts about Loney. And I’m also not thrilled about LF. Perhaps between a deal or two, and a call-up or two from the farm system, those problems can be solved. Hopefully, new ownership takes over next week, checkbook in hand, and a clear plan moving forward.

    In the meantime, the Dodgers are between 3-4 games in front of the Giants, Rockies and D-Backs. None of those teams is likely to run away from the rest of the West, so I think the Dodgers have time to get things in place. Besides, with whatever issues the Dodgers have, so too do their division rivals also have issues of their own. There is no greater truth than IT’S A LONG SEASON.

  7. Michael says:

    Have to think that Stan isn’t going to let Ned make any more bonehead moves.
    Speaking of gas cans, MacDougal and his are being Wally Pipp[ed] in favor of Nate E. A few bullpen stints will keep Nathan fresh when in all likelyhood a member of the rotation goes down at some point.
    I think Bills could[and/or should]be an excellent closer. Despite a couple of excellent starts this year his track record speaks for itself. With a tendecy to lose it 2nd or 3rd time thru the order he has generally been lights out at the getgo. I think it’s a match made in heaven, or I mean Hollywood.
    I hereby give Javy the moniker “Ironjaw”

  8. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    The difference between Eovaldi and Adam Wainwright is that Eovaldi is 22, and Wainwright was a more mature 25 when he came up to the Cardinals in 2006.

  9. jeff says:

    If the Twins and Padres continue to float around the bottom of their divisions. I would like to see the Dodgers make a run at Headley, Willingham and Morneau. Not sure what it would take to get any or all of them but it would solve alot of problems in one shot. I also think Brandon Inge would be a better option than Adam Kennedy.

  10. Roger Dodger says:

    Remember something about last night . . . the Dodgers were playing a first class team. They have some hitters.

    Just maybe a few adjustments with Guerra first before trading several prospects away for someone else that another team is willing to give up on.

    Also, the Dodgers could bring in the best reliever, but if they cannot score more runs — the win loss stat will not improve that much.

    There is still a lot of fixing that is needed on this roster.

    • RogerCraig says:

      Regardless of how many runs they have scored, they were in position to have only 3 losses this season. They gave the ball to Javy and he didn’t do what he was supposed to do.

      They now have 6 loses.


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