Free Agent Stock Watch: Matt Guerrier

Matt Guerrier probably caught a break when the Twins decided not to offer him arbitration earlier this week. Fellow Type As Frank Francisco, Jason Frasor and Grant Balfour all got offers of arbitration and will cost picks, but teams can sign the 32-year-old Guerrier without having to surrender a draft choice. Here's a detailed look at his free agent stock:

The Pros

  • Guerrier led the league in appearances in 2008-09 and pitched in 74 games this past season.
  • He induces more grounders than fly balls.
  • His slider is excellent.
  • Guerrier has a 2.7 K/BB ratio against right-handed hittters in his career. 
  • He has just a 1.5 K/BB ratio against left-handed hitters in his career, but he does induce more groundballs against them (55%).
  • As mentioned earlier, it won't cost a pick to sign Guerrier.

The Cons

  • Defense independent pitching stats like FIP and xFIP suggest Guerrier's 3.17 ERA would have been higher if he had been less lucky in 2010.
  • He posted 5.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 last year. That's not spectacular and both rates were better in 2009.
  • The free agent market is flush with right-handed relievers, so Guerrier won't have much leverage.

The Verdict

The Twins are one of many teams that could use a steady arm like Guerrier's. MLB.com's Kelly Thesier wrote last month that they seem more likely to retain Guerrier and Jesse Crain than their other free agent relievers.

The market has played out favorably for at least one reliever, but Guerrier doesn't have the gaudy numbers that Joaquin Benoit does. Teams will have interest in someone with a history of effectiveness and durability, but I will be surprised if Guerrier earns more than $4-5MM on a one-year deal.


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