With nothing to play for the in the standings and only 13 games remaining in their season, the 67-82 Brewers have shut down right-hander Junior Guerra for the year, manager Craig Counsell announced Saturday (Twitter link via Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).
Guerra missed most of August with an elbow injury, but he’s now healthy, Counsell said. Nevertheless, the club has elected to end the 31-year-old rookie’s season after he threw a combined 148 1/3 innings, his most with a major league organization, with Milwaukee and Triple-A Colorado Springs . He could next partake in winter ball.
“That will be discussed,” stated Counsell (Twitter link via Rosiak).
To conclude his year, Guerra spun six shutout innings and allowed five base runners (three hits, two walks) against six strikeouts in a 7-0 win over the Reds on Wednesday. In all, he recorded a sparkling 2.81 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 3.18 BB/9 and 45.3 percent ground-ball rate in 121 2/3 major league innings to serve as an unexpected bright spot this season for the Brewers.
Guerra bounced around the Braves, Mets and White Sox organizations form 2006-15, but he only amassed four major league innings – all of which came in Chicago last season. Amazingly, he didn’t pitch for any major league organizations from 2009-14, instead dividing his time among the Venezuelan Winter League, independent American Assocation and Mexican League. Guerra’s stint with the White Sox led him to the Brewers, who claimed him off waivers from Chicago last October and have since reaped the rewards. Notably, claiming Guerra was general manager David Stearns’ first transaction atop the Milwaukee franchise.
Despite his age, Guerra’s lack of service time means he’s nowhere near free agency and won’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2018 season. That could make him either a cheap candidate to continue in the Brewers’ rotation or a trade chip. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline that the Stearns-led Brewers weren’t in any hurry to deal Guerra and would have wanted a significant haul for him.