GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Reliever Matt Guerrier said he tried too hard last year to prove his worth to the Dodgers.
Signed to a three-year, $12 million deal to be a middle reliever, Guerrier took the ball 70 times. He started the season with nine consecutive scoreless outings, was especially tough against left-handed hitters (.204) and held opposing batters to a .211 average after the All-Star break.
But as the season came to a close, Guerrier told manager Don Mattingly his first year with the Dodgers was a tough one after establishing himself over six seasons with Minnesota.
"I don't think it was about justifying the deal. I'm OK with that. It was more over-trying," said Guerrier. "I felt I had to prove myself to the staff that I was good enough to pitch in every situation. I'm never going to live up to that deal unless I come with a sub-2.00 ERA. ... I didn't feel like, at times, they felt I could do certain things, and I tried extra hard to show them and I think that held me back."
Guerrier said he was healthy the entire season and he had no complaints about the usage, even though his number was called early and often as Vicente Padilla opened the season on the disabled list and Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo struggled.
"I love the use," Guerrier said. "I want to be the guy they go to. I felt like I was early on. I showed I could go out and they could rely on me. I just felt that maybe that changed throughout the season as things progressed. I wasn't as effective as I wanted to be, no matter what anybody said. I wasn't happy. I know I'm better than that. I want them day in and day out to know what they're going to get. It was frustrating for me."