With the Milwaukee Brewers in town, there is plenty of focus this weekend on the San Diego Padres and their trade history. However, while all eyes might be on the Josh Hader portion of the transaction log over the next few days, there is another current Milwaukee reliever that could have certainly made a difference in the San Diego bullpen had the team decided to keep him.
This San Diego Padres trade could be a big regret in 2023
As the Brewers and Padres continue their four-game series this weekend at Petco Park, don't forget about former San Diego reliever Javy Guerra sitting in the Milwaukee bullpen. Acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays for cash considerations just over one year ago, Guerra has been a stable force for the Brewers early in the season, appearing in six games (6.1 innings) with a 2.84 ERA/4.34 FIP/1.421 WHIP.
In his 27 games over four seasons in a Padres uniform, Guerra certainly didn't put up numbers that would impress, logging a cumulative 8.46 ERA and 1.880 WHIP in 27.2 innings. However, his FIP of 5.47 suggests there was some back luck mixed in there as well.
Those numbers are just some of the reasons why Guerra was designated for assignment by the Padres, starting him on his path to the Rays, who then swapped him to the Brewers for a player to be named later in November.
However, early 2023 Guerra has looked like a different pitcher, thanks in part to a slider he is throwing more than ever in his career. It's a pitch that has an average of 6.8 inches horizontal break each time it's thrown, making it one of the pitches with the most movement in that category per Baseball Savant. Mix that with a fastball that has averaged 98 mph this season and it's easy to see why Guerra has found early success in 2023.
And that follows a 2022 campaign with the Rays where Guerra logged a 3.38 ERA/5.30 FIP/1.313 WHIP in 16.0 innings of work.
Sure, it's early and it's a small sample size but, based on his last 22.1 combined innings of stable relief for two teams outside of southern California, there is plenty of reason to believe that the Padres could have used this version of Guerra in 2023.