Blog Entry

Making sense of a non-sensical Orioles trade

Posted on: February 7, 2012 12:29 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:10 pm
 

There's been a lot of wonderment about why the Orioles would trade their perennial Opening Day starter, Jeremy Guthrie, for two lesser veteran pitchers who together make more money. It is perplexing, no question about that.

But here's my guess as to what caused them to do this seemingly nonsensical move ...

The Orioles just didin't love Guthrie.

It is, of course, possible that they just messed up and made a dumb deal. They've done it before. But in this case, I don't think so. I just don't think they had any great desire to have Guthrie lead their staff again.

Guthrie seems like a pleasant fellow, and he certainly is a smart guy (Stanford man). But there were whispers that the Orioles saw him as being slightly satisfied (one Orioles person remarked to me last spring that you could never tell from the way he carried himself that he only had 38 career victories) and perhaps not as tough a fellow as they'd like for their staff ace, either. Perhaps that is why they were so intent on trading him. And considering the take (Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom), I have to assume they were pretty intent.

Orioles GM Dan Duquette went on the airwaves Monday and said the Rockies' package was "by far'' the best offer they had for Guthrie. And I believe that. Even taking less than the midpoint to go to contender nor far from where he lives in Utah, as Guthrie did in going to Colorado, $8.2 million is still a big salary for someone with now 47 career victories.

Duquette pointed out that they could keep Hammel and Lindstrom for two years, not one, as if this was a big selling point. But I think Orioles people just felt it was time to move on. And if they thought that was the case, it probably was.


Comments

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Making sense of a non-sensical Orioles trade

15 wins for Guthrie? Seriously? I put the over under at 12. His inability to strikeout batters will kill him. Giving up a hit per inning will not help either. Everyone points out how the spacious ball parks in the NL West will help. That could be so, but to what degree? The same can be said about the Rockies lineup. He has that to back him, but he is also on par to pitch against Lincecum-Cain, Kershaw-Billingsley, and Kennedy-Hudson. This isn't exactly the right time to be atop the pitching rotation of the Rockies and Padres.   

I don't understand where you're coming from with your analysis of Guthrie, but let me tell you what I believe to be true.  First of all, any pitcher in the A.L that has over 1 thousand innings under his belt and a career 4.19 era is a very good pitcher.  But the fact he did this pitching in the A.L East is pretty impressive.   His career whip of 1.29 isn't great, but it certainly isn't bad and there are a lot worse whips out there.  Is he an ace?  No, but regardless of his 8 million dollar salary he's not being paid like an ace.  People need to look around the league and see what a veteran ace makes, the key word being "veteran".  I say that because if a pitcher isn't even arbitration eligible yet then his salary is very decieving.  I know 8 million dollars is a lot of money, but on the open market in MLB for a quality starter for a veteran like Guthrie it's market value. 

By the way in 3 of his last 5 seasons his era was under 4, between 3.60 and around 3.80 which is even better then his career era.  His average whip those 3 years was around 1.20 which is very good as well, aside from star pitchers that's as good as you're gonna get. The only thing I'm not sure of is how he's going to adjust to the thin air in Colorado and how that park will affect his stats.  I read somewhere that 67 percent of Guthrie's outs are fly balls, I'm not sure if that'll hurt him in Colorado or how it's gonna pan out.

Do some research and you'll see there aren't many veteran MLB pitchers with a thousand innings and a 4.19 era that aren't starting on a regular basis in MLB and making a fortune doing it.  A hit per inning against isn't great, but when you only give up 2.7 walks per inning which equates to less then 2 walks per average start in Guthrie's case the hits don't hurt as bad. 



Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: February 7, 2012 3:40 pm
 

Making sense of a non-sensical Orioles trade

thank you, john.  i have been pondering this trade all night (i know...get a life). there really is no upside to either team on this
deal. MAYBE...the orioles have a decent addition to their bullpen, but if lindstrom is so wonderful, why does he keep getting
traded?

i see this as one of those "maybe a change of scenery will help" moves...nothing more. (akin to a hail mary pass).

since neither team is likely to produce playoff teams this year, chalk this trade up to "a GM needs to look like he's actively looking
to improve his team even when he's not."





Since: Sep 14, 2006
Posted on: February 7, 2012 3:14 pm
 

Making sense of a non-sensical Orioles trade

15 wins for Guthrie? Seriously? I put the over under at 12. His inability to strikeout batters will kill him. Giving up a hit per inning will not help either. Everyone points out how the spacious ball parks in the NL West will help. That could be so, but to what degree? The same can be said about the Rockies lineup. He has that to back him, but he is also on par to pitch against Lincecum-Cain, Kershaw-Billingsley, and Kennedy-Hudson. This isn't exactly the right time to be atop the pitching rotation of the Rockies and Padres.   



Since: Jan 11, 2012
Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:53 pm
 

Making sense of a non-sensical Orioles trade

Guthrie's Good Start totals for the last five years were 17, 18, 12, 20, 17.  These totals are not worthy of being an ace.  They are quality totals for a 3-4 starter on a winning team.  I enjoy watching Guthrie pitch very much, mid-low 90's fastball, nice slider, and a couple other backup pitches.  Maybe his mental makeup is not ace-like, so I hope the Rockies just tuck him deep in the rotation and let him win 15 games for them.  

On a side note, Guthrie's pitching reminds me of Jaret Wright.  That kid made the same crazy mistake as J.D. Drew, John Burkett, and a handful of others.  Fairly average careers, go to Atlanta, HAVE A CAREER YEAR, and then decide they'll go ahead and sign on to a big market team for money....and watch their careers disappear.  

On another side note, I would find it very interesting to compile a list of careers that effectively ended by trying to play in NY as a Yankee.  I am extremely impressed by anyone who can succeed as a Yankee.  Jack McDowell, Jim Abbott,  Tim Leary, Terry Mullholand, Kenny Rogers (almost - was good before, had two HORRIBLE seasons, then revived career long-term), Hideki Irabu, Chuck Knoblauch, Denny Neagle (sort of), Jason Giambi, Jeff Weaver, Kevin Brown (I know he was old, but he went from totally dominant the previous year to being done with his career the next...with the Yankees), Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa (scouts SAID he was major league material), Joba Chamberlain, A.J. Burnett.  Lots of pitchers...

Even David Cone, Jimmy Key, and Orlando Hernandez were injured WAY too much while they were Yankees, even though they won.  

Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina all won as Yankees, but had DRASTICALLY worse numbers while pitching there.  

If I was a player, I wouldn't sign with the Yankees unless I really considered myself extremely mentally tough.  And if I was the Yankees, I wouldn't sign anyone who wasn't....extremely mentally tough.  

Atlanta seems to have the flip side of this.  People go there and have career years, yet the team also wins.  I wonder what the deal is with that.  Of course, there are counter-examples: Paul Byrd, John Thompson, Mike Hampton (although the last two had good years before injuries).  



Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:44 pm
 

Making sense of a non-sensical Orioles trade

I think the real reason is hopefully for the O's, pass the torch to the younger guys such as Arrieta and Brittain (and maybe Matusz and Tillman). Let them step up together and grow as a staff. It can be quite special if they come up together and pull together.




Since: Dec 13, 2011
Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:40 pm
 

Making sense of a non-sensical Orioles trade

Not sure if this article was meant to offer insight, but if that was the case, I seem to have missed it. Summed up, seems to say "they traded Guthrie and we don't know why? Maybe it was time". Thanks for that - an article as inspirational as the O's pitching.



Since: Mar 13, 2009
Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:40 pm
 

Making sense of a non-sensical Orioles trade

Or you could find someone to lose 17 games ... How exactly to you "loose" 17 games?




Since: Feb 7, 2012
Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:21 pm
 

Making sense of a non-sensical Orioles trade

He is a great guy, but he always finds a way to pitch just good enough to loose. It takes talent to loose 17 games 2 out of 3 years. Then to ask for a raise to double your salary. We can pay a major league minimum to have someone loose 17 games!



Since: Feb 7, 2012
Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:59 pm
 

Making sense of a nonsencial Orioles trade

This trade makes perfect sense to me. Like you suggest, Guthrie just isn't that good. His value was way lower than O's fan think it was. All of the moves they've made this offseason tell me that they are telling the young arms that it is now or never to win a spot in this rotation. They picked up a bunch of pitchers to compete for a spot, letting them know that they are not guaranteed a job on this team like they were last year. Dropping Guthrie motivates them to work to be the staff ace. The fate of this team depends entirely on the starting rotation, as it did last year; the lineup is pretty solid. Matusz, Britton, Arrietta and Tillman all have the talent to have good careers in the majors. If they don't show a major improvement from last season, I believe Duquette will want to gut the team by July and build around Wieters, Bundy, and Machado. We can only hope Mr. Angelos lets him do what is needed.



Since: Nov 14, 2008
Posted on: February 7, 2012 1:34 pm
 

Making sense of a nonsencial Orioles trade

So they didn't like Guthrie's smug attitude and didn't want him to be their ace. Some would say a good GM would go out and get a better ace, keep Guthrie as a #2 or #3 guy (since he's still clearly worthy of a spot in the rotation), and improve the team. But not Baltimore! Their plan is to get rid of him and replace him with two lesser pitchers. I love the Orioles. If it weren't for them, the Blue Jays (my team) would have nobody to look down on.


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