Blog Entry

Guthrie could help Rockies, but how much?

Posted on: February 6, 2012 1:01 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 1:02 pm
The Rockies watched their promising 2011 season collapse because the rotation fell apart.

Not enough starters. Not enough dependable starters.

Jeremy Guthrie, acquired Monday from the Orioles for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, should be an improvement. But is he enough, and is he the right guy for the job?

The Rockies rotation is deeper and more dependable, with the addition of Guthrie, as well as Guillermo Moscoso, Josh Outman and Tyler Chatwood, acquired earlier in the winter. It's still shaky enough, however, that Guthrie could well end up as the opening day starter (Jhoulys Chacin is the other likely option).

That's Guthrie, whose main strength is that he can be depended on for 200 innings a season. It's Guthrie, who the Orioles dealt precisely because they didn't see him as the leader of a staff, someone for their talented younger starters to emulate and take after.

Guthrie is a better fit in Colorado than he was in Baltimore, though, for several reasons:

-- Moving from the American League East to the National League West should help, and even though he'll make half his starts in Coors Field, starting regularly in Petco Park, Dodger Stadium and AT&T Park should help a fly-ball pitcher. Guthrie made 15 career starts in New York and Boston, winning just three of the games.

-- Guthrie, who signed a one-year, $8.2 million contract as part of the trade, should be motivated in his final year before free agency. Also, he's pitching for the team closest to his Utah home. Guthrie already posted a picture of himself in a Tim Tebow Broncos uniform.

-- The Rockies should be a contending team. Guthrie went 30-48 in his last three years with the Orioles, with two 17-loss seasons. He should be excited to be with a team that actually has a chance.

It's a low-cost acquisition for the Rockies, who tried but failed earlier this winter on some free-agent starters (most notably Hiroki Kuroda). Hammel was so inconsistent last summer that the Rockies at one point removed him from the rotation, and while Lindstrom has a good arm, it hasn't translated into great success.

Between them, Hammel and Lindstrom were set to make even more money than Guthrie this year, so the trade fits the Rockies budget-wise, as well.

What do the Orioles get out of it?

That's harder to see, since neither Hammel nor Lindstrom figures to be part of the long-term plan in Baltimore (and the Orioles hardly have a short-term plan for contending).

One way to look at it: As long as Guthrie was there, he was going to be the veteran starter that Orioles kids like Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton would watch. As long as Guthrie was there, he was going to be the focal point of the rotation.

When Pat Gillick took over the Phillies, he traded away veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, in a move that allowed guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to become the dominant personalities in the clubhouse. The Orioles want Arrieta and Britton to lead their rotation, and that may not happen as quickly when there's a guy who has been there as long as Guthrie had.

Should the Orioles have gotten more for a 200-inning pitcher with a good arm? That's easy to say, but when they put Guthrie on the market last July, there were no takers. There was little trade interest in him this winter, either.

The Rockies had followed him since late last season, though, and they saw him as an upgrade.

He should be an upgrade. The question is whether it will make enough of a difference.


Since: Oct 26, 2007
Posted on: February 6, 2012 5:15 pm

Guthrie could help Rockies, but how much?

AZperson, while the Rockies do not have a rotation that stacks up with the D-Backs, they do have a lineup that will score a lot of runs this year. They tave the best lineup in the NL West. That will take some pressure off of the rotation. Since you were referring to the standings at the end of last year- everything that could go wrong for the Rockies went wrong, and everything that could go right for the D-Backs went right. We'll take our chances and see how things go this year. We have guys in the minors as well and acquired more new arms than will fit in the rotation. Plus, DLR will be returning by the end of May or beginning of June to give a big boost to the rotation and Nicasion may make the rotation out of Spring Training, just 7 months after having suffered a C-1 fracture. He is said to be pitching better than ever. So our prospects for a good season are looking considerably rosier than you painted them. I, for one, would be happy to see anybody but the D- Backs win the division this year, especially us.

Since: Feb 6, 2012
Posted on: February 6, 2012 4:49 pm

Guthrie could help Rockies, but how much?

I'm having a lot of trouble seeing how Guthrie is seen as "dependable" beyond just staying healthy.  Yes, he's logged 200 innings the past three seasons, but how many of those innings came in losing efforts that weren't only attributable to run support?  He's lead the AL in loses over the past three seasons and last year alone had 8 outings of 5 IP and and at least 5 ER... so what does that tell us? Buck had no faith in his bullpen and left Guthrie out much longer than most managers would have -- If he's anywhere else, he's lucky to break 180.  Hammels has much better stuff and is more of a groundball pitcher (very valuable in Coors).  Not to mention that Guthrie is 32.  Oh, and the Rox give up a power right arm... Not sure how this improves the club.

Since: Nov 8, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2012 3:32 pm

Guthrie could help Rockies, but how much?


Buffalo Bob
Since: Dec 11, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:57 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: May 19, 2007
Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:45 pm

Guthrie could help Rockies, but how much?

I'd compare Guthrie to the D'backs Joe Saunders. Both are usually described as 200 innings eaters. Both are regarded as the veteran on a young staff. Their stat lines are similar, especially if adjusted for the fact that Guthrie pitched in the AL East, vs. Saunders in the NL West. Note the implications of this comparison for the teams involved...Guthrie could be the Opening Day starter for the Rockies, whereas Saunders is at the back end of the D'backs staff as the #5 starter! Saunders is keeping a spot warm for young studs Bauer, Skaggs, Corbett, Smiley, Brewer, Braddley, etc., one of whom will replace him by mid-season, unless they prove to be ready out of Spring Training! So the implications for their teams are that the D'backs have a strong starting rotation to compete in the NL West (some think for a WS berth), but the Rockies don't have a staff strong enough to keep them out of the cellar in the NL West!

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: February 6, 2012 2:39 pm

Guthrie could help Rockies, but how much?

The Orioles traded their most reliable pitcher for two reliable punching bags. Typical Orioles move, sure to help keep them laughingstock of the A.L. indefinitely. How many years since these boobs have had a winning season? 15? 20? Oh, the stench.

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