Tag:Jeremy Guthrie
Posted on: February 6, 2012 1:01 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 1:02 pm

Guthrie could help Rockies, but how much?

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.

Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: July 29, 2011 11:27 am

3 to Watch: The trade deadline edition

The starting pitching market is weak, so when news spread that Erik Bedard would come off the disabled list to start for the Mariners Friday night, scouts around baseball started calling their travel agents.

The Yankees and Red Sox are both expected to have scouts at Safeco Field to see Bedard. The Tigers will be there, too.

Scouts who saw Bedard before he got hurt reported that he looked close to his old self. He's been a successful pitcher when healthy, winning 15 games for the Orioles in 2006 and compiling a 3.64 ERA in 159 career games.

And he hasn't started more than 15 games in a season since 2007 (although Friday's start will be his 16th for the Mariners this year).

The good news on Bedard is that he was on the DL because of a knee problem, rather than an arm problem. Then again, Jarrod Washburn only had a leg problem when the Tigers acquired him from the Mariners in 2009, and he was a disaster in Detroit.

The Washburn experience makes the Tigers hesitant on Bedard, but with their desperation to find a starter and with the weak market, they'll have a scout there, anyway.

It should be quite a weekend around the big leagues, with the non-waiver trade deadline arriving at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The Tigers will also have a scout watching Orioles at Yankees, Friday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium, with Jeremy Guthrie starting for the O's. Guthrie has long been on the Tigers' list of possible targets, but he has rarely pitched well with Tiger scouts in the house. The Orioles have also been asking a high price for Guthrie, but again, on this market, anything's possible. A.J. Burnett starts for the Yankees, who have also been out shopping for starting pitchers. The Yankees keep hoping that Burnett will look like a true No. 2 starter behind CC Sabathia, but they also keep watching Ubaldo Jimenez, who may be better.

2. Bedard is the main attraction in Rays at Mariners, Friday night (10:10 ET) at Safeco Field, but it's worth noting that Jeff Niemann starts for the Rays. The Rays have told teams that they won't move James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson or David Price, but Niemann and Wade Davis are much more available. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Rays offered Niemann to the Cardinals as part of a package for Colby Rasmus. The Tigers were offered Niemann, as well. They turned him down once, but they'll get another look when he faces Bedard.

3. Jimenez has always been the biggest name on this market. The Rockies claim that they will keep him if they don't get a great offer, but they would claim that no matter what, right? We'll see by Sunday, or maybe even by the time Jimenez is scheduled to start in Rockies at Padres, Saturday night (8:35 ET) at Petco Park. Aaron Harang, the scheduled starter for San Diego, is also available, and has been a possibility for the Tigers, Indians and others.

Posted on: July 28, 2011 3:43 pm

In weak pitching market, Kuroda is a star

The fact that Hiroki Kuroda has emerged as one of the biggest names on the starting pitching market tells you all you need to know about that market.

Kuroda is 37 years old. He's a free agent at the end of the year, with very little chance of re-signing with any team he is traded to. He has won just six of his 21 starts this year (and none of his last four). The Dodgers won't just give him away; in fact, they're targeting top prospects for him.

Oh, and he has a full no-trade clause, and there's much doubt (and some debate) about where he'd be willing to go -- if anywhere.

"At this point, I can't imagine myself wearing another uniform," Kuroda told reporters after his start Wednesday night.

Sounds like a perfect guy to go get.

But in a marketplace where the Rockies are holding out for a huge return on Ubaldo Jimenez, where the Rays insist to teams that they won't trade James Shields, where the Mariners won't discuss Felix Hernandez and probably won't even trade Doug Fister ("Zero chance they move him," said one official from an interested team), Kuroda has started to look good.

The Tigers seem to have him at the top of their shrinking wish list, which began with dozens of names and now may be down to Kuroda, Jeremy Guthrie and Aaron Harang.

The Yankees, not thrilled about the price on Jimenez, remain involved on Kuroda.

Same goes for the Red Sox, who are telling teams they are focused on getting a right-handed hitting outfielder, but remain active with both Jimenez and Kuroda.

According to sources, the Dodgers continue to believe that Kuroda will eventually agree to go somewhere, with New York and Boston thought to be his top two picks.

"You'd think he'd be glad to go somewhere where they might score him a run," said one interested scout, noting that the Dodgers have scored just 15 runs in his last nine losses.

The Dodgers remain interested enough in the Tigers that they sent a scout to Grand Rapids, Mich., to see 19-year-old third baseman Nick Castellanos. Castellanos is one of the Tigers' top prospects, and many in the organization doubt that they would move him for Kuroda.

The Tigers don't seem terribly interested in Erik Bedard, the Mariners pitcher who will come off the disabled list to start against the Rays Friday night. Both the Yankees and Red Sox have some interest in Bedard, although obviously that depends on how healthy he looks Friday.

Posted on: July 13, 2011 2:25 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 2:42 pm

3 to Watch: The Bud Selig edition

No matter what you think of Bud Selig as a commissioner, there's never been any doubt about Bud Selig as a fan.

He loves baseball. He loves watching baseball.

He switches from game to game on television every night when he's home. And when Selig met with the Baseball Writers Association of America this week, he said that his favorite games this summer have involved the Pirates and the Indians.

"I go first to the Pittsburgh game, and then Cleveland," Selig said. "I'm enjoying those two situations very much."

It's easy to see why. Not only are the Pirates and Indians great stories, but Selig sees them both as great examples of how his financial (revenue-sharing) plan is working.

He's right. They're great stories.

As to whether they're proof that the system works, that's a lot more complicated. Selig would also argue that the Rays have proved the system works, because they've finished first two of the last three years in baseball's toughest (and most expensive) division.

Rays executives would dispute that. They say there's no way they can compete long-term against the financial resources of the Yankees and Red Sox, and they beg regularly for a realignment plan that would get them out of the American League East (not going to happen).

Indians people wonder whether they can sustain long-term success. Even with Cleveland's success on the field this year (the Indians spent much of the first half in first place), attendance at Progressive Field has been mostly disappointing.

The Indians could win again, but they could also eventually find themselves back where they were in 2008-09, where they felt forced to trade Cy Young winners in back-to-back years, because they couldn't afford to keep them.

The Rays, despite another competitive team, had the second lowest average attendance in baseball (19,115, ahead of only the Marlins) in the first half. The Indians, at 21,106, ranked 26th among the 30 teams. The Pirates, at 23,577, were 21st.

Does the system really work?

Ask again in a few years.

On to 3 to watch:

1. The Indians fell out of first place on Sunday, and they'll begin the second half with two starters (Fausto Carmona and Mitch Talbot on the disabled list). But they also begin the second half with four games against a Baltimore team that might have been the worst in baseball at the end of the first half. And they start with the outstanding Justin Masterson on the mound, in Indians at Orioles, Thursday night (7:05 ET) at Camden Yards. Jeremy Guthrie, who will no doubt be the subject of trade talks later this month, starts for the Orioles.

2. Selig is a traditionalist in many ways, but he's also a businessman. So when someone asked Tuesday whether he sees a chance of more scheduled doubleheaders, he quickly said no. He's right, there's no way most teams would give up a home date (and a potential big gate), for doubleheaders that most fans wouldn't attend, anyway. The A's are different, because they have trouble selling tickets. So they did schedule a doubleheader, in Angels at A's, Saturday (4:05 ET) at the Coliseum. American League All-Star starter Jered Weaver is scheduled to start one of the games for the Angels.

3. Did the Pirates play the Astros every day during the first half, and is that why they had a decent record? It's not true. The Astros and Pirates played only nine times in the first half (with the Pirates winning seven), which means they play nine times in the second half, too. Three of those come this weekend, including Pirates at Astros, Sunday (2:05 ET) at Minute Maid Park, with All-Star Kevin Correia on the mound.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: June 30, 2011 11:08 pm

3 to Watch: The best in the game edition

The bar is set high, but then it would be anyway.

Roy Halladay returns to Toronto this weekend, to pitch at the Rogers Centre for the first time since the big trade that sent him to the Phillies 19 months ago. Cliff Lee follows Halladay on Sunday, with a chance to become the first pitcher since Orel Hershiser (1988) with four consecutive shutouts.

And they'll do it on the same field where Justin Verlander no-hit the Blue Jays eight weeks ago.

So maybe by the time this weekend is over, we'll have a better way of answering the question that has been bugging me for weeks.

Who is the best pitcher in baseball right now?

"To be honest, I think it's between me and Halladay," Verlander said when I asked him that question last week. "But if you asked anyone, they'd probably say that about themselves."

Not anyone. I know that, because I asked Lee, the guy with three straight shutouts, the guy who had a ridiculous 0.21 ERA in June (compared to 0.92 for Verlander and 2.00 for Halladay).

"In my opinion, it's not even debatable," Lee said. "Nobody else is in Halladay's ballpark. It's not even close."

I can't say I tried to argue with him, but I did point out the three straight shutouts.

"It takes longevity," Lee said.

Halladay has the longevity, and he has the great history in Toronto. So when you look at this weekend's schedule, it's hard to leave his big return to the Rogers Centre out of 3 to Watch.

But I'm going to do just that, because I always stick to one game per series and I can't pass up Lee's attempt at a fourth straight shutout.

For this weekend, though, think of this as 4 to Watch, and pretend I included them both:

1. If you check the ERA leaders, you might notice that neither Lee nor Halladay leads the National League. Instead, it's Jair Jurrjens of the Braves, at 2.07, and it's probably worth pointing out that he gets his next start in Orioles at Braves, Friday night (7:35 ET) at Turner Field. Jurrjens faces Jeremy Guthrie, who was throwing 96-97 mph in his last start.

2. If you check the ERA leaders again, you might notice that Verlander doesn't lead the American League. Instead, it's Jered Weaver of the Angels, at 1.97, and it's probably worth pointing out he makes his next start in Dodgers at Angels, Saturday night (9:05 ET) at Angel Stadium. His mound opponent, Clayton Kershaw, isn't bad, either.

3. I'll assume you already watched Halladay against the Jays on Saturday (1:07 ET). But I'm sticking with Lee, in Phillies at Blue Jays, Sunday afternoon (1:07 ET) at Rogers Centre. According to research through Baseball-reference.com, only eight pitchers in the last 90 years have thrown four straight shutouts. The last before Hershiser was Luis Tiant, in 1972.

Posted on: April 24, 2011 10:45 pm

3 to watch: The starting pitching matters edition

In some ways, the Yankee rotation has been better than advertised.

Freddy Garcia has started twice and still hasn't allowed a run. Bartolo Colon made it to the seventh inning in winning his only start. The often shaky A.J. Burnett is 3-0 in four starts.

Put together, the Yankee starters have a 7-3 record and a not-terrible 4.62 ERA, and that's even though they've lost four other potential wins to blown saves.

Not bad, as long as you ignore that other very significant stat: innings pitched.

Put together, the Yankee starters have pitched fewer innings than any other rotation in baseball.

Normally, and not surprisingly, teams like that don't win. It's been 11 years since the team that finished 30th in starters innings had a winning record, and longer than that since a team like that made it to the playoffs.

So far, the Yankees have gotten by, in part because they're scoring so many runs (more than six a game) and in part because four scheduled off days and three rainouts have helped the Yankees rest their bullpen.

The rain may not be over, but there's not a scheduled day on the Yankees' schedule either of the next two weeks.

On the other hand, the Yankees may have something better than an off day. They've got four games the next four games against the struggling White Sox.

Only one Yankee starter this year has finished seven innings (and CC Sabathia has done it just twice in five starts). By contrast, eight of the last 10 pitchers who started a game against the White Sox have finished at least seven innings, combining for a 1.90 ERA.

So maybe this is the week things turn around for the Yankee starters.

Either that, or maybe this is the week that short outings by starters start affecting the Yankees' record.

On to 3 to watch:

1. One thing to remember about Burnett: While his 2010 season was one of the worst ever by a Yankee starter, he was 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in his first six starts. So what should we make of Burnett's 3-0 record and 4.37 ERA in his first four starts this year? Maybe we'll know more after he makes his fifth start, in White Sox at Yankees, Monday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium. Why's that? Because in two years as a Yankee, Burnett has faced the White Sox twice. He lost both games, allowing 15 runs on 18 hits in just eight combined innings.

2. When Jered Weaver beat the Rangers last week, he became the first pitcher since Dave Stewart in 1990 to go 5-0 in his team's first 18 games. Stewart went on to make it 6-0 in the A's first 22 games that year. Weaver can't do that, but he'll go for 6-0 in 23 games when he starts in A's at Angels, Monday night (10:05 ET) at Angel Stadium. One note of caution: Weaver has just one win in his last 11 starts against the A's, dating back to September 2007. Weaver has a tough opponent in Gio Gonzalez, who has a 1.80 ERA through his first four starts.

3. As Scott Miller points out in Weekend Buzz, the Red Sox have recovered quite nicely from their 0-6, and then 2-10, start. In fact, if the Sox follow up their weekend sweep in Anaheim by winning their first two games in Baltimore, they could have a winning record by the time they finish Red Sox at Orioles, Tuesday night (7:05 ET) at Camden Yards. That's basically unheard of. While teams have recovered from 2-10 starts to finish over .500 (and even to win 100-plus games), it usually takes a month, or two months, or even three months. The Red Sox have a chance to do it in 11 days. It's a nice pitching matchup Tuesday, with Josh Beckett facing Jeremy Guthrie.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com