Jeremy Guthrie pitched an amazing baseball game last night. Undone in the eighth inning, Orioles fans who stayed up past midnight hoping for a win will only remember the crushing home run by Justin Smoak, but Guthrie was fantastic. He's been fantastic for most of this year, and for much of his time in Baltimore. But with one year left on his contract, Guthrie could bring back to the Orioles pieces that will help the team in the future.
The Orioles are improved this year, there is no denying it. There is also no denying that they aren't improved enough to be contenders. Sure, if the young pitching pans out, they'll play exciting baseball, but the Orioles need prospects and depth. They need viable candidates to take over at nearly every offensive position, and signing veterans to one-year stopgap contracts isn't getting the job done.
It all depends on what Andy MacPhail can get for Guthrie, of course, but for teams contending down the stretch, he'd be a great addition. He's been reliable and successful for the Orioles for years and he still has another year left on his contract, so he won't be just at two-month rental.
It would be hard for Orioles fans to see Guthrie go. After all, he's not only a good baseball player, he's a stand-up citizen who seems to enjoy playing in Baltimore. The sentimental side in all of us doesn't want to be sensible about players like that; it wants the Orioles to keep him around so he can succeed in Baltimore and be a hometown icon. I've felt that way before, but then the Orioles extended Melvin Mora, and we saw how that turned out. And now the Orioles are paying Brian Roberts $10 million a year for the next two years when it looks like his best days are surely behind him.
Teams, especially teams so in need of young talent, can't afford to be sentimental for their aging stars. And while it hurts to think about, Guthrie and the Orioles could be best served in parting ways.
Stacey Long blogs about the Orioles at Camden Chat. Read Long's Orioles observations as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.