Today, I told a co-worker that it might be nice to see Jeremy Guthrie back in Baltimore. I'll leave out all the details of her response, but it started with a harsh glare, followed by an "Are you crazy?" look. Granted, the former Orioles ace is not known for his great record or low ERA. But, could he bring some value back to the Orioles rotation if he was to leave Colorado?
In Baltimore, the right-hander pitched to a 47-65 record with a 4.12 ERA over his five-year tenure. Beyond that losing record, Guthrie also comes with many issues. One of the most obvious is that he gives up a lot of home runs ... a lot. Try 35 in 2009, which led the American League. This year, for the Rockies, he's leading the National League, and has given up 15 to date. He also loses a lot. In 2009 and 2011, Guthrie led the league in losses, recording 17 in each of those years. This season, he has a 3-5 record with a 6.91 ERA.
Not the best numbers for the veteran. So I guess the glare was justified.
However, there are also a lot of reasons why I'm questioning that look.
The first: The Rockies don't want their opening day guy any more. OK, so a team wanting to dump a player is probably not the best reason for the winning Orioles to go run after him. But I digress.
In a tweet on Sunday evening, ESPN's Buster Olney said: "Source: Rockies are making it known that they're willing to trade Jeremy Guthrie right now."
But in all honesty, those who disliked Guthrie in Baltimore probably aren't too keen on Jake Arrieta's eight losses or the general look of confusion on the mound this season. Despite a strong start in his last game, Tommy Hunter isn't exactly fooling many hitters, especially in that three-inning outing in Toronto (or in his Triple-A appearances). Zach Britton is still working things out in the minors after being on the DL. Brian Matusz and the term "consistency" are sort of like oil and water. Guthrie's sounding more and more like a complement to Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel.
During his time in Baltimore, Guthrie struggled, much of which was due to lack of run support. He received around four runs per game of support in Charm City, with a minimum average of 3.6 in 2010. So maybe he should have won more games with that average run support, but with the Orioles' strong bats this season, they could give him more of the support that they did not seem able to when he was on the mound in orange and black. Also, every year in Baltimore, he had a positive WAR (wins above replacement), maxing out at 4.3 in 2010.
My main argument? Guthrie is a workhorse, plain and simple. He has averaged over six innings per start throughout each season in Baltimore. In his career, he has pitched 983 1/3 innings, which averages to 197 innings each year.
And for once, if Guthrie came back to the Orioles, he wouldn't be throwing inning after inning for the sake of playing the game. The O's are not many games out of contention. The veteran arm could be needed, especially if the Orioles are still doing as well as they are now in September.
OK, well I'm obviously sold. Now, it's just time to see if the Orioles are.
Olivia Witherite blogs about the Orioles at Birds Watcher, and her opinions appear here as part of MASN's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. 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.