Getting warm by the hot stove

So is it true that snow’s in the forecast today?

Last night’s Hot Stove Show on 105.7 The Fan and ESPN 1300 sparked an interesting discussion regarding Jeremy Guthrie’s slotting for next season.

With Kevin Millwood sitting atop the rotation, the natural assumption has been that Guthrie will slide down to No. 2. But as host Jim Hunter pointed out, the Orioles could lower Guthrie to fourth, putting another 200-inning starter near the backend and perhaps easing some of the strain on the bullpen.

Of course, we still don’t know whether president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail will sign another starter, so everything is subject to change, but I can see the logic in slotting one or two of the kids between Millwood and Guthrie.

Manager Dave Trembley isn’t worried about having too many starters if MacPhail brings in another one.

“As I always say, I think competition is a wonderful thing,” he said. “And as we learned, pitching is at a premium, especially in the division we compete in.

“I talked to Andy and I don’t think he’s done. I wouldn’t be surprised if something happens before we get to camp.”

Trembley mentioned breaking camp with 12 pitchers, so I guess that’s one question we can eliminate in spring training.

Guthrie said he’ll actually miss Fort Lauderdale, despite the improved facilities in Sarasota. That’s because he used to train in Winter Haven with the Indians. Lauderdale was heaven to him by comparison.

“No offense to the people there,” he said, “but it’s not the most delightful place to spend February and March.”

Guthrie made me a little nervous when he began to offer his theory on why I’d miss Lauderdale. He mentioned Gold’s Gym. I was sure he was going in another direction.

Baseball America ranks left-hander Brian Matusz as the Orioles’ No. 1 prospect. Here’s the complete list:

1. Brian Matusz, lhp
2. Josh Bell, 3b
3. Zach Britton, lhp
4. Jake Arrieta, rhp
5. Matt Hobgood, rhp
6. Brandon Snyder, 1b
7. Brandon Erbe, rhp
8. Kam Mickolio, rhp
9. Mychal Givens, ss
10. Caleb Joseph, c

More interesting to me is the projected lineup for 2013. The publication lists Brandon Erbe as the closer.

Erbe has been a starter up to this point, but maybe the rotation becomes too crowded for him (Chris Tillman, Matusz, Britton, Arrieta and Hobgood are the projected starters). He’s also had some issues making it through a full season.

I’ll predict that Luis Lebron is closing in 2013. Write down his name on a piece of paper and tuck it away in a drawer.

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