Guthrie heads west after five years in O’s rotation

The Orioles got Jeremy Guthrie through a waiver claim from Cleveland and today, five years later, he leaves for Colorado. All the trade talk about him actually culminated in a deal, ironically, at a time when there wasn’t much talk about his leaving.

Guthrie was a pitcher thrust into a No. 1 role in a rotation that couldn’t match the rest of the American League East, but he did his best, usually with sketchy run support.

He spent a couple of seasons among the top 20 in ERA in the American League, but his 48 losses the last three seasons led the majors. Many of his outings ended with him pitching well enough to win, but not winning and reporters yet again asking him about that frustration.

He seldom showed any, which was admirable, and he never pointed any fingers at his offense, which was admirable still. Last year he led the team throwing 97.5 pitches per outing and he reached the 1,000 innings mark in his career. He gave the Orioles a 200-inning pitcher three times when no one else could.

His performance fell off a bit over the last three years after he posted ERAs of 3.70 and 3.63 his first two seasons, when he went a combined 17-17 with an ERA of 3.66. He was 30-48 with an ERA of 4.39 over his past three years. Still, he just about always was able to take the ball, making 33, 32 and 32 starts those years and providing some stability atop the rotation.

As a player one year away from free agency, he was definitely a trade candidate and that day has come. The club could have moved him at the trade deadline this year. You never know how that would impact what he can bring back in a deal. Whether he would have had a big first half and some contenders had pitching injuries to drive up the usual demand.

Guthrie seemed to play at times to mixed reviews with the fans. Some admired his talent and how he dealt with the losing and lack of run support. Others often pointed out he was the club’s No. 1 pitcher but was not an ace. I don’t think we can blame him for that.

Not only are rotation jobs up for grabs in Sarasota this spring, but now the position of No. 1 starter and opening day starter is now open as well.

What is your take?: How do you feel about the trade of Guthrie? Did the Orioles do the right thing in moving him since he had just one year left before free agency? How do you rate his five years in Baltimore?

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