The day after: More angles to the Guthrie deal

Whether they liked the Jeremy Guthrie trade (a few did) or not, it seemed everyone had an opinion on the deal. It’s Day Two WG (without Guthrie) and here are more thoughts on the deal and its ramifications.

* I would rather have seen the Orioles trade Guthrie for a couple of 22-year-old pitchers with some promise for the future, and many fans would agree with that. But I also realize that was very difficult to pull off and it sounds like the Orioles had virtually no chance for a deal like this.

Put yourself in the other team’s shoes for a moment. How would you feel if the Orioles gave up a couple of decent prospects for a pitcher with an ERA of 4.39 and a pair of 17-loss seasons over the past three years? Plus that pitcher will make more than $8 million this year and you may only have him for one season. Are you ready to deal those prospects now? Right, hardly anyone would. That is not a knock on Guthrie, that is a baseball business decision.

* Guthrie is a class act and a fan favorite. Any fan he met it seemed became a fan for life. He was an interesting player to cover for reporters in that he was articulate, glib and pretty quotable, and if he didn’t think your question was a good one, he’d find a way to let you know. I actually kind of liked that.

I never tired of hearing Guthrie take friendly jabs at Baltimore Sun writer Jeff Zrebiec. With Zrebiec now on the Ravens beat, we are going to miss both of these gents in the clubhouse in 2012.

It is hard for a reporter to truly know if a player is good in the clubhouse since most of the real important stuff happens when we are not around. But the way that the other young pitchers talked about Guthrie, it seems he surely was helpful to them.

I had the pleasure to host a couple of video chats with Guthrie the last few years on He never failed to be very open to fan questions and let the fans get a real glimpse into Guthrie the person. I know many fans appreciated that and I sure enjoyed it, too. It was during these chats that we learned of Guthrie’s love of traveling, and Spain in particular, his love of all things Nike and his massive shoe collection.

* Does yesterday’s trade open the door at all for Jim Johnson to be in the starting rotation? My guess is it could although Dan Duquette referred to him yesterday as joining Matt Lindstrom as one of the club’s power arms in the back end of the bullpen.

But if the Orioles were to acquire Koji Uehara and had Uehara, Lindstrom, Kevin Gregg and say Pedro Strop for late relief, maybe moving Johnson to the rotation is still possible. Of course, the Orioles’ cup is bubbling over with rotation candidates, so to me Johnson is still in the ‘pen and likely to stay there.

* Some fans said the Orioles would have been better off holding on to Guthrie until this July’s trade deadline. That might have been true, but what happens if Guthrie pitches to a 5.20 ERA and/or gets hurt or misses a start or two with elbow or shoulder soreness? Then his value goes to near zero and they don’t get one pitcher for him, much less two. Sounds like a risk they just were not willing to take.

* Final thought: I am beginning to wonder if pitchers like Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and Brian Matusz will have much of a chance to make the opening day starting rotation. With all the candidates out there and with some pitchers out of options (not them though), that trio possibly could all start the year with Triple-A.

Duquette touched on that kind of indirectly yesterday.

“I think overall we’ve rushed pitchers to the big leagues in the past and that reflected in some of the rough patches that the pitchers hit in the big leagues. The reason they were put in the big leagues is because the need was there. Frankly, I think it’s better to spend a little more time in the minors and let the pitchers acquire the skills it takes to be major leaguers,” he said.

If Britton and/or Arrieta in particular don’t start with the big club, some fans will again be onery and ticked off. I would wonder if those two have anything to gain by pitching in the minors.

Would it be better for their development to make more minor league starts? Are there still things for them to gain in Triple-A?

A starting five to begin the year without any of those pitchers the O’s drafted and developed would lack some pizzaz, for sure, but maybe that would be the best thing for their long-term development and futures.

We’ll see on that and spring training will be very interesting as all the candidates for starting spots take the mound.

Here are two audio clips from Monday’s Orioles conference call after the trade.

Jason Hammel on his strikeout rate decreasing last year by smelewski

Dan Duquette on Manny Ramirez by smelewski

Meanwhile, Guthrie is already endearing himself to his new fans in Colorado.

Belated happy birthday, George!: He may have gained most of his fame in New York, but George Herman Ruth, considered by many as the greatest baseball player ever, was born in Baltimore 117 years ago yesterday. The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is, as they say, “a long fly ball from Camden Yards.”

The amazing Sports Legends Museum is even closer, right at Camden Yards and will host another Babe’s Birthday Bash on Friday night. It is always a great event and I look forward to attending again this year. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is scheduled to attend. If you live in the area and can make it on Friday, click here for ticket info.

blog comments powered by Disqus