Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Can The Rox Do With Jeremy Guthrie?

The Rockies have decided to stake out suitors for their control challenged and homer prone right hander. I am of course referring to Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie was an “ace” in Baltimore for the past 5 years, but that was more by default than it was due to incredible performance. When Dan Duquette decided to pull the trigger and send Guthrie to Colorado he got back a younger starter in Jason Hammel and a solid reliever in Matt Lindstrom. So far both of those two are putting together excellent years, Guthrie at his best would be envious of Hammel’s season so far. Guthrie’s big pitch has always been a curveball, which doesn’t exactly break right in Colorado, but recently he has been bad across the board, maybe the bad home games have shaken his confidence and he’s trying to find a new pitch to complement his fastball.

The Rox aren’t looking to get a great return on their investment in Guthrie, who is making a bit over 8 million this year and will be going to arbitration for the final time at season’s end. He’s a better pitcher than he has appeared over the course of his career, and if he ended up in a spacious home park, Guthrie might well be able to turn this season around. He’s not likely to turn around like A.J. Burnett has this season, but he’s certainly capable of putting up better numbers in a different park. The biggest question I would have is really, who is looking for a buy low pitcher on a 1 year contract who at his best is going to provide No. 2 pitcher stats, at his worst, couldn’t be buried far enough down the list in the bullpen.

The Blue Jays have been tied to Guthrie early on, but what they’d be trying to do with him is unclear. I suppose there could be something to be said about having a veteran in the rotation, but it feels like they would be taking on salary to waive the white flag and say that they are content to miss the playoffs yet again this year. They are all of 3 games out of playoff contention at the moment, and could with a little boost here or there make a run at one of the wildcard spots, but considering Guthrie’s performance so far this season, and his track record he’s not liable to be an upgrade anywhere for the club.

I think that if any teams in contention were looking to sure up their rotation without making any major impact on their farm system it would be more likely to see Guthrie headed to Cincinnati or making a return to the Indians. I don’t know that many teams at the bottom of their respective divisions would really be interested in giving up a prospect (mid to low tier or otherwise) to receive a pitcher who can’t promise to deliver anything significant. Guthrie isn’t as bad as he’s been this year, and he’d certainly be a candidate for a buy low sell high situation for his new team. The risk there is that he is already making 8.2 million this season, and won’t make any less than that next year, so if he’s not providing better value his new club wouldn’t be in line to get anything from their investment but an expensive back of the rotation pitcher.

Guthrie may be a prudent move for the Seattle Mariners, the Twins, KC, or Milwaukee but that would be strictly as a year to year investment. It would be a team that’s out of contention jockeying for a more or less money only commitment that could net a valuable prospect at next year’s trade deadline, or assist them when they would otherwise sit on the cusp of contention next season. Overall, he’s currently managed to make his stock with the Rox all but disappear and the team is tired of him already. He may be on his way to being a Milton Bradley or Carlos Silva type of malcontent and mid level talent. I don’t know that Guthrie really has anything in the way of an attitude problem, but it is telling that Dan Duquette dealt him so quickly, and the Rox are already looking to find him a new home rather than searching for a solution to his issues with the team.

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