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February 11, 2011

Guthrie reacts to new deal, avoiding arbitration

Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie agreed to a one-year, $5.75 million deal today to avoid arbitration. His hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, but that is now a moot point.

"I don’t look at it necessarily as a relief. It’s a huge blessing of course to agree on a contract that guarantees me a lot of money to play a game I really enjoy playing. When you get to this point in your career, there’s an understanding of the arbitration process and you understand that it may end up in a hearing or it may not. You do your best to be prepared for either one of them. It’s not necessarily a relief. It’s just part of the process and the next step for me personally, and it’s a good step for us as an organization. Now, all the attention can be on spring training and us molding together as a new team."

Guthrie expressed thanks to his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Sports, along with Orioles Director of Baseball Operations Matt Klentak who negotiated the deal. He also thanked Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who the Orioles' likely Opening Day starter has expressed an interest in meeting.

"If given the opportunity down the road, I just want to give him an expression of gratitude for allowing me to play a game I enjoy," Guthrie said. "I'd also thank him for the work he’s done in the community and the impact that he’s had."

Guthrie said that he is excited to get to work.

"I’m really excited to go into spring training, mainly because of the new additions that we have to the team," he said. "We have some great players that we brought aboard. That itself gets me excited and knowing that the fans are hungry and excited, that is great as well."

Guthrie is a free agent after the 2012 season. He said that his agent approached the Orioles about a long-term extension, but they weren't interested in the deal.

"I’m not ruling it out. I think they ruled it out for me," he said. "It’s a number of factors. It’s not a question of do they like Jeremy Guthrie or not. We asked them and they declined and that’s perfectly fine. Right now where the team is and where I am, it wasn’t a good fit in their opinion. I don't have any hard feelings."

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 1:23 PM | | Comments (13)


I find it odd that Guthrie and Angelos have not met. The Orioles don't have any box car socials or events where they can pay homage to Pete? Maybe I'm just thinking of the NFL where the owners are often trolling the sidelines.

Jeff Z's reply: For all the talk about how Peter meddles, he does not spend any time around the clubhouse or the players. He doesn't feel that's appropriate. Jeremy may have shook his hand on Opening Day a couple of years ago when Angelos took VP Biden down to the clubhouse, but they've never had a substantial conversation. Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis are the only two current O's who have met, talked extensively with Angelos.

Unless Angelos just doesn't want to become close friends/associates with the players. It would make it a lot easier to part ways with players if you think with your head and not your heart. I don't think it's a coincidence that Nick and Brian are on long-term deals.

Jeff Z's reply: Good post, Chris. I just think Peter is old school. He sees it as players don't come into his office so why should he go in theirs (the clubhouse). I'm sure he's also conscious of the past criticism that he's far too meddling, and involved.

I really don't understand why the O's won't lock this guy up long term, at least a 3-4 year deal. Perhaps not an all-star, but a reliable 200 IP guy, who is a professional every game. Where else can you find that?

Being physically present around the team, the stadium and the players is not the same as meddling.

Guthrie is going to be a coveted free agent if the Orioles don't retain him. He'd be a solid 3 or 4 starter on any team. Are the O's waiting until next offseason to discuss a long term deal? If Guthrie has a great year, his value skyrockets next offseason. Why wouldn't the team at least considered a multi-year deal?

Jeff Z's reply: I know it's not, but it's not a difficult leap if all of a sudden Angelos is seen hanging out in the clubhouse and constantly in the warehouse, a la an owner like Jerry Jones or Cuban.

Guthrie really has it right and I am pleased that he is happy with the deal. $5.75M is $5.75M and it is more money than most of us will make in a lifetime. He appreciates that point and I have a great deal of repsect and admiration for him (very atypical for professional athletes). He deserves more but it is what it is. He is a smart, grounded individual who who has the right perspective on life and the GAME of baseball. He is the type of player the O's should want to have around. The O's need to be a little smarter.

A bit of advice to Guthrie - Have a good year and set your salary demands higher next time.


I don't get it why the O's are not interested in a long-term contract with Guts. I realize that Mr. Angelos hates long deals with pitchers, and I understand why. But the only time Guthrie has been injured is when he played in that ridiculous World Baseball Classic that screwed up his arm for a year..

The club clearly believes that it has tons of pitching at this point. Guess they never heard that old ditty about how you can never have too much oitchuing.

A three-year $24M deal would work for both sides. It would give the club a highly respected #1 pitcher for now and a solid #2 if and when Brian Matusz takes over. And for Guts, he would have moderately long term security worth a LOT of money to real people and quite a bit even to many curent players..

Furthermore, it would not be overly long for either side in case either feels a mistake has been made. Heck, the whole contract would be less than Albert Pujols will be making next season alone.

Let me know if you need a mediator, gentlemen. I'll have your back and I'll get your deal together in a fashion that will make both of you happy, and my cut will be the usual ten percent, which includes washing your car and picking up your thirty percent beef tacos for lunch.

I predict at least 15 wins for Jeremy. He's an incredibly gracious and well intentioned person, and he's battled valiantly through a lack of run support and a feeble bullpen ever since he's been here. If he were a Yankee he'd be a perennial 17 to 18 game winner. I understand that the prevailing Oriole philosophy is to buy bats only, but Guthrie may be worthy of an exception.


I don't know whether it is because of coincidence or design, but most clubs seem to start talking longer term deals in a player's last year of arbitration eligibility.

Guthrie had the 22nd best ERA in the AL last year and the 14th most IP. Those numbers would make him a solid number 2 on most teams.

It's way premature to be talking about a long-term deal with Guthrie. I understand that he's a workhorse and a fan favorite and all that, and he's earned his $5.75M payday ... but guys, he's under team control for two full seasons.

Let's see the guy replicate what he did last season, and then its time to talk long-term deal, maybe. But let's be honest - he's been a little inconsistent, and there's no telling what sort of pitcher he's going to be in 2013.

Pitchers, especially, are incredibly difficult to predict, and also prone to injuries that can put them on the rack for a year or more (see Strasburg, Stephen). That's why the good ones, like Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay, get huge paydays ... because they are freaks. But you just don't see teams buying out two years of arbitration to sign a starting pitcher up long-term - there's far too much risk involved.

What's best, I think Guthrie understands this. He doesn't take it as a slight, and he'll go out and pitch like he has something to prove. And if he does what he's capable of, I think the O's will step up. But not now - it's too early.

Wow. I am absolutely stunned that Guthrie has never met Peter Angelos.

Jeff, can you please follow up on this? It might be a whole story -- one I'd like to read, anyway. In the '90s, Angelos was so involved that he personally negotiated a contract with Brady Anderson (and got beat on it.) I had no idea he was so distant from the club.

Could you share some details? How often do you see Angelos? Is he ever at the Warehouse? How about spring training?

Guthrie's an ideal citizen and has been one of my favorite Orioles, but i wouldn't extend him either. MAYBE after this season, but he's not a superstar and multiyear contracts for pitchers are risky.

Dan's reply: Mr. Angelos rarely makes public appearances at the ballpark. When he attends games, he doesn't make a production out of it. He's rarely if ever at the warehouse (remember, he runs his law practice full-time). He does get to spring training on occasion. I remember one time, a few yars ago, he showed up in Fort Lauderdale and Miguel Tejada was so excited he asked the media to introduce him to the owner. No kidding.

Why does he own the team anyway....strictly business?I think he's wasting a great opportunity..Why even have a team if your not enjoying them.SELL THE TEAM TO SOMEONE WHO REALLY CARES.

I think its a good thing that Mr. Angelos keeps his distance from the players. Thats the way owners should be.
Also, I think people are jumping the gun on wanting Guthrie to get a long term deal. He has proved that he is durable, but his play has been too inconsistent to merrit a long term contract. Unfortunately, being "sometimes" good has been enough to be considered the Orioles "Ace" over the past three seasons. But its not good enough to expect a 3 year deal. With that said, I'm looking forward to Jeremy having a great season and staying in an Oriole uniform moving forward. Hopefully as the club's number 3 starter behind Matusz & Arietta. That would mean good things are happening in Birdland.

If any orioles starter deserves a secure 3 year extension it is Guthrie he is a very good 2 or 3 pitcher that brings 10 m/yr on a good club.. We could probably extend him 3 yrs. at less and he deserves the security from this organisation.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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