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November 30, 2011

Should the Orioles deal Guthrie this winter?

Baseball’s annual meetings start Monday in Dallas.

There will be tons of agents there hoping to get the best deals for their players. I am sure the Orioles will talk to plenty of them, letting them know there is interest in their clients.

And I will not be surprised if, at some point, the Orioles sign one or two free agents for 2012, likely lesser tier players who won’t get eye-popping deals.

But the sense is that if new executive vice president Dan Duquette makes a splash next week – or within the next month – it will be in the form of a trade.

When you look at the Orioles’ roster, there aren’t a whole lot of valuable trade chips. Their most coveted players – Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Zach Britton – are players that can be built around. J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis are solid players with contracts hefty enough that teams aren’t going to hand over the farm while absorbing those salaries.

Mark Reynolds would attract some interest, but remember the going price for him last year was two relievers, so you have to be realistic in what would come back in return. Much of the rest of the roster is filled with marginal big leaguers or inexperienced players who are young enough to have an upside but have not established themselves as future mainstays.

There is one guy, however, who seems utterly tradeable – so much so that we mention his name every winter and every July. And yet right-hander Jeremy Guthrie remains an Oriole.

There is a reason for that. Guthrie is solid and dependable. He will make 30-plus starts, he will throw 200-plus innings and he’ll keep you in most games in the AL East. That can’t be said – at least not yet – for the rest of the Orioles’ projected staff.

So it’s tough to consider trading your one dependable starter from a rotation of question marks.

The flip side is that Guthrie will be 33 in April and a free agent at season’s end. He’ll likely cost $7 million or more in his final year of arbitration considering he’s now thrown 200 innings in three consecutive seasons.

And he has trade value. Not as an ace, the role he is forced to fill in Baltimore, but as a middle-of-the-rotation innings eater on a good team.

And, frankly, the Orioles can lose 90-plus games with or without Guthrie in 2012, so why not deal him for a potential future part or two?

But there is a contingent out there that gasps at the idea of dealing Guthrie, simply because of what his absence would do to the rotation. There’s also the thought of extending Guthrie for another few years since dependable starting pitching is always a commodity.

Which camp are you in?

Daily Think Special: Should Jeremy Guthrie be dealt this winter?

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:00 AM | | Comments (39)
Categories: Connolly's Corner Sports Bar


I think the O's should keep Gutz if and only if he can be moved down to the third or fourth slot in the rotation. I think he'll have tremendous sucess in those slots, and not pitted against opposing teams' number one or two pitchers. This is why he hasn't received much run support over his career with the Orioles, well that and that the O's lineup has been wanting. Will Angelos invest in the Orioles to upgrade the pitching rotation so that Gutz can pitch in the third slot or will he allow the team to lose another 90 plus games? It is totally up to him.

Deal Guthrie to a team that actually shows a commitment to winning. He has served enough time in Baltimore, baseball's Alcatraz. This guy deserves better than to be taken for granted for another season by a garbage organization like the Orioles. Get what you can for him and set him free.

As with all trades, the devil is in the details. Should we trade Guthrie? It all depends on what they can get for him, which is the case with virtually everyone on the roster. There aren't many O's I'd absolutely rule out, and Guthrie isn't one of them, so sure, if Duquette can get a deal that makes sense why not? Just asking in the abstract if he should be traded really doesn't make much sense.

Yes-It's the humane thing to do. Jeremy has done well here, but he needs to go to a team that will play for him. Trade him for a 1st base or 2nd base AAA prospect and a middle of the road reliever. Somewhere where the ball park is more pitcher friendly. Have mercy on his soul!

Why is it we assume the O's will lose 90+ games every year in Nov/Dec. Have we been used to losing?

No dont trade him b/c he is durable and keeps you in the game. It not rocket science. We need to add 2-3 starters and relievers. Guthrie is a #4 starter on most teams

I assume it because the current roster -- pitted in the division it is in -- is inferior to the other four teams. And that adds up to a projected losing team. Can that change? Sure. The games have yet to be played and anything can happen. But right now that's the sense.

As much as i would like to see the O's keep Guthrie, I'm afraid I have to agree with "Groundskeeper". Give the young man a chance to see what it would be like to pitch for a winning team and organization.

What is the matter with you people? The O's NEED PITCHING!!!!!!! Trade him for a catcher or short stop??? Guthrie is as good as they will get on the open market. If the O's are not willing to spend any money to improve their pitching staff and win games they have to stick with the pitching they have and Guthrie is still their best and most reliable pitcher.

Seriously? Of course you trade Guthrie now. He's a middle of the rotation starter who gives you 200 innings of average pitching. He'll be 34 next year and will clearly begin declining over the next two to three years so why in the world would it make sense for the O's to extend him another 3 years at 7, 8 or 9 million per. I know some are obsessed with "innings eaters" but I'd rather spend my $$ on above average pitchers who throw 170-180 innings and let the bullpen (hopefully a better one) cover those last 20 - 30 innings. There are always teams out there overspending (in either cash or prospects) for innings eating average starters. Cash in before you lose him for nothing.

Jeremy is one of my favorite Orioles. He is a far better pitcher than his record indicates. He's clearly a team leader and he's a great representative of the club in the community. However,this is his last year under O's control. The club needs pitching depth desperately. If he could be traded to the Angels for two good pitching prospects, then the O's should make that deal. I'll miss him but he'll have to win somewhere else. Good luck Jeremy..

If Guthrie has proven one thing during his tenure as an O, it is that he knows how to lose. Look it up. I would love to see the Os unload him for prospects.

Free Jeremy. He's been a great soldier and deserves a chance to pitch for a winning team.

Dan, again, it all boils down to, what can they get? If they can get a couple of top tier prospects or a major league ready player or two, then trade him. If they can only get a bag of baseballs, then you keep him.

The same can be said for any of the Orioles.

Guthrie wont bring what an Eric Bedard would bring. But if he were paired with a major leaguer or a major league
prospect he might bring back sopmething that the Orioles need.


It's a no-brainer to me- you have to deal him. I'm not quite sure why he wasn't dealt last winter. People don't want to heart it- but we should seek a starting pitching prospect or 2 in return. I heard the Angels thrown around yesterday, and though they don't seem to make sense to me as having genuine interest in Guthrie, there will be others. There are probably 20 teams that Guthrie is good enough to be at least the 4th starter.

I am so tired of hearing this suggestion every single mid-season and every single winter.

We are trying to build a quality club.
That means not only holding on to players who are talented on the field, but also players who represent the Oriole tradition properly and intelligently off the field.

In Jeremy Guthrie, we have a young man who does both better then most we have. What is the difference whether he's a "number-two" or "number-four" starter ? Either way, he goes out every fifth day, does his absolute best, and at the end of the year, his numbers consistently show that he's a workhorse who does the Orioles proud win or lose.

Why would we want to deal this guy off ?
Exactly who is it that we would get for him that would make us better than we are with him ?
In my opinion, we should be thinking about getting guys to SURROUND Jeremy and feed off his excellent example in the process of their own development.

We're not going to get better by trading away players like Jones, Weiters, Guthrie, and Markakis.... and recently, Hardy.... or even Roberts. These guys are the quality core and the cornerstones of the club.
Guys who fill in between these players come and go.... but these players are the ones who give the club identity. They are the ones you keep.

Back in 1964, Brooks Robinson was the American League MVP. It was his eighth full season.... and he still had to wait another two seasons to get into the World Series. Using the Guthrie logic, Brooks' value would have NEVER been as high as it was that winter of 1964.
We should have traded him for a couple of prospects.... or maybe a power-hitting right-fielder..... maybe the one who played for Cincinnati.
Then what ???
We'd have had a star right-fielder, but our third-baseman would have had to have been replaced. Think we'd have made it to the 1966 World Series with just Frank but not Brooks ?
Think that guy who replaced Brooks at 3B would have gone on to be the 1970 World Series MVP ? Think the Orioles would have won over 100 games three seasons consecutively without Brooks ?

It's a TEAM sport, folks.
You don't fill holes by creating more holes.

What was Mike Cuellar's age when we got him from Houston ? Think he had anything left at that time ?

Guthrie's in his prime. He's a quality player at all levels. Keeping him is a no-brainer.

No. No. A thousand times, no! Haven't we learned from the past that pitching is the name of the game? Even with our limited line-up we were able to stay competitive in the times we had even decent starting pitching. I'm assuming no team is going to give up young pitching talent for an "experienced" arm and no everyday prospect he would bring would be of equal value. (And ask the Bundys to hurry up).

smitty is right, this team hung with everybody for the last 5 weeks of the season. They have a great line up now theyre not going to buy any descent free agent help? This is not hard. get two good free agent starters plus Gutrie and Hunter and let the young guns fight for the fifth spot. a closer and someone who can play a respectable corner infield spot and were there. i am a season ticket holder and if they dont support the awesome core group they have now I may be out for life. Let's go!!

trade him maybe we will get some more beach depth lol we will be in last place anyway

Deal Wieters. He's the most over-hyped Oriole. Sorry, but I don't agree "he's a player you can build a team around". Yes, he's an average hitter who had a fine season throwing out runners trying to steal. But he certainly is not a clutch hitter that the O's need at this point. Keep JJ Hardy, keep Britton, keep Markakis (who's a stellar outfielder that is not replaceable) and get a respectable catcher that is not over-hyped. Please remember, Wieters' batting numbers are no better than Ramon Hernandez, the last catcher the O's had and as I seem to recall, had a very fine 2011 season.

Just sayin...

If they could get a haul for Guthrie like they got for Bedard, I'd say by all means, do it. But barring that, I think they should keep him as a middle of the rotation guy and try to find a true ace. Of course, that's the trick. I pretty much agree with Greg Barrett's logic on this one.

yes parole him , freedom !

Dan, you know as well as anyone else that if The Front Office trades Guthrie, they won't replace him.

There is currently no other pitcher in the Baltimore system capable of pitching 200 innings.

Go out and put some legitimate sluggers in the lineup and get Guthrie some RUN SUPPORT.

If you can get impact players for him, why would you not trade him. From where I sit, the O's are not attempting to win this year. Thus, they can sign a bottom feeder who can throw 200 innings with an ERA of 5+ to replace Guthrie. My concern is that I am actually sure we can get a good return for Guthrie, I assume he would fetch 2 middle of the road prospects, which does not excite me.

It seems odd for a team with a pitching shortage to be considering dealing their best occasionally-effective pitcher. That said, yes, they will lose 90 games with or without him so if they can get a couple of young pitchers with an upside... sure, go ahead. They have a glut of good hit (okay, reasonably good hit... maybe... potentially good hit) defensively inadequate players (Reynolds, Chris Davis, Scott) they could deal...

Best idea I've heard this week...course the other two had to do with playing with a rattlesnake and getting root canal work done...

I'm afraid that if you do trade him you can expect to receive junk that the other team wanted to get rid of. Trade him if only you can get someone of quality back in return. Perhaps 2012 will be the season that the O's can break the 90 loss season. Wishful thinking on my part.

I am tired of losing and playing for next year. Keep Guthrie - in fact if you can, sign him to a 2 or 3 yr deal.

We have too much potential already - we need real tried and true players.

What Pat said: Guthrie is a guy to rebuild the O's around right now. He's a gamer who is a throwback to the Oriole Way. And if not Guthrie, who could possibly be the role model, gut-check, team player that Guthrie has proved himself to be in Baltimore? His grit is reminiscent of the O's starters from the '70s.

Trade Guthrie and his contract for a couple specs. Then turn around and sign a couple Free Agent starting pitchers with the money we won't be paying him.

Adding 2 or 3 of either Garland, Piniero, Maholm, Wakefield, or a Japanese starter or 2...for less than the $8Mil due Guthrie makes sense payroll-wise and pitchingdepth-wise.

Guthrie is good, but its better for the O's to do a swap and sign type deal like the Rockies did with Iannetta, swapping him for a spec and then signing a rather inexpensive catcher FA(Hernandez) to replace him, so that the Rockies basically came out ahead a player after the trade. Also their payroll was less after the trade.

Thats the kind of thing the Orioles need to do with soon to be pricey players like Guthrie and Reynolds. The thing is - who wants them?


I can't see how trading Guthrie would benefit the Orioles.

As a typical #3-#4 starter, he's not going to get the O's anything more then a 4th outfielder or reliever, a solid AA prospect, or a starter of equal value. Maybe if Duquette holds on to Guthrie until mid-season with the hope that he has a solid 1st half, he'll be able to get a ML ready prospect.

Also, I think a lot of teams would love to have JJ Hardy and his contract. Not too many shortstops can hit 30 HR's while playing solid defense. The league knows what he's capable of. He has an injury history, but if his '12 season is close to his '11, Duquette might have one hell of a trade piece if he wanted, especially for less than $10 million.

My thoughts are as follows; even though I have always been tough on Guthrie he is dependable. If Big Dan can go out and get Edwin Jackson and Paul Mahalom I say you keep Guthrie. If not you move him, but to who? and for what?

As much as I would like to see Guthrie stay, if you can get a couple of good pieces then make the deal. For those that make impassioned pleas to keep him AND equally impassioned pleas to build the team, you are aware that you have to give up something to get something, aren't you? Every trade isn't going to be a Bedard for 5 players deal or a (taking you back) a Frank Robinson type trade. Those are rarities based on a serious error in judgment on one side. If that's how you think the Orioles should proceed on every potential deal, then they (and we) will be left holding the bag and living in fantasy gotta give up something to get something...


The problem with trading Guthrie is that the Orioles dont currently have a pitcher ready to take Guthrie's place as the #1 starter. So I expect that they will acquire someone who can be the #1 starter before they trade Guthrie. They always could keep Guthrie even if they do obtain a potential #1 starter. I think the available free agent pickings aren't quite what the Orioles desire. So I think there will in all probability be a trade to get a #1 starter to replace or compete with Guthrie.

Dan; Always good talking baseball in the hot stove season. I have no problem with trading Guthrie,but why now? He`ll have more value to a contender as we approach the trade deadline. He`ll be a two month rental,and he will bring more in return because he is a free agent. I,for one,am for trading anybody off the current roster. The culture of losing has been around this team for far too long.


I dont think the Orioles should feel that they must trade Guthrie. What $7 million pitcher can they get to perform at his level? Probably no one. I'd be OK with keeping Guthrie at $7 million or less and upgrading 3rd base, defensively. Having a good defensive 3rd baseman, like Brooks or Cal, could be of a great help to the pitching staff - starters and relievers alike. If Guthrie shines next season then the Orioles could attempt to resign him. I think Arrieta, Britton, Matusz and Hunter all have the potential to be 15 game major league winners.

Put him with Bell and Mahoney,or maybe Tillman and go for Garza or Shields.

The game starts and ends with pitching. If you have someone who can pitch, you keep him unless you can get the house for him.

Who cares? It's always about the future with the Orioles. They'll lose 100 in 2012 and that's a given. So what's the point? They don't care, they don't try, they just keep stinking up the major leagues. They have an awful owner, lousy GM that double speaks the owner....already. They have tons of money they won't spend. Why? Because it's Angelos time of year. Ever heard of Scrooge? It was obvious that when Duquette arrived they HAD TO MAKE A SPLASH. They had to land a top flight free agent. They had to do it. But they don't care....they just don't give a crap. And the beat goes on. They need desperately to be Boycotted.

I'm sure Duquette will probably land a backup left fielder with a torn meniscus for him if Guthrie is dealt.

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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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