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June 11, 2011

My take: Guthrie might benefit from change of scenery

My column for the Sunday print edition is already up on the Web site, so you can read it right here.

The column was written before Jeremy Guthrie took the mound tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays tonight, but the outcome isn't going to affect my opinion. I think he's a good pitcher who has had a lot of bad luck and probably would benefit from a midseason trade to a competitive team that might give him more run support.

Let me know what you think.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 7:29 PM | | Comments (30)
Categories: Just baseball


I think trading Guthrie is not a bad idea if he is in fact one of the top pitchers on the market. If there is a team willing to trade a couple nice MLB ready prospects then I think you have to take that trade.

I also wouldn't be opposed to keeping him for another year at 7mil, and then trading him next year too. I just don't think he's worth signing long term.

Guthie is a solid pitcher, but he's not the type of guy you're going to sign to a five-year deal with some ridiculous value attached to it. He would definitley win more games on a better team and could be a No. 2 starter in the NL, but he always finds a way to give up a key run and tonight is a good example. Matched up with Price, you need to be better than he's been and he was terrible in his last outing. Also, it's not like his ERA is around 2, it's closer to 4, which isn't terrible in today's baseball, but nothing wondeful either. I would be in favor of trading him depending on what you could get, I wouldn't deal him for mid-level prospects, what's the point in that? but if a team offered a blue-chipper then definitely.

Well, I'd like the O's to keep Guthrie, but I'm a pretty sentimental guy.

Anybody else want to ask whether fans are comfortable with Gregg, as a Sun blog did last week after the rare perfect inning??

The guy is an awful closer and the team deserves better. I understand that nobody is perfect but all Gregg does is give up hits and walks. Even when he gets the save it seems like pure luck.

Hey MacPhail, maybe this offseason we can skip the gonzalez's and gregg's of the world and get a real closer?

an average at best pitcher, an accidental number one on a bad team who manages to find a way to lose.
I'm not feeling bad for Guthrie, he makes horrible pitches at the wrong time(he threw the pitch to Smoak, regardless of the circumstance surrounding it) and his career is littered with that type of thing.
Get what you can for what a scout says is at best a number 3 starter on a decent team.
And if you think his lack of wins is owed more to your inability to put an offensive team together that can support your pitching staff, well, shame on you.

And while they're at it, Vladdy looks like he's going to go silently into the trading deadline, with a career worst OBP and slugging percentage. I know all about the clubhouse presence, but HRs and RBIs count from your 4, and right now, that ain't happening.

And Lee's plans to hit 50 Hrs and drive in 125 in the bandbox called OPACY
and set himself up for his last big payday have pretty much gone by the wayside.

Wouldn't it be nice if this team could pencil in a 3-4-5 in the lineup that could actually produce those little things called runs?It's not so farfetched to think that this club with a legitimate 4 could be a half dozen games over 500. That would not be so bad considering.

It's pretty amazing this team is only 2 games under 500 given how bad an offensive club they are.

Agree with Jon and Ian (aren't they too British versions of the same name?), but it's unlikely we would get a major league ready player or a blue chipper in return unless someone gets injured and a top team gets desperate. Remember Sherrill for Bell?

I see what you are saying about Guthrie, maybe he should be traded, but you would have to be stupid to trade him for anything but another major league reliable starting pitcher. Those kinds of one for one of the same type trades do not happen for obvious reasons.
If he gets traded for a second baseman then AM really is as bad a GM as Wayne and others say he is. We need reliable pitchers to help the youngsters come along. Or lets just say we need pitchers.
If you want the Os to trade Guthrie for his sake I get it. He's not a top tier #1 starter, but he's our number one starter and we'll need him for at least another year. Sign him for one more year and then trade him, his value will not go down, he might even go from a reliable quality start to a reliable winner.

Guthrie has had bad luck with the O's but he doesn't seem too beat up over it-at least judging from the tone of his post-game quotes. He is still a decent starter but likely 'only' a 3rd or 4th on most decent teams.
Thus, the market might not be good enough from an O's standpoint in that they'd get an everyday corner IF/OF. That would be the only way I'd trade him.
The upside is greater having him around because better days are ahead and it's always good to have a veteran/reliable starter. Maybe his luck changes for the better and everyone's happy!


I don't think the Orioles will get fair value for Guthrie with his current record. Hopefully, the Orioles are buyers and not sellers during the mid-season trade period. Hopefully, they won't fall out of contention in June as in years past. If they do trade, I hope it is to help the team this season. Last night was another tough lost for Guthrie and the team. But lately they have played much improved baseball.

I'm usually a rational poster, but I have been thinking about this for some time, and I'm going to throw out a theory.

Guthrie pitches just well enough to lose. How many times have you seen him get a lead and give it right back? Of course when the team gets blanked you can't win. But I'd bet if you did the research over his O's tenure, you'll find that he does not hold leads.

After a time, bad luck no longer is - it's a trend. I understand pitching is key - but we never deal talent at their prime. Geting a decent bat for Guthrie would be my opinion.

Jeremy Guthrie is 32 yrs old. Never will win many games. Because in the past he has not been a winner. Why not trade him if you can find someone to deal with.


I agree with your assessment of Guthrie. In fact, I have said he shouldn't try to re-sign with the O's, even if they are the highest bidder. Although I have a feeling they won't be. Words like "hometown discount" will be put back in circulation when that time comes. The best thing for Guthrie would be to pitch in the NL for a contender somewhere.

Trade him. Guthrie is great, too bad he doesn't get run support. Better to leave an organization that never has the player's or the fan's best interests in mind.

The phrase that comes to mind is ceteris paribus. Yes, if all things remained the same, a scenery change might be good for Guthrie.

My feeling is while Guthrie hasn't even gotten Oriole-level support during his time with the Orioles, this is not just an unfortunate stretch he has fallen into. It seems to be the same story every time he goes to pitch, just a different script.

He gives up two runs, the Orioles score one. The Orioles score four, he gives up five. Somewhere, it's the bad inning, the fat pitch, the lead-off walk, whatever.

I think in terms of Mike Mussina. During his tenure with the Orioles and Yankees, regardless if it was good times or bad, Mussina at the end of the year would have a better winning record than his team. Not every year, but darn close.

With Guthrie, he dazzles plenty. But at the end of the year, his record looks not so good.

Sports is full of competitors who play up -- and down -- to their competition. Some enjoy big upset wins while minimizing their "bad" losses. Others tease with their abilities but somehow find the dirty end of the stick.

My feeling is if Guthrie pitched for Yankees, Red Sox or Phillies, his record might be, oh, something like 13-12 -- clearly better than 40-56, but not as good as his team's final W-L record.

As for trades, I'm not against anyone being traded to make this team better. The key is what one gets in return. If Guthrie is a part of such a trade, I wouldn't mind see him doing well and be proven wrong. He is a stand-up, straight-up shooter who seems to be an ideal teammate. It's hard not to admire that.

Would be good for Guthrie but not for O's unless it' for a .j300+ 1st baseman

Guthrie is a good pitcher, but he is not a number one starter, more like a 3, 4 on most good teams. Maybe going up against the other teams ace has something to do with his lack of run support. Just one punk's theory. I hear Duke is going to try a 5 inning extended ST start this next week. If he is going well by mid season, it would probably make sense to get something for Guthrie.

I think this is a great idea especially since the O's did well in picking up Jones. With their farm system in need of some talent if Guthrie would bring a couple of young legit prospects then trade him. I think Gutrie is a great guy but for the O"s to get anywhere they definitly have to give up something to get something.

My take:

On Guthrie: The disparity between Guthrie's ERA/WHIP and his W/L record is not explicable, but rather due to the fact that Guthrie often lines up against the opposing team's ace. It would make sense that Os hitters score a lot less against other team's #1 pitchers than they do when Arrieta is on the mound, and the team is facing the other team's #3 or 4 starter. Yes, moving Guthrie to a contending team, where he would likely be a 3, 4 or 5 starter instead of the ace, would likely improve his run support and W/L percentage, even without the slightest difference in his own performance. But then again, barring any unexpected developments (which Os fans always brace for), starting next year this rotation would be headed by Britton and Matusz for years to come, meaning that Guthrie could have the same benefit by sticking around with the Os.

On realignment: I STRONGLY believe that MLB should do away with the divisions and institute a strict "best 5 teams in" policy. The worst part about the current system isn't the fact that the Os have to aim for an AL East pennant given only two wild cards, it is that the division-based system results in unbalanced scheduling wherein the O's "strength of schedule" to use a football/basketball term (strange that SOS is never mentioned in baseball?) to so much more difficult, having to play substantially more games against teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. Hypothetically, if every AL team played 11 games a year against every other AL team (three 3-game series and a 2-game series), along with 8 inter-league games, the playing field would be a lot more level between teams like the Orioles and those who play in historically weaker conferences. MLB- in the absence of a salary cap doing away with divisions would be a great plan, let's do it!

on Tatum: I realize Showalter wants to give Weiters regular rest and likes to do it on Sundays, but I propose that moving forward his off days be aligned against the rotation rather than the calendar. Weiters should always be behind the plate for our younger pitchers- Matusz, Britton and Arrieta. Play Tatum with Guthrie or back-of-the-rotation guys. I understand Tatum is a better catcher than Fox, but it is clear that shaking up the routine messes up our younger pitchers, when we need to be a) building their confidence, b) focusing on giving this team its best chance to win, and c) strengthening the relationship between the battery mates that will be working together for years to come.

Hey Peter,

It's been awhile. Also, it looks like that Guthrie trade might have to wait after that outing by Matusz. Anyway, here's an excerpt from a Ken Rosenthal article today that intrigued me

Some have suggested a trade of right-hander Roy Oswalt, who is earning $16 million in what could be the final year of his contract; the Phils hold a $16 million on option on him for 2012. But Oswalt’s deal includes a full no-trade clause, and moving him would reduce the Four Aces to Three, defeating the purpose of Amaro’s maneuverings the past 18 months

Now, I would be interested in Oswalt, but only if he wants to continue to play ball which I am not completely sure if he does at the very least his head seems to be in the clouds. If he does want to play, I think Baltimore would be a good match. The question is would Peter Angelos open the check book. The current O's team is going to play like this for the rest of the season hovering @ .500! Rosenthal thinks trading Oswalt would mess things up, I feel differently. I don't think Oswalt is happy in Philly. I really believe that. Furthermore,The real reason Oswalt was brought in was to replace Cliff Lee because Amaro was a fool to trade Lee in the first place. IMHO and it's always humble lol, I think Oswalt would be available. He needs a change of scenery himself. Long and short the O's should kick the tires here. O's would have a number 1 and Guthrie would be happy on another team.
PS It's like pulling off a band aid, just rip it right off instead of trying to feather it!
Just my 2cents

The O's need to trade Guthrie, not because Guthrie needs a change, but because the Orioles need some decent bats / position players. I'd hope Guthrie lands on a good team in the process because he deserves it. He's a class act playing for a team that can't get its act together. There may be some degree of Stockholm Syndrome here, but I suspect that's the case for every player wearing an O's uniform.

Andy MacPhail tells us he'll buy the bats. We can only hope he stops buying bargain bin free agents that amount to little and trades some pitching for some good young bats. Guthrie the obvious choice.

This conversation is no fun, but it's not a ton of fun being an Orioles fan. When the Roberts trade rumors were a topic a few years back, the sentiment was similar. That is, if Roberts was to be traded, we hoped it was to a winner. Now it's Guthrie. If the O's keep floundering I guess Markakis is in line to be next (and yea, I think he'll rebound).

With the decline of Brain Matusz there is no way the Orioles are going trade Guthrie.

There is obviously something physically wrong with Brian Matusz. It might not be too early to start to admit that Brian's unorthodox pitching delivery has finally caught up with him. It is possible he might never be as effective as he was as a rookie.

If his best days are behind him it is another "blow" to our teams future.

Right on! Guthrie would benefit with a chande of scenery like; A new first baseman, third baseman a full time second baseman, a legitimate .300 hitter etc. Put him in NY or Boston and watch the 20 game winner arise. With the O's he would do better in the bull pen. Johnson and Guthrie would be fantastic if they had a closer.

Peter good question. IT is scary I had the same thoughts hit me this week.. He might even be a big winner in a bigger ballpark.. BUT now the two blockers I see.. Could we get one or two very good prospects.. CAN we afford to make the deal until we figure out where MATUSZ velocity has gone.. IT is really strange two so highly regarded young pitchers losing their velocity the same year.. (Matusz, and Tillman) WE need some answers before we trade Guthrie if we even got offered the type of prospect we need.. Reynolds is starting to hit but needs to move back at 3B he is constantly being caught inbetween hops and not handling them..

I wrote this on Sunday but it must have got lost, I don't see it posted, so here goes again:

I am totally on board with the idea that the W-L record is a poor indication of a pitcher's performance. However, in Guthrie's case, it's not "bad luck". It's a trend.

Guthrie most times gives up leads (when he has them) and always seems to be giving up one run more than the other pitcher. Sure, many times he gets no support, but I can think of many other occasions where he blows a lead.

He doesn't need a change of scenery. He needs to outlast his opponent.

Oh, I see....... trade Guthrie before the July deadline and then spend the next ten months trying to sign some washed-up cheap has-been to provide "veteran presence" for the young guys on the staff.
Jeremy Guthrie is the smartest, best conditioned, most athletic, and one of the most talented pitchers we've had on this club in the past ten years.
I for one have already seen "how good he can be" and would prefer to continue to see that with him in an Oriole uniform.

All we need to do is give him better run support. The fact that he hasn't had that on a regular basis is not a reason to trade him. That's just dumb logic.
We need Jeremy Guthrie to keep filling the role he's been filling for some time now..... the other starters look up to him.
Why we have turned to has-beens like Kevin Millwood and cripples like Justin Duchsherer the last couple of years to fill this role when we have a proven athlete like Guthrie is beyond me.
KEEP GUTHRIE. And start paying attention to just how good he is and just how valuable his talent and his attitude are to the Baltimore Orioles.

Is there any pitcher in baseball that would not benefit from being on a team that gives him more run support? Your journalistic insight really shines through in this post dude.

Whatever you want to call it, Guthrie just seems to know how to lose. As a veteran staff leader, he should be working towards winning 15 this year. Instead Arrieta and his high 4's ERA has 8 wins.

Ditto to the Guthrie puzzle. I have some speculations as to why players just don't play well behind him, and why they certainly don't hit.

Jim Palmer often comments that Guthrie is unwilling to keep the ball low and on the corners, and so he serves up pitches commonly called cheese, AKA hanging curves and sliders, and these seem to find flag courts and left field pavalions all over the AL.

In many ways he reminds me of Angel pitcher Paul Hartzell--wonderful athlete who could never seem to find the pitchers' Mendoza Line, so to speak, and although both could run marathons, neither seems to be able to keep the ball down when the chips are down.

"swings and errors of his outrageous fortune" Shakespeare, nice. I would be sad to see Guthrie go, but if the price is right I would take it.

Guthrie is a solid pitcher, sad he can never get the run support, I'm sure if he goes else where he is a 15-20 game winner. Orioles problem this year has been of course run support and bullpen, injuries don't help either, however coming into the season I never liked us keeping gonzalez and signing gregg. Gregg has always been terrible, so what if he had one good year with the blue jays. My opinion only solid relievers are Johnson and Uehara, I'd say can everyone else. They should have moved Tillman and Bergesen to the bullpen at least they are good for a 3-4 innings and we know we need help in the bullpen. Derek needs to close his stance, he is getting older and slower to get around on the ball, Vlad needs to stand more upright, his stance is different this year than from years past. Scott is soo inconsistent I'd say move him as well. MacPhail hasn't done much since taking the role of his position, alot of questionable decisions and moves, he has done a little better than the last guy but not much better.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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