The Colorado Rockies continued their busy offseason this morning, trading Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom to the Baltimore Orioles for right handed starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. The team then immediately agreed to a one year contract with Guthrie, who was scheduled for an arbitration hearing later today. The trade is a straight two players for one deal.
Guthrie, age 32, is a tough pitcher to figure out. In his four seasons with the Orioles he led the league in losses twice, including 17 this past season. Those stats do not seem to tell the whole story with him though. He has consistently been durable in his career and projects as a solid option in the middle of the rotation (or near the top of it for the Rockies).
It is unclear how his style of pitching will fit in Coors Field. Like other pitchers acquired this offseason he is more of a fly ball pitcher and is prone to give up a frustrating number of home runs. However, Tracy Ringolsby believes Guthrie will be fine in Coors Field because he has survived in Camden Yards and brings a mental toughness with him. I imagine that we could add the fact he has pitched in the gauntlet known as the AL East for the last four seasons, which might add another nuance to his underwhelming statistics.
Guthrie adds a veteran presence with a track record to the 2012 roster. Sound familiar?
Jason Hammel, the self-described mystery man, returns to the AL East after his most disappointing year in Colorado. Even with a resurgence in the bullpen near the end of last season, it was apparent that his time in Colorado had run its course. While he was a de facto projected member of the rotation, the Rockies did not know what to expect from him moving forward. In that sense this seems like a trade for a certain measure of stability.
The loss of the hard-throwing Lindstrom is more difficult to swallow, as he is coming off a solid season in which he posted a 3.00 ERA and seemed to mostly avoid the command problems he dealt with in previous seasons. The Rockies lose one of their key options for the 7th and 8th innings with his departure.
Dominic Vadala notes on Birds Watcher that the Orioles lost a lot of class and leadership in Guthrie. National writers such as ESPN’s Buster Olney and Fox’s Ken Rosenthal seem a bit confused by the move from the Orioles’ perspective, which hopefully bodes well for the Rockies. If the consensus is that the Orioles got too little in return for Guthrie, then it seems O’Dowd swooped at the right moment.