In case you missed it over the weekend, my colleague Peter Schmuck raised an excellent question in his column for Saturday’s newspaper. Would it make sense for the Orioles to trade veteran starter Jeremy Guthrie, who has never had a full winning season in the major leagues, at next month’s trade deadline?
It’s my belief that the Orioles shouldn’t hesitate to deal any of their stopgap veterans -- players who won’t be around when the team is finally ready to seriously contend a year or two or 20 from now -- if they can get fair value, of course. As much as I love Luke Scott’s Eutaw Street bombs, Derrek Lee’s slick fielding at first base and Vladimir Guerrero’s free-swinging ways, they can potentially help the Orioles more in the long term if they are dealt at the deadline so the Orioles can continue to restock their farm system with prospects.
However, if the Orioles can hang around in the AL East and finish above .500 this season, they might be able to convince free agents -- the big one on everyone’s mind this winter will be Prince Fielder -- that they can win baseball games in Baltimore. We’ll know if relevancy is a possibility in late July when the deadline arrives.
But either way, I think Guthrie is one player the Orioles must hang on to, and it’s not just because he rides his bicycle to Camden Yards, loves “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and often Tweets about Justin Bieber and the Backstreet Boys.
Though he doesn’t have ace stuff on the mound, he has an ace attitude in the Orioles clubhouse, and his accountability and professionalism sets a great example for the team's young rotation. He has a 40-56 career record and every year he is among the American League leaders in losses and home runs allowed, but he is a pretty good pitcher, something I’m not sure many baseball fans outside of this city realize. His ERA has been under four runs in four of his five seasons in Baltimore (including this year), and if the Orioles didn’t have a running gag of not scoring runs in his starts, Guthrie would probably have a winning record.
But then again, as Orioles pitching coach Mark Connor told The Baltimore Sun during spring training, “Jeremy is at a certain point in his career where it's time to become a winning pitcher.” That is why it was fair for Schmuck to wonder if Guthrie is capable of doing that here or if it is going to take a change of scenery for the 32-year-old right-hander to become a winning pitcher.
Given everything Guthrie has done for the franchise -- including all those losses and lumps he has taken over the past five years -- we all want to see him do it here. But if a contender, looking for reliable third or fourth starter, comes calling before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Orioles have to at least pick up the phone and listen.
Your turn: Should the Orioles listen to offers for Guthrie?Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun