No disrepect to Guthrie, whose career record took a huge beating here largely because of the poor quality of the team, but moving him ahead of the 2012 season should have seemed like an obvious move. He had led the major leagues in losses two of the previous three years and he still stood to make a ton of money if he took the O’s to salary arbitration.
Who knew that Duquette would steal a guy (Hammel) who would quickly emerge as the ace of the staff and turn in what is starting to look like an All-Star performance during the first half of his first season in Baltimore.
In retrospect, it seems almost amazing that Duquette got two effective major league pitchers for Guthrie. Lindstrom, who pitched well early in the season and soon will return from an injury, is just gravy.
While we’re handing out some midseason bouquets, it’s probably fair to point out that former baseball operations chief Andy MacPhail, who got so much grief for the Orioles’ lackluster 2010 and 2011 seasons, deserves some credit for the club’s success in 2012.
MacPhail didn’t look too good when Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara fizzled in his first year with the Orioles, but he sure made the decision to sign Uehara look great over the long term. Not only did Koji emerge as a quality reliever after that rocky first season, MacPhail was able to trade him for Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis. The jury is still out on Hunter, but Davis has been a major player in this year’s resurgence.
And let’s not forget that MacPhail got Adam Jones and four other players for Erik Bedard and got setup man Pedro Strop as the player to be named in the deal that send Michael Gonzalez to the Rangers.
MacPhail never called his rebuilding program a five-year plan, but if he had, this would be the fifth year of it.