Dealin' Dan was back in action on Monday, acquiring 32-year-old right-hander Jeremy Guthrie from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for Heaven & Helton favorite Jason Hammel - he was a good #4 or #5 start dammit, and that's all I ever asked him to be - and reliever Matt Lindstrom.
The Rockies then avoided arbitration with Guthrie, inking him to a one-year deal worth $8.2 million.
It's another trade that has stirred up quite a bit of debate among Rockies fans and bloggers. The concern, as usual, is whether or not Guthrie - a flyball pitcher - represents a good fit in the hitter friendly Coors Field.
Obviously a high flyball rate is a scary stat to bring with you to Denver, as is the fact that rate has led to at least 23 home runs allowed in each of his first five full seasons. But that hardly predicts impending disaster, or even poor results with a switch to the National League. In fact, I don't think there's any reason to believe the number of home runs he allows will jump significantly, if at all, against the inferior lineups of the National League West, regardless of where he's pitching the majority of his games.
When I look beyond the numbers, I see a tough pitcher that has more than held his own against the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays lineups. When I bring the numbers back into focus, I see a pitcher that posted an ERA under 4.00 in three of those five seasons. He lost a lot more than he won because the offense and defense supporting him were pretty dreadful, but the home run ball never killed him in Baltimore. It won't kill him in Denver, either, as long as he keeps the bases clean.
Unless Guthrie loses his edge, which is certainly possible when you go from facing those lineups four or five times each, to cycling through the Giants, Padres, etc., I think he'll prove to be an unspectacular, but solid #2 starter in the National League.
That's a definite upgrade over Jason Hammel, who again I liked, but on his best day couldn't be considered anything more than a really good #4. Matt Lindstorm is a fine late inning reliever, but the Rockies are obviously feeling good with Rafael Betancourt, Rex Brothers and Matt Belisle handing those innings. Now they have an extra opening out there to slot in one of the extra starters that doesn't crack rotation.
Bottom line: The Rockies should be more secure in their rotation. Of course there's no guarantee things work out. A lot of things can happen, or I could just flat be wrong. But I certainly feel better about the starting five today than I did on Sunday.
More Guthries thoughts and links:
Big League Stew
Our friends at Rox Pile also broke down the Rockies non-roster invites for spring training.
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