Starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie of the Baltimore Orioles throws to a Tampa Bay Rays batter at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Jeremy Guthrie Traded From Orioles To Rockies

Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie is heading west to start for the Rockies; the Orioles get a pair of righthanders in exchange.

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5 Total Updates since February 6, 2012
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Jeremy Guthrie Is Better Than You Think

Jeremy Guthrie's departure from Baltimore and addition to Colorado wasn't seen as a big deal, but maybe that's because we're missing something.

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FanGraphs: Jeremy Guthrie, Coors Field And BABIP

Monday morning, the Baltimore Orioles agreed to trade Jeremy Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. The trade is a little bit perplexing from the Orioles' perspective, since neither Hammel nor Lindstrom is a potential long-term building block. And the trade is a little bit perplexing from the Rockies' perspective, since...well I'm going to let Dave Cameron take this one. Over at FanGraphs:

The Rockies can’t keep giving up on every pitcher they have who gives up a lot of hits. It’s just part of the atmosphere they have to deal with, and they have to adjust their expectations accordingly. Getting frustrated and dumping every pitcher who posts a high BABIP in Colorado is simply going to lead to the team getting rid of a lot of good pitchers.

With Guillermo Moscoso, Jamie Moyer, and now Jeremy Guthrie, the team has now acquired three pitchers who have lower than average career BABIPs. Clearly, the team is trying to stop giving up so many base hits, and they’ve now targeted guys who have a history of keeping guys from getting hits in other cities.

Since the beginning of time, it's seemed like Dan O'Dowd has been trying out different strategies for finding pitchers who can work in Coors Field. Cameron submits that this is the latest one - identifying pitchers with low batting averages allowed on balls in play. And, as any good or even okay stats guy could tell you, that's a dangerous strategy. Low batting averages allowed on balls in play tend to turn into average batting averages allowed on balls in play. Oh no, the hits!

I take issue with Cameron seemingly suggesting that BABIP is the big driving force here. Every transaction is different, and every transaction is made for a number of reasons. Dan O'Dowd doesn't just make decisions based on a BABIP leaderboard. One notes that Lindstrom posted a fine BABIP last year, and that Hammel's was even better than that.

But BABIP, or hits allowed, does appear to be a consideration, and as Cameron warns, there's explosive potential here, given what the Rockies have put together. Explosive in a bad way. One has always figured that pitchers in Colorado would need to get strikeouts and ground balls. The Rockies haven't focused on strikeouts or ground balls. It could work, but it could also do the opposite of work.

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Normandin: Did The Rockies Forget About Coors Field?

Might be a little unorthodox to quote something written for this very site, but it beats what I was planning on doing: adding Jeremy Guthrie's name, posting the article again, and hoping that no one would notice. The Rockies' acquisition of Guthrie is part of an offseason strategy that already caused Marc Normandin to wonder what the Rockies were up to:

To bring it back to the Rockies' off-season, context seems to be what's missing in these moves. In this massive ballpark, where the combination of dimensions and thin, dry air is out to hinder pitching and help hitting, there are two routes to go that can make for decent pitching: the ability to strike hitters out, and a tendency to induce groundballs...

The Rockies have basically avoided both strikeouts and groundballs this winter.

Kevin Slowey, we hardly knew ye, was traded to the Indians, but the Rockies kept the strategy intact by getting Guthrie. Dave Cameron thinks that the Rockies are intentionally acquiring pitchers with low BABIPs, and hoping that it's a skill that the pitchers can control, which would help them counteract the gigantic outfield of Coors Field. That would certainly be ... a theory, alright. Looks like someone signed Dan O'Dowd up for the Organizational Philosophy of the Month Club again.

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Rosenthal: Orioles Continue To Be Orioles

Jeremy Guthrie has thrown over 200 innings in each of the last three seasons. He is the very definition of an innings-eater, a guy who can help a team make the playoffs and be a really good cheerleader once they got there.

The Orioles were never that team. And according to Ken Rosenthal, they did a very Orioles thing by trading Guthrie when they did.

Instead, the Orioles made a deal that is all too typical of them, waiting too long to move Guthrie and receiving too little in return. They need prospects, genuine prospects, and they did not get one in the deal that they completed with the Colorado Rockies on Monday.

Rosenthal thinks that the time to trade Guthrie was two or three years ago, when he was cheaper and locked up. He's probably right. But Guthrie submitted an arbitration request for $10.25 million; the Orioles countered with $7.25 million. No matter who wins, Guthrie will be making a lot of money to be an innings-eater.

Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom will combine to make $7.35 million. The Orioles get two roster spots for the price of their bid to Guthrie. This also eliminates the possibility that Guthrie would win the dang case and take up 15 percent of the Orioles' total budget.

Rosenthal may or may not be right that Guthrie could have brought real-live prospects back at some point, but the Orioles still needed to make the trade now. A $10 million Jeremy Guthrie on the Orioles would be like ... a $10 million Jeremy Guthrie on the Orioles. There isn't an analogy that's more apt than the potential reality. So the trade makes sense, and it will save them a little money too. This trade wasn't as Orioles as it could have been.

Edit: Guthrie agreed to a one-year, $8.2 million deal to avoid arbitration with the Rockies. That's still one expensive Jeremy Guthrie.

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Report: Orioles, Rockies Swap Pitchers

Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie is heading west to start for the Rockies; the Orioles get a pair of righthanders in exchange.

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