Guthrie deal reminds us…the Orioles aren’t trying to win

February 06, 2012 | Drew Forrester


The funniest part about the early part of the Dan Duquette era is this:  it’s getting more and more unclear what his plan of attack is…

Maybe that’s what he wants.

Maybe that’s what he’s trying to do.

Or, perhaps, he has no idea what’s going on.

At this point, I don’t know.  But I’ll go with “he has no idea what’s going on.”

The Orioles parted company with one of their finest soldiers today, doing Jeremy Guthrie the biggest favor of his baseball career by excusing him from the remainder of his scholarship to Lose So Much University.  Guthrie heads to Denver to join the Colorado Rockies, while Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom draw the short straw and head east to get acclimated to last place for the next 8 months.

Somehow, Dan Duquette wants us to think the move makes the Orioles better.

It doesn’t.

What it does, as Duquette pointed out today, is give the Orioles control of a not-quite-average-starter (Hammel) for two years while getting rid of a potential salary headache in Guthrie.  As for Lindstrom, he’s Matt Albers.  Or Chad Bradford.  In other words, he’s easily expendable.  Lots of guys can make 60 appearances and have a 3.90 ERA out of the bullpen.  That’s why they’re relief pitchers.

The numbers – and their future performance in their new duds – will prove that Guthrie is a better pitcher than Hammel.  Quick, in the last 5 years, how many pitchers who made 30 or more starts in the American League East were able to post a sub-.400 ERA in at least 3 of those campaigns?  Come on…how many?  FIVE.  Do you know who they are?  C.C. Sabathia, James Shields, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester (the best pitcher in the AL East right now) and — wait for it — Jeremy Guthrie.

Pick those numbers apart however you want, but those are the stats.

Jason Hammel won’t throw 200 innings in the American League East and have a sub-.400 ERA…EVER…and that’s that.

But this isn’t really about Jason Hammel.  He’s not a scrub.  Hell, he might wind up being the Orioles opening day starter in April. This is about Duquette trying to claim victory, somehow, by telling us the deal makes sense because the club has Hammel under two years of control.  Forget whether or not he’s any good.  Or an improvement.  “Under team control for 2 more years” replaces the team’s quest for what’s really important — winning games.

And let’s not forget the Birds could have made some sort of effort to actually re-sign Guthrie.

Duquette acts like Guthrie was banging down his door demanding a trade the way Private Santiago begged for a transfer after he witnessed a fence-line shooting in A Few Good Men.

Guthrie was the ultimate team player, hanging around for the better part of five seasons and watching this train wreck in hi-def while once getting his salary cut by $120,000 three weeks before the season started because Andy MacPhail discovered a contract loophole that allowed him to do that. (Yes, Guthrie got his salary trimmed by $120,000 by the same guy who handed Justin Duchscherer $700,000 to do a few sit-ups and pronounce himself unable to pitch anymore.)

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12 Comments For This Post

  1. eric Says:

    O’s aren’t trying to win but keeping Guthrie doesn’t prove they’re trying to win either. He’s a middle rotation pitcher who’s trending downward on a team going nowhere. The fact that we haven’t signed or traded for a proven top flight player this offseason proves we’re not trying to win. Trading Guthrie doesn’t prove anything. It’s just rearranging deck chairs on the O’s Titanic. If the O’s were smart they would be trading Guthrie,Jones,Markakis,Hardy and Johnson for young talent that will be ready to contribute in 3-4 years which is the soonest this organization could contend. Instead we have the fewest top 100 prospects of any team in the division which is laughable considering where we’ve drafted the last 10 years. (DF: Not getting rid of Guthrie to IMPROVE the team shows they’re not trying to win. That’s all they could do with him? In that case, just hold on to him. Whatever. It doesn’t really matter. But they’re definitely not trying to win.)

  2. eric Says:

    Oh and Lindstrom isn’t a throw in. He immediately becomes the O’s second best Relief pitcher behind JJ which tells you all you need to know. (DF: I guess. I’ll call him a throw-in, though.)

  3. Marcus Halberstram Says:

    I can’t wait to hear what Guthrie says at his Colorado press conference. He is going to feel the same as the West Memphis Three. Or like Andy Dufrane after he came out of the sewer pipe.

  4. Mike T Says:

    This is not a story. He is a nice man who is an average ballplayer on a very bad team. I don’t understand the negativity? What don’t you get buddy? The O’s are not trying to get better and we don’t care. We have moved on but WNST has not.The fan in you has not.My boy is 11 and my girl is 8. They have been to 3 Nascar events and an NFL event @ Heinz Field.I have never taken them to an O’s game and never will because I WON’T WATCH THEM WHEN THEY’RE ON TV.They should have traded Roberts with Jeremy .Here’s a guy who if he were in the NFL he would be playing.He can’t even attend that stupid fanfest

  5. over40Don Says:

    are you guys planning any bus trips to some Nationals games?

  6. Dan Says:

    Yes, we all know that they are not trying to win, anyone with an ounce of sense knows that . But they are trying ( and doing a pretty good job of it ) to make money in this town. To Pete this is a good deal, one Major League (and I use the term loosly) pitcher for two Major League pitchers – Economics 101. I think if they sold a million tickets a year they woud still make a nice profit .
    What more could a businessman want . Go Pete !

  7. Robbie from Timonium Says:

    Let’s just get through those first 161 meaningless games and maybe knock out a playoff contender to end the season on a high note again. Maybe Manny Ramirez will be available to play by then. But darn, he might not be ready in time to be our obligatory “All-Star” in July.

  8. unitastoberry Says:

    One journey man leaves two come aboard. My only question is will there be free ice again on day games above 100 degrees? Perhaps JR Orioles can actually play instead of just watching in the stands with their dads?

  9. barnyard Says:

    Drew, Jim Duquette watched too much of the movie: “Moneyball”. Big mistake. He’s no Billy bean & far from a Brad Pitt. Building a team on the cheap using a statistician sounds nice on paper & even the Red Sox copied that when they won their first title in over 80-90 years but look closer, they still had to cough up big bucks for the key pieces. That’s someting tight ass Angelos has refused to do. He was burned on the Albert Belle deal & has retreated from spending ever since. He can make the same , (more) $$ if he just puts bodies on the field @ minimum salaries rather than to spend big & still lose to the Yankees & Sox. (DF: It’s Dan Duquette, not Jim…and you’re right, that’s what it looks like is happening.)

  10. jpetrosino Says:

    It’s obvious that everything the Orioles/Angelo$ revolves around making easy money rather than try and invest and build a real team to draw fan interest. I believe the Comcast deal to pay for the rights faciliates this bad behavior and after 16 years of losing and low fan interest, I think the better question is this:

    Why does Comcast still pay to carry MASN when there is no leverage by Angelos to yank MASN if Comcast choses to stop paying the $2/$3 per month fee per subsctiber? Go ahead and pull MASN and I doubt Comcast would suffer that much. Force Angelos to live off of advertising and when nobody is watching or attending games, then the emporer will be finally exposed.

    Go ahead and ask this question to the powers-to-be at Comcast and they may just agree. God knows I haven’t watched any Oriole games on TV for 4 or 5 years and counting.

  11. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    I may not be a huge baseball fan, but as a native Baltimorean, I still bleed black and orange! That’s why I can only think of cliches in describing the O’s managment, such as, “behavior is reality” and “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear”! This owner has enough money to be competitive if he wanted to, but by his actions, he obviously does not want to. So, with spring training around the corner, what’s the…..point?! It does look like “Chinese Lunches” will be a favorite among the new pitching staff…….

  12. jake Says:

    you guys are all being a little harsh.The Orioles PITCHING is what is keeping us from winning.Our offense is comming together pretty nice and hit the 4th most homeruns in the mlb.If some these pitchers can pitch to their potential such as britton,arrieta,matuez,wada,and chen we could have a pretty good year.has anyone looked at the stats of Wei-Yin Chen or Tsuyoshi Wada? In 116 career games Wada has a 57-36 record with a 2.88 ERA with 782.1 innings pitched and Chen is 36-30 in 100 games with a 2.48 ERA in 631.1 innings with a whip of 1.063.I know thety are both from out of the country but we have to hope they pan out.Matuez is looking good in spring getting his velocity back up to 92-94 and when he is pitching well he is good.I 20 years old and have watched them be bad for years but im not ready to give up on them yet when i feel that they are VERY close.

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