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Jeremy Guthrie Trade Reactions: Good Reasons to be Repulsed

As you likely know, the Baltimore Orioles traded Jeremy Guthrie -- their opening day starter/best pitcher/only hope -- to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Matt Lindstrom and Jason Hammel. The idea, at least from what I can gather, is that Guthrie was only under control through this season, after which the Os would lose him anyway, and his market wasn't terribly good, and hey, they had one pitcher through 2012 and now they have two pitchers through 2013, and...excuses.

The reaction to such excuses and "reasoning" is about what you'd expect, somewhere between complete eye-rolling apathy ("here they go again") and worst-fears-validated on the part of the fans. Buster Olney points out that the move helps the club neither now, nor later, and Ken Rosenthal notes that it's likely the Rockies could make a better move for him in July. And the fans over at Camden Chat see their worst fears coming true -- the team is waiting too long to trade good players for prospects, and the return the club is getting will never be enough to compete with the rest of the AL East:

Baltimore Orioles trade Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado Rockies - Buster Olney | ESPN (Insider)
The fact is that Guthrie doesn't have a ton of trade value now that he's less than a year from free agency, so forget the notion that Baltimore was going to get some high-end prospect for him.

But what is confounding about the deal is that it really leads to nowhere in the Orioles' big-picture need to improve. Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, the two pitchers that Baltimore acquired, make about as much money as Guthrie, so the O's didn't save any cash.

And if Hammel has another season as rough as last year, when he lost his spot in the Colorado rotation, then he will be a non-tender candidate next fall. Similarly, Lindstrom will be a non-tender candidate if the Orioles don't pick up his option.

Guthrie's departure leaves top of O's rotation even more unsettled -
"While Guthrie would have been a free agent after this season, the Orioles control the rights of both newcomers through the 2013 season (and the Orioles aren't locked in with either for the second year either if they don't perform well). Duquette said Monday that the Orioles weren't offered prospects in floating Guthrie, which suggests the market on the veteran pitcher wasn't very high."

Orioles waited too long to move Guthrie - Ken Rosenthal
Instead, the Orioles made a deal that is all too typical of them. They waited too long to move Guthrie and received 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.

Guthrie for right-handed starter Jason Hammel and reliever Matt Lindstrom makes sense in a vacuum. The combined salaries of Hammel and Lindstrom in 2012 will be in the range of Guthrie’s. And the Orioles will trumpet that they acquired a combined four years of control for one. Problem is, Hammel, 29, and Lindstrom, 31, will not be part of the Orioles’ next contending team.

What Worries Me - Camden Chat
The Orioles aren't and haven't been aggressive about rebuilding their talent base through prospects-for-veterans trades, and it has bitten them three times now in the past 12 months. I strongly believe that the journey between the present in Baltimore and contending has to go through the building of an absolute beast of a farm system. The Orioles have another opportunity to cash in on a high quality player in Adam Jones and accelerate that process, but all I see is the clock once again ticking down.

Guthrie could help Rockies, but how much? - Danny Knobler |
"Guthrie is a better fit in Colorado than he was in Baltimore, though, for several reasons: Moving from the American League East to the National League West should help, and even though he'll make half his starts in Coors Field, starting regularly in Petco Park, Dodger Stadium and AT&T Park should help a fly-ball pitcher. Guthrie made 15 career starts in New York and Boston, winning just three of the games."