Free Agent Stock Watch: Jeremy Guthrie

Before Jeremy Guthrie was traded to the Royals, he was in the midst of a career-worst season and appeared to be headed for a minor league contract in free agency. Since the Royals acquired Guthrie for Jonathan Sanchez on July 20th, the right-hander has pitched effectively, returning to his career norms. The turnaround should assure him of a guaranteed contract as a free agent this offseason and a multiyear deal remains possible.

Jeremy Guthrie - Royals (PW)

Coors Field was not a particularly welcoming home to Guthrie this year. Opponents posted a Bonds-esque .368/.415/.720 batting line against him in Denver’s thin air. Overall, Guthrie posted a 6.35 ERA with 4.5 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 90 2/3 innings for the Rockies. He allowed 12 hits and two home runs per nine innings. Not surprisingly, he lost his rotation spot and, eventually, his place on the team.

Credit Royals general manager Dayton Moore for looking past those numbers. Since Guthrie has joined the Royals he has a 3.13 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 72 innings over the course of 11 starts. He’s generating more swings and misses with Kansas City (7.7% swinging strike rate) and averaging 93mph with his fastball.

Guthrie should appeal to the Royals when he hits free agency this offseason, as Kansas City could use more starting pitching. Moore has said that the club will "probably" wait until after the season to explore contract talks with Guthrie

Guthrie’s representatives at CAA Sports figure to look for a multiyear contract in free agency and it sounds as though some longtime Royals observers aren’t opposed to the possibility. Rany Jazayerli has suggested a two year, $15MM contract could work for both sides. Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star has suggested a two year, $18MM contract with a club option. 

A multiyear deal is certainly possible for the 33-year-old Guthrie. But in some ways he reminds me of Joe Saunders, who was selected ten spots before Guthrie in the first round of the 2002 draft. Both are innings eaters who limit walks, don’t induce many strikeouts and allow lots of hits. The combination generally leads to substantial salaries through arbitration, but it doesn’t do as well in free agency. Saunders, for example, signed a one-year, $6MM contract with Arizona last offseason. I expect Guthrie to sign a contract in that range following his up and down 2012 campaign.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.


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17 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: Jeremy Guthrie"


fightwookies
2 years 11 months ago

The numbers thrown out by Royals fans/media is a sign of how desperate the team is for pitching. Don’t overpay for an average guy just because you don’t have anyone else who is average.

PWNdroia
2 years 11 months ago

Exactly. If Guthrie can’t pitch in the AL East, or in Coors Field, then how will he pitch on a playoff team?

Thomas Wilson
2 years 11 months ago

You realize there is a really long list of pitchers who couldn’t pitch at Coors who would be fine at Kaufman right?

stl_cards16
2 years 11 months ago

Guthrie wasn’t bad in the AL East. He wasn’t an Ace but he was a reliable starter. The only place he has been bad, is in Colorado.

johnsilver
2 years 11 months ago

Yeah.. Guthrie wasn’t bad in the AL east when Baltimore had an atrocious defense behind him even.

he should have gotten a lucky break moving to the NL, but instead got saddled with Coors field where virtually NO SP has a chance.

Not saying he is a #2, even a #3, but the guy is wily and still throws 93-4, better than Joe Saunders and my guess is he out performs good old Bazooka Joe next year by a lot.

If he could have gotten nestled into one of those “Canyon” NL parks, like Petco, Chavez Ravine, even in Miami nobody would be questioning him right now.

Rabbitov
2 years 11 months ago

Ummm Guthrie can pitch in the AL East and has proven that over and over again.

PWNdroia
2 years 11 months ago

In the AL East, Guthrie is slightly better than mediocre. Nothing more than a #4 or #5 starter on a contending team. He alone can’t get you far into the playoffs.

Thomas Wilson
2 years 11 months ago

his 107 ERA+ as an Oriole would have led all Boston starters this year.

PWNdroia
2 years 11 months ago

If you’re trying to indicate that the Red Sox pitchers are bad, that’s pretty evident without even needing to be mentioned. That’s completely besides the point. You are trying to start an argument by drifting away from the current one.

PWNdroia
2 years 11 months ago

My bad, he’s better than expected, but still only a #3 or #4 on an AL East contending team.

Thomas Wilson
2 years 11 months ago

2.03ERA since the start of August 3.8K/BB Guthrie is good pitcher not a great one. 2/15 or 2/18 is a bargain for 200IP of 100-110 ERA+ baseball which is what I see Guthrie doing in KC

2 years 11 months ago

Would love to see him come back to BMore next season.

Otis26
2 years 11 months ago

We are desperate for starting pitching. He’s a guy who we feel like actually gives us a chance to win every time he pitches. All of our other starters just make us wonder how long they’ll last before they get blown up. Guthrie should be the #3 in this rotation next year.

jimfetterolf
2 years 11 months ago

One thing to remember is that Guthrie had a bum right shoulder from a bicycle crash back in April. He’s healed now.

As for Sam borrowing the 2/18/option line, the poster who originally offered that now sees Guthrie as a 2/20 or 21 signing. Length of contract is likely to be the sticking point for a 33 yr old power pitcher.

Tyler Andula
2 years 11 months ago

That’s an interesting bit of information. Didn’t know about the shoulder. He got what he deserves though. Have you ever ridden a bike in the Rockies? I’d rather birth a porcupine.

Seriously though, I would like to see him back in KC next year. He’s a solid pitcher and I know this is kind of cliche but he really is just a Kansas City kind of guy. My concern with that is GMDM overpays and expects Guthrie to come back and be the Ace of the staff next year because that’s just what Moore does.

Even if Guthrie comes out and isn’t quite what he has been since joining the Royals he could still be a nice trade chip at the deadline. Maybe by then they’ll be seeing Duffy and/or Paulino close to a return.

For the love of everything holy, Dayton, don’t let this be the only signing for the rotation this offseason.

kcmark
2 years 11 months ago

For the love of everything holy do not mention Duffy and Paulino in the same sentence as Guthrie. Guthrie is a proven ML pitcher. Duffy and Paulino are not.

Jack
2 years 9 months ago

Sometime you gotta stay where you are comfortable.