It's being reported by the Baltimore Sun, MASN, and Jeremy Guthrie himself on Twitter: our defacto ace and fan favorite Jeremy Guthrie has been traded to the Colorado Rockies for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom.
Ok, so the first thing is that I understand the front office doesn't have the luxury of thinking like a fan when it comes to making trades. As a fan, I'm sad that Jeremy Guthrie is gone. He's a good baseball player and a nicer human, and he's been good to the city of Baltimore in his time here. But even I know that he most likely wasn't going to be on the next good Orioles team, so if a good deal could be made for him, it should have been.
The question is: is this a good deal?
Jason Hammel is 29 years old and started his career with the Devil Rays, but has spent the last three seasons in Colorado. He's pitched about 170 innings in each of the last three seasons, and in 2009 and 2010 was pretty good, putting up an fWAR of 3.9 in each of the years. His ERA was inflated quite a bit over his FIP in those years, but took an opposite turn in 2011. After a poor showing in the rotation, Hammel was demoted to the bullpen on August 20th and made seven appearances for the rest of the season.
Hammel isn't a horrible pitcher, that's for certain. He'll be getting out of Coors Field which could help him, and he could conceivably be productive for the Orioles this year. Will he be as productive as Guthrie? Sure, maybe, if he can pitch like he did a few seasons ago. And he won't be a free agent until 2014 so there's an extra year than the O's would get from Guthrie.
The other piece of the trade is Matt Lindstrom. When the season begins, Lindstrom will be 32 years old. He is a serviceable bullpen arm and nothing more. His current contract has a $4M option for 2013, or else he'll be a free agent after this season.
So, is it a good deal? I think as far as strict exchange of talent goes, it's not awful. But that's not what the Orioles need. If this deal ends up making the Orioles a better team, it will only be a marginal difference and it will be short term. The Orioles need to make changes that will help them down the road, not maybe for this season. I have no way of knowing if a Guthrie trade could bring back something that would help the Orioles long term, but if it's determined that the best you can do for him is this deal right here, then I wish they would have just let Guthrie stay an Oriole.
We don't have much as Orioles fans, but we have a few players we love to root for. Guthrie is one of them, and getting rid of him for this return just doesn't feel right.