Right hander Jeremy Guthrie was so terrible while pitching for the Colorado Rockies this year that most people thought that the Royals got hosed when they swapped dumpster fire Jonathan Sanchez for Guthrie mid-season. Now, after a remarkable turnaround in Kansas City, the free agent right hander is said to be looking for a three-year deal worth $34 million, at least according to a tweet by KCStar Sports Editor Jeff Rosen.
Guthrie’s struggles in Colorado were startling and may have been the biggest reason the Rockies scrapped a tradition starting rotation and began their crazy 75-pitch limit. After years as a steady, if unspectacular, performer in the AL East, Guthrie posted a WHIP over 1.6 and ERA of nearly 7.00 in 19 games (15 starts) for the Rockies before being shipped off to KC in a swap of underperforming starters.
While Sanchez continued to fizzle in Denver, Guthrie caught new life with the Royals and posted an ERA of just 3.14 over 14 starts. The formula was pretty simple: Guthrie’s hits allowed were down, walks were down, and strikeouts were up once he left the high altitude and were actually better than his career norms.
Can he parlay a half season’s worth of success into a deal that would pay him better than $11 million per year? He shouldn’t be able to, at least if there is any kind of sanity in baseball at all. There are probably a dozen free agent starters more attractive than Guthrie on the market this year, and the Rockies debacle can’t simply be ignored. Guthrie showed than he is capable of going bad and even with the Coors Field factor, that’s something that will stick with GMs across the league.
I can’t see him getting anything close to what he’s asking for, though I don’t begrudge him for aiming high. After all, the Dodgers are looking for starters and they’ve already shown that they’ll drastically overspend for pitching.