Angels Discussing Jeremy Guthrie?

By MJ Lloyd

I’m listening. Jeremy Guthrie isn’t a world beater and I’m not suggesting a change to the AL West would make the soon-to-be 33-year-old an All Star candidate. But for the right price, there isn’t anything wrong with kicking some tires. According to John Morosi, that’s the speculation

"One source said the Angels and Orioles have discussed the possibility of a Guthrie trade in recent days.In an attempt to secure cost certainty, some teams may strike quickly via trade instead of waiting for what the free-agent market bears."

I’ll take whatever I can get right now, Hot Stove related, even if Morosi’s “source” is a weird dream he had after eating a fish taco too close to bed time.

Guthrie is heading into his final year of arbitration after making $5.75 million in 2011. He’ll likely be facing an impressive raise after consistently throwing over 200 innings each of the past three years. He can’t figure into the Orioles future so he might not cost much to acquire.

From 2007-2011, Guthrie has been a serviceable pitcher (153 starts) recording a 4.12 ERA over 983.1 innings. His 106 ERA+ over that time makes him 6% more valuable than league average. The Orioles can’t pay ~$8M for league average. The Angels can, however, and might make him look even better.

Guthrie has a career fly ball rate of 41.0% so the spacious outfield and Bourjos led defense won’t aid Guthrie as much as it would a fly ball pitcher like Jered Weaver. But Mike Scioscia does stress defense. Since 2009, the Orioles are next to last in team UZR (ultimate zone rating) while the Angels are seventh.
The shift in parks and defense would have to give Guthrie a bump in value.

Again, I’m not saying Guthrie suddenly becomes a front end guy or even that much above-average-er considering he does have a career 4.68 FIP (fielding independent pitching). I’m not sure all of the stats in the world can account for how bad Mark Reynolds is at defense though.

Bill James projects 200.0 innings of 4.05 ERA and 4.56 FIP for Guthrie in 2012. If he can be had on the cheap, prospect wise, he seems like an ideal inning eating part of the rotation.