Jeremy Guthrie avoided arbitration and signed a nice $5.75 million deal with the Orioles yesterday.
According to Guthrie, the deal was right in the middle of what Guthrie asked for ($6.5 million) and the $5 million Baltimore offered, meaning both sides were happy and even somewhat sensible.
I have to confess I have a soft spot for the Stanford alum, and though the right hander's numbers are sort of up and down, Guthrie is the kind of guy I love as a third or fourth arm in an AL only format, and I even like him as a sixth or reserve guy in a mixed format.
Over four years with the O's, Guthrie is 38-48, 4.06 over 121 starts, and his 2010 numbers of 11-14, 3.83 hide his killer second half of 8-4, 2.76. True his 2009 10-17, 5.04 of 2009 was largely forgettable, but a year earlier the numbers were 10-12, 3.63. And, well, remember, this is a guy who pitched for the hapless Baltimore.
Baltimore is plagued/blessed with being in the toughest division on earth: the AL East. And, for years they have been stumbling along struggling, taking over the cellar after Tampa became a legit contender.
But, now there is a chance good--or well, maybe better--things are happening at Camden Yards, and the Orioles rotation, with Brian Matusz. Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman, and Jake Arrieta as a rotation, with maybe a handful of starts for Justin Duchscherer.
Mind you, I don't think the O's will drive past Boston or New York, or for now even the Rays. But, I do think they can finish over .500, and I do think, especially this year, they will do all right. They might even finish above Toronto, the other former strong team searching for a new identity in the AL East.
Ultimately, Guthrie is kind of a pitching version of Adam LaRoche. Undervalued and under-appreciated, which means I can sneak him past in the later rounds of a snake, and get him for $5-$7 in an AL only auction, and less in a mixed format.
Fine with me.