Everyday this week I will be taking a look at a different Oriole player who may be traded by this Sunday’s MLB trade deadline. I will examine other teams and their systems to find possible fits. Unlike any other site out there I will give you the names and expectations for guys who could potentially be playing for your Orioles via trade.
He is the most likely player to be traded at the deadline. At this point I am pretty much guaranteeing that he is dealt. With this being the last year of his contract and his value at the back end of any contending rotation it only makes sense for the Orioles to trade him. It has been reported that many teams have called to inquire about Guthrie and Andy McPhail is asking for an impact pitcher in return. In the general manager world an impact player is a guy who is either already a major leaguer, has some major league experience and is blocked at his position within the organization, is a prospect ready to be promoted, or is a major prospect that still needs time to develop. In lower end deals like the ones the Orioles did last year for Miguel Tejada and Ty Wigginton an impact player is not dealt. Instead the Orioles pick up a few mid level prospects who have the chance to be major league players. So what sort of impact players could the Orioles get in a deal for Guthrie?
First of all we need to look at potential trade partners. For a rental player like Guthrie, who won’t be with the team acquiring him after this season, the only trade partners are trade deadline buying contenders. If someone like Nick Markakis were to be dealt with multiple years left on their contract then more than just contenders would be in on the bidding. For this particular deal we can only narrow it down to the contenders. That means that we eliminate Tampa Bay, Toronto, Kansas City, Oakland, Seattle, New York Mets, Washington, Florida, Chicago Cubs, Houston, Colorado, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego. Next we eliminate the teams who are not in need of starting pitchers. That gets rid of Atlanta, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Texas. The only other team left to eliminate is the New York Yankees. It has been reported that the Yankees have shown interest in him, but the Orioles have no intentions of dealing with that team. That narrows it to 7. Here is the list of the top 7 teams that Guthrie could be traded to. This list is in order of most likely to least likely.
1. Detroit Tigers- The Tigers have been linked to Guthrie over the last few weeks and are the most likely team to acquire him. With Verlander, Scherzer, Porcello, and Penny they clearly have the need to add one more starter to the back of their rotation. The Tigers are a good trade match because of the number of major league ready arms they have. They are organization rich with pitching with 6 of their 10 Baseball America organizational prospects being pitchers. Their #2 pitching prospect and #3 on their Baseball America list is 23 year old Andy Oliver. Oliver was taken in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft and posted a 9-8 record with a 3.45 ERA in the minors last year, which was his first professional season. Oliver is a high strikeout pitcher with 214 K in 229 minor league innings. Did I mention he is a lefty? The other arm they can deal is Charlie Furbush. Furbush is currently in Detroit’s bullpen and has made a few spot starts for them. Don’t let the bullpen thing scare you because Furbush is certainly a starter. The Tigers have lacked a left handed bullpen arm, so Furbush came up to help the team in that role. He currently has a 3.77 major league ERA and went 25-20 with a 3.71 ERA over 4 seasons in the minors. Furbush is only 25. Either of these guys would immediately fit into the long term rotation plan with Matusz, Britton, and Arrieta. As an Orioles fan you should hope that the Birds deal with Detroit and acquire one of these two, especially Oliver.
2. St Louis Cardinals- As of yesterday the Cardinals are now serious contenders for Guthrie’s services. With Carpetner, Garcia, and Lohse pitching well this year, you have to wonder if the Cardinals are looking to move either Kyle McClellan or Jake Westbrook to the bullpen. Or possibly Kyle McClellan could be the guy they trade for Guthrie. He is only 26 years old and started the year very strong. He has struggled a bit as of late, but still carries a 6-6 record with a 4.34 ERA. He would immediately be the most proven pitcher in the O’s rotation. The Cardinals will not trade their top pitching prospects Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez and there is little chance they will deal their #3 Tyrell Jenkins. All of them are elite pitching prospects. Their #6-10 on their Baseball America organizational top 10 are all pitchers, so they have great depth. #6 on the list is Lance Lynn, and he is a strong possibility because he is pitching well at the Triple A level. He was their first round pick in 2008, is 32-18 with a 3.69 ERA the last 3 years in the minors, and is 7-3 with a 3.84 ERA at Triple A this year. That is an impact prospect who is major league ready on a team like the Orioles. None of the other prospects named are ready.
3. Arizona Diamondbacks- Only the Tigers and Cardinals have been officially linked to Guthrie so far, so these next 5 are possibilities that I see as fitting trade partners. Any of these 5 teams could enter the trade conversation at any point this week. Baltimore and Arizona already have a good trade relationship with the Mark Reynolds deal, so I rank them 3rd. They have Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Joe Saunders, and Josh Collmenter. They need a 5th starter. Micah Owings and Zach Duke just don’t cut it. Wade Miley would fit here. Miley is 23-20 with a 3.67 ERA in 4 minor league seasons. He is 24 years old, is a lefty, and is 3-0 with a 3.42 ERA at Triple A this year. A guy like this would immediately be the Orioles top pitching prospect and could pitch in the majors this year. Since Arizona took 2 pitchers in the top 7 picks of this year’s draft with Trevor Bauer and Archie Bradley, and they have stud prospects Jarrod Parker and Tyler Skaggs, they can afford to deal a guy like Miley. There is no room for him in a future rotation.
4. Cleveland Indians- How fitting would it be to send Guthrie back to the team that we got him from? Cleveland could use one more starter and has plenty of big league arms to give. They could deal David Huff who is currently with the team and will start this week. His major league numbers will scare you (14-19 5.65 ERA), but he’s had some nice games at the big league level and has nice upside. They could also deal Mitch Talbot who can’t seem to stay healthy. He’s had poor major league numbers, but he’s younger than Guthrie at age 27 and already has experience. I don’t see them dealing Alex White or Drew Pomeranz, so maybe they could deal Jason Knapp. He is only 20 years old and only at the Single A level, but he is a high upside prospect.
5. Cincinnati Reds- They have had plenty of rotation problems all year so it would make sense for them to get a proven consistent guy like Guthrie. He is more consistent than Edinson Volquez, and more trustworthy than Dontrelle Willis. They could deal Sam LeCure who currently pitches out of their bullpen. He is 27 with big league experience, has a 2.54 ERA this year, and has had a few nice spot starts for them this year. His career ERA in the majors is a 3.54. He probably has similar value to Guthrie, except he isn’t as proven yet and has more years on his contract. Their only pitching prospect worth getting is Kyle Lotzkar, but he’s only in Single A. Maybe they give up on Edinson Volquez and deal him to the O’s?
6. Philadelphia Phillies- Who would have thought they would need rotation help? The Phillies want to win right now and could deal any major league pitcher who won’t help them this year. That means Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton are possibilities. The Orioles were tied to Blanton last year as well and have an interest in him. He has been injured for most of this season, but has been relatively healthy over his career. I have Philadelphia ranked 6th because I think its a long shot that they trade for a rotation arm. If they do I think they go for an even bigger prize like Ubaldo Jimenez. Halladay/Lee/Jimenez/Hamels/Oswalt is a guaranteed World Series win so why not?
7. Boston Red Sox- They match but for some reason I think there is bad blood between the two teams. I’m not sure why? It’s hard to trade a guy within division and that’s why Boston is ranked 7th of 7. The kid they have up right now Kyle Weiland is a possibility to be traded. He isn’t in their organizational top 10 so it appears he is with the team in an effort to use as trade bait. And he was flashed in front of the O’s twice already this year. Coincidence? He’s a 24 year old 3rd round pick with a 23-27 record and a 3.37 ERA in 4 minor league seasons. Not bad compared to the O’s pitching prospects. Do you think we can get Matt Albers for Guthrie?
Overall, be happy if we can get a Detroit or St Louis deal. Oliver, Furbush, McClellan, and Lynn would all be welcomed trade targets. The rest of the teams don’t excite me much. There seems to be a direct coorelation with the quality of players available and the teams that McPhail are legitimately talking to. I’m sure Cleveland has already asked about Guthrie, but when David Huff is what you have to offer, McPhail hangs up the phone. Our GM is way ahead of the game in weeding out Detroit and St Louis as the best two fits.