The Orioles have traded starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies for starter Jason Hammel and reliever Matt Lindstrom. Lindstrom is a 31 year old former closer who pitched to a 3.00 ERA in 2011. Hammel is a 29 year old starter who was demoted to the Rockies bullpen last season. His ERA has not been lower than 4.33 in any season.
Hammel is no sure thing in the Orioles rotation. He will have to compete with Chen, Matusz, Britton, Hunter, Wada, Arrieta, Tillman, Johnson, Eveland, and Simon. If there is one thing the Orioles have done successfully this offseason it’s add rotation depth. Instead of pulling guys with no experience from Triple A when an injury occurs (Britton last year), the Orioles will have plenty of guys ready to fill in. The competition will force every starting pitcher to either succeed or be replaced. Nobody will be safe in the rotation now that Guthrie is gone. Guthrie was the only “sure thing.”
Lindstrom, Kevin Gregg, and Jim Johnson make a decent back end of the bullpen. All three have had success in their careers, and all three have closing experience. Jim Johnson will be the favorite to be the closer this season, but both Lindstrom and Gregg can challenge him for that job in Spring Training. Just like the rotation there are plenty of guys fighting for spots. Depth is highly important and the Orioles seem to have more of that than years prior.
The Rockies have already made several trades this off season to acquire starting pitching. They easily have more starting pitching depth than any team in the league. They have Jhoulys Chacin at the top of their rotation, who became a star last season. Jorge De La Rosa, who also has an impressive track record, returns from injury this season. Juan Nicasio was hit in the head with a line drive last season, but is expected to fight for a rotation spot. Nicasio has great stuff and is comparable to Ubaldo Jimenez. The Rockies also have two former 1st round picks that they acquired for Ubaldo last season. Both Drew Pomeranz and Alex White have very high upside. They also acquired starters Guillermo Moscoso and Josh Outman from Oakland in the Seth Smith trade. Moscoso looked highly impressive last year with his 3.37 ERA. Outman is a solid end of the rotation starter with a career 3.75 ERA. 2011 rookie Tyler Chatwood was also acquired from the Angels. Chatwood struggled late in the season but was very impressive in the first 3 months of his 22 year old season. On top of all those starters the Rockies have now added Jeremy Guthrie. Because of his veteran status he should be an automatic in their rotation as their #5 starter.
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