Dan Duquette's trade with the Rockies drew a lot of criticism, as he sent the Orioles' most consistent starter, Jeremy Guthrie, to Colorado in exchange for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. Guthrie, who had been rumored as a potential trade chip for a while, is the only Oriole to pitch 200 innings in the last 5 years.
The backlash is well-deserved. Most fans expected that a Guthrie trade would bring back prospects that would help the team in the future, but Hammel is 29 and Lindstrom is 32. Duquette said after the deal that there were no offers that included prospects and that this was by far the best deal, but I'm curious about the timing of the trade.
This trade came very late in the offseason, which could come from the fact that it just takes time to work this kind of thing out. If it took this long, I don't understand why didn't he wait until spring training?
March is a time where a lot of things can go right, but a lot can go wrong. Often times, at least one projected contender will lose a pitcher to injury, a la Adam Wainwright in 2011, and the team must scramble to find a replacement. In desperation, teams are more willing to part with players, which could have meant prospects for the Orioles.
I'm not a big fan of the trade, but I don't hate it. The Orioles gave away a great starter, but this was likely his last year in Baltimore so he needed to be traded eventually. Matt Lindstrom gives the Orioles a great bullpen piece that will boost the team tremendously. He is the most underrated player in the deal because of the role he fills for the Orioles.
The biggest problem now is that the Orioles have more questions in their rotation, which was the worst in baseball in 2011. Newcomer Wei-Yin Chen hasn't pitched in America but is suddenly the closest to a lock to make the rotation. Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and to some degree Tommy Hunter are all battling back from injuries that ruined their seasons.
The Orioles made the right move by trading Guthrie because he was never going to be on a winning Orioles team. It just doesn't make sense that they would get back mediocre players to try to win games in 2012. Dan Duquette said he wants the team at .500 this year, but Matt Lindstrom and Jason Hammel are not going to help get them closer than Jeremy Guthrie would have.
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