MLB Trade Speculation: 5 Trade Packages for Jeremy Guthrie
The market for starting pitching at the trade deadline is still pretty weak because there are a lot of teams still in contention for the playoffs, but the Orioles seem to be one of the teams already facing elimination. They also have one of the best starters that could be available.
The Orioles would love to have Guthrie be their ace on a contending team, but he probably won't be with the team at that point. Guthrie is still under team control through 2012, but will be 34 as he enters the 2013 free agent market. That said, he can provide a contender a great pitcher that can go deep into games and save the bullpen.
Guthrie has reached 200 innings in each of his last two seasons and is on pace to do it again. He is 3-9 this year, but that has more to do with his terrible run support than his talent because he has a pretty good 3.93 ERA.
The O's aren't looking to trade Guthrie because their younger pitchers haven't developed as expected. Chris Jakubauskas is already in the rotation and Brad Bergesen or Chris Tillman would have to step up and take Guthrie's place. Both of them have had trouble with pitch count, so replacing Guthrie's bullpen saving outings would be difficult. The demotion of Brian Matusz also means that the Orioles want to keep some depth.
Guthrie is the Orioles best trade chip, so they will listen to offers, but they would need to be blown away to make a deal. Here are some possible scenarios that would get Guthrie to a better situation.
Note: All of these potential deals are purely speculative.
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Yonder Alonso, 1B
Zack Cozart, SS
The Reds have had a lot of difficulty keeping all five starters healthy and need some more stability to push for the postseason.
The Orioles only have Derrek Lee for the rest of this year and there is nobody in the minors to replace him. Yonder Alonso is major league ready and blocked at first by Joey Votto. The Reds are trying to move him to left field, but he is likely just going to be traded to strengthen the Reds for the playoff run.
Zack Cozart could be a replacement for J.J. Hardy if they lose him or could just be a backup middle infielder. The Orioles have struggled to replace Brian Roberts and he could be valuable with an injury prone Roberts in the future.
The problem with the deal is acquiring Alonso means that the Orioles will probably not go after Prince Fielder, but the younger, cheaper Alonso may be better for the club in the long run financially.
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Juan Nicasio, RHP
Chris Nelson, SS
The Rockies finally got Aaron Cook back from injury, but are struggling without Jorge De La Rosa.
Nicasio and Nelson are both playing in the majors right now, but aren't really impressing. Nicasio was solid at Double A, but needs a little more time in the minors. He can do well for the Orioles at Norfolk to develop for the future.
Nelson has an incredibly limited future with the Rockies if he stays at short. Troy Tulowitzki isn't going anywhere and Mark Ellis is now playing second. The Orioles could take Nelson off of the Rockies hands.
Trevor May, RHP
Matt Rizzotti, 1B
The Phillies are relying on a very odd back end of the rotation. Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are unbelievable, but Vance Worley and Kyle Kendrick to fill in for Roy Oswalt while he is out for an extended period.
Trevor May is very young, but is pitching very well at High Single A. He is fifth in the entire minors in strikeouts and has a very low ERA. He is a little further from the majors than the Orioles would want, but the potential makes up for it.
Matt Rizzotti is showing a lot of power at Double A. His future is blurry for the big league club because Ryan Howard is at first. A shift to the outfield seems unlikely because Brown and Victorino are there now and Jon Singleton was shifted to left to take over there in a couple years. Rizzotti could potentially play in the majors in 2012.
Boston Red Sox
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Will Middlebrook, 3B
Kyle Weiland, RHP
Lars Anderson, 1B
Clay Buchholz is injured and could be out for a while. Dice-K is also out for an extended period, but was pitching poorly anyway. It is probably a very unlikely destination for Guthrie to go because the Orioles probably won't want to trade him within the division. A good haul could change that though.
The Orioles would probably want Anthony Ranaudo first, but the Red Sox won't give him up. Will Middlebrook has played very well and could be groomed to replace Mark Reynolds in a couple years.
Kyle Weiland is close to major league ready and has had very strong numbers at Triple A Pawtucket. The Orioles would love some high minor league pitching because they have none.
Lars Anderson has struggled this year, but has been rated high the last few years. He is definitely a trade chip for the Red Sox because they have a few people ahead of him on the depth chart.
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Andrew Oliver, LHP
Francisco Martinez, 3B
The Tigers need some pitching because they have the 25th ranked team ERA. They gave up on Phil Coke in favor of Charlie Furbush (who is second to Al Albuquerque as the goofiest name on the team). They need someone a third pitcher to complement the strong 1-2 of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.
Andrew Oliver is close to big league ready, but still needs some polish. He could be a great arm for the Orioles and is more valuable because he pitches left handed.
Francisco Martinez is a good Double A third baseman that could be a very good five tool player. He is a few years out, but would provide solid defense to go with his offense, something the Orioles have lacked since Melvin Mora declined and left.