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Royals re-sign Jeremy Guthrie to three-year, $25 million deal

Nov 20, 2012, 11:51 AM EDT

Jeremy Guthrie AP

After some talk recently that free agent Jeremy Guthrie had priced himself out of the Royals’ range the two sides have agreed to a three year deal worth $25 million, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.

Guthrie was a solid innings-eater for the Orioles, but things went horribly for him following a trade to the Rockies last offseason. He threw 91 innings for Colorado with a 6.35 ERA and .324 opponents’ batting average, at which point the Rockies dumped him on the Royals in exchange for Jonathan Sanchez.

And then Guthrie turned things around in Kansas City, starting 12 games with a 3.16 ERA to convince the Royals he was worth making a three-year commitment to at age 34. He’ll get $5 million in 2013, $11 million in 2014, and $9 million in 2015.

He’s thrown at least 175 innings in six straight seasons, but Guthrie has never managed an above-average strikeout rate despite good velocity and his career ERA as a starter is 4.21. He’s a solid, durable third or fourth starter entering his mid-30s and that type of player certainly has plenty of value, but a three-year, $25 million commitment seems awfully rich.

  1. geoknows - Nov 20, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    He was going to get three years from somebody; I guess $25 million isn’t so awful. It’s a ton less than he was rumored to be asking. Maybe a bit of an overpay but not egregious. If he’s the pitcher he was in Baltimore, he’ll earn his keep.

  2. dcfan4life - Nov 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    12 games nets him $25 million from a team with a limited payroll. Ignoring his career stats as a marginal pitcher, i think the Royals went out on a limb here. I hope it works out though, would hate to see one of the higher paid Royals stink up the joint. Wouldn’t be fair to their loyal, patient, and well deserving of competitive baseball fans.

  3. ningenito78 - Nov 20, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    He was going to get three years from somebody

    Really? Why?

    • geoknows - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Because the pitching market will play out that way. Absolutely he was going to get three years. Should he? No, probably not. That’s the way the game is now, though.

      • geoknows - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:02 PM

        Meant to add also, that, as groundruledouble says below, in two months, this deal will look like a bargain.

  4. groundruledoublebourbon - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    The market for pitching is about to run off the rails with the new distributions to all MLB teams. This deal will only look better in a month or two. Admittedly, two years from now, who knows how Guthrie’s performance will make it look.

    The way the deal is structured has me giddy the Royals will cut ties with Hochevar (who would be due around $5M next year if tendered). In 2013, Guthrie’s deal is worth $5M. Improvement to the staff, no effect to overall projected payroll which leaves room to sign/trade for one more starter. Also, 2014 has the biggest allocation to Guthrie’s salary–fine, because Ervin Santana will undoubtedly be off the books by then.

    • sportsdrenched - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      That’s pretty much how I feel about this. But will they cut ties with Hochevar?

      • groundruledoublebourbon - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        Sure hope so. Really sick of seeing his 91 mph “sinker” sink into the outfield bleachers.

  5. nategearhart - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    $11 MILLION in 2014?! Gross.

  6. edelmanfanclub - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    If elite pitchers make 24 million annually. This deal isn’t bad for an average to above average pitcher. It could be way way worse. He’ll eat up innings, and he looked alot better in KC than he did in COL

  7. Tyree Studio - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    David Glass opened his wallet? Wow. Somebody get the devil a jacket and gloves…

  8. kcrobert10 - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    I’m not a fan of this deal much rather have shawn Marcum for a little more cash. They won’t and can’t cut cool hand Luke cause they need him. Even if the trade for hellickson or Moore you still need hochavear. Rotation right now is santana, guthrie, hochavear, Chen, oderizzi or smith. If you get the trade for a pitcher then you bump Chen, oderizzi, or smith. Still need those guys there will be injuries afterall.

    • mattyflex - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:50 PM

      You’re forgetting about Luis Mendoza…….

    • mattyflex - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      Not to mention Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino as they return from TJ surgeries…..

  9. cur68 - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    I had a bit of a debate with someone about park effects and how Kauffman actually makes some pitchers better. Guys that give up a lot of fly balls in particular. Ervin Santana was the pitcher we back and forthed with. Guthrie is another guy who will pitch half his games in Kaufman. He’s a good pitcher in that park. He has a strong defending out field behind him. I do believe the Royals are going to be next season’s Orioles. They are a lot better than they appear to be and have great pitcher’s park to play in. If they can improve their hitting, they stand to make a killing at home.

  10. thebadguyswon - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Jesus… have limited money you’re willing spend and this is how you do it?

    Huge overpay.

    • Paul White - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      The Royals don’t have limited money, at least not so limited that they can’t afford Guthrie. Rany Jazayerli has covered this extensively, and he’s right. Even with Santana’s salary and now Guthrie’s, the Royals are at about $76 million in 2013 salary, well below the $80-$85 million Rany projects them to be able to afford. And that gets better if they cut Hochevar and/or Chris Volstad and save another $5-$7 million. In fact, if they do, they’ll be at roughly $69 million for 2013, giving then $11-$16 million to spend on yet another pitcher. That would be a pretty passable pitcher, someone in the Santana (pre-2012) mold, giving them a payroll they can afford and a rotation of:

      Free Agent Pitcher X

      With Odorrizi, Duffy and Paulino available when they are ready and/or healthy. That’s a playable rotation in the AL Central. And given that their offense is likely to improve greatly with the health of Lorenzo Cain and Salvador Perez, the replacement of Francoeur with Wil Myers, and even a minor bounce back year from Eric Hosmer, suddenly that makes them a reasonable “contender”. That’s in quotes because this is the AL Central, where anyone who threatens .500 can win the division. Signing Guthrie helps set them up to do that. Now they need to take those last couple of steps…..Cut Hochevar and Volstad, and throw $10-$15 million at whatever decent starter will take their money.

      • cur68 - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:39 PM

        They could get RA Dickey for that kind of dough. RA in Kaufman would flirt with a no hitter every time his turn comes up.

  11. pdowdy83 - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Kyle Lohse is doing a happy dance right now. He was already going to clean up but if Guthrie got that contract he is sure to be ale to get 4 or 5 years and a lot more money…

  12. realitypolice - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Rare example of a guy who seems to thrive in the AL over the NL. Rare breed, indeed. An innings eater with those AL numbers is worth that contract. He surely would have gotten as much, if not more, elsewhere.

    More importantly, two other pieces of good news from this: The Royals will pay people, and people with options will actually choose to stay with the Royals.

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