Guthrie traded to Royals

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Veteran right-handed pitcher Jeremy Guthrie sounds like a guy who can't wait to join the Royals.

"I see a perfect fit there," said Guthrie, a former Ashland High standout. "There's a young corps of great baseball players in an organization that has been lauded recently for the moves and progress it's made. I really hope to come in there and be a large part of any good things we can do in the near future."

For Guthrie, just getting out of Colorado is a start — and that occurred Friday morning when the Royals and Rockies swapped disappointing starting pitchers. Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez is heading to Colorado.

The deal offers the chance for both players, and both teams, a chance to reset after offseason trades that turned into disasters.

The Royals are getting, in Guthrie, a 33-year-old who, until this season, was a reliable innings-eater in Baltimore. But he was 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA for the Rockies after arriving in a Feb. 6, 2012, trade for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom.

"The first thought," Guthrie said, "is disappointment that I couldn't hold up my end of the bargain in Colorado. I'll just try to put what's happened in the past 31/2 months behind me and learn from it but not let it affect what I'm able to do in going forward."

The deal was confirmed just prior to 11 a.m. It was first reported by Jon Paul Morosi of Guthrie was expected to report Friday, which would force the Royals to make a corresponding move to clear space on their 25-man roster.

Sanchez, 29, was designated for assignment Monday after a dreadful start against Seattle — seven runs in 11/3 innings — left him 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA. He came to the Royals in a Nov. 7, 2011, deal with pitcher Ryan Verdugo for outfielder Melky Cabrera.

Not only did Guthrie and Sanchez perform poorly for their new teams; players surrendered in the deals, Cabrera and Hammel, turned into All-Stars. Cabrera was picked as the Most Valuable Player last week in the All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium.

The Royals are believed to be paying roughly $1.1 million in the exchange of contracts, but they have the ability to control Guthrie, through an arbitration offer, for 2013. Sanchez will be a free agent after the season.

That control is seen by club officials as a key element in the deal — particularly if Guthrie succeeds in regaining his previous form: He averaged 10 victories and 202 innings with a 4.21 ERA in 32 starts for the Orioles from 2008-11.

Further, the Royals continue to seek further veteran help for a rotation whose 5.43 ERA, entering the weekend, ranked 28th among the 30 teams. In particular, they show interest in several Cubs pitchers: Paul Maholm, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster.

The Cubs acknowledge all three are available but the bidding, prior to the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, is expected to be fierce.

One Royals official said the price for Garza or Dempster would likely include a top pitching prospect — that probably means Jake Odorizzi or Yordano Ventura — but Maholm might be more cost-friendly.

Maholm, 30, is a soft-throwing lefty who is 8-6 with a 4.09 ERA in 19 games. He is making $4.75 million this season with a club option for next season at $6.5 million — it is that potential control, again, that makes him attractive to the Royals.

Guthrie's biggest problems this year centered on Coors Field. He is 2-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 10 road games but 1-5 with a 9.50 ERA at the Rockies' home park.

"I wouldn't call it a mental thing," he said. "I went in there with a lot of confidence in each start. It was just one of those situations where whatever pitch I threw was usually the wrong pitch; whatever location I threw was usually the wrong location.

"I just never seemed to get better."

So, yes, he's looking forward to Kauffman Stadium.

"It's obviously a large outfield," Guthrie said, "which is good in terms of keeping the ball in the ballpark. I think it's a very good pitcher's park. With the defense that Kansas City has, obviously, it makes it even better. I'm excited to call that home."

Share This Story