Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jeremy Guthrie making his case to be the worst acquisition in Colorado Rockies history

Jeremy Guthrie may have made his last pitch as a Rockie.
The hits keep coming for the Colorado Rockies...or, more appropriately, the hits keep coming for those batters opposing the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies lost a 5-1 lead to the Pirates, and the baseball game, 9-6 on Wednesday.

It would have been a bad trade even if Jason Hammel hadn't performed well for the Baltimore Orioles.

Being honest, Guthrie was just a marginal Major League pitcher before the trade. The idea that he was an ace was rooted in the fact that the Oriole team he pitched for was so bad that he became the guy who pitched on Opening Day by default.

What Guthrie has become has never been as apparent as the scene that took place in the 3rd inning. When opposing pitcher James McDonald stepped to the plate with two outs in the frame, Jim Tracy went to the mound to take the ball from Guthrie. When a manager doesn't think his starting pitcher is capable of getting the opposing pitcher out, the confidence is at an all-time low.

It got worse, as Guthrie headed to the dugout to a chorus of boos from the Coors Field faithful. The disgraced right-hander, who had previously tipped his cap to the booing crowd, avoided that disgrace. Instead, he headed into the dugout and ripped his pinstriped Rockies jersey off in disgust.

The Rockies came out on fire. They knocked McDonald around early. Dexter Fowler led off the bottom of the 1st inning with a pace-setting home run to right field. Two batters later, Carlos Gonzalez smashed a bomb off the back wall of the bullpen.

The scoring continued in the 2nd inning as the Rockies plated two more runs to give them a 5-1 lead.

In most seasons, a game in which the offense had it going, the game would become a laugher and be chalked up as a win by the 5th inning. However, in this season, the unfortunate reality for the Rockies is that there were probably more fans expecting them to blow the lead then fans who were expecting them to build on it.

That is the type of year the Rockies are having.

In a completely lost season, the acquisition of Guthrie has quickly moved up the list of poor decisions in the history of the Rockies. Along with trading Brad Ausmus to the Padres for Bruce Hurst and Greg Harris way back in 1993, the club has had their fair share of bad moves. Yet, the move to bring Guthrie in as the ace of the Rockies has backfired as bad as any of them.

The only redeeming quality of the Guthrie trade is that he was a one year mistake. The signings of Mike Hampton and Denny Neagle set the club back for six years, reshaping the way they went about business.

At this point, it isn't Guthrie's fault. He has made it clear that he is baffled by Coors Field. He has all but said that he has no confidence in himself pitching at altitude. The fact that the Rockies have run him back to the mound twice in this homestand, when getting rocked only makes Guthrie's trade value lower than it already is, it simply doesn't make sense.

The Rockies might be able to sell Guthrie to another team as a guy who will do better once he is out of the nightmare that has become his first season in Denver. It would be easy to convince another team that he will return to at least being serviceable once out of Coors, but the fact is, his value is slim-to-none, the best the Rockies will be able to do for Guthrie is a low-level minor leaguer and some salary relief.

With the trade deadline two weeks away, the Rockies should be well on their way to saying goodbye to many of the players who have been in the clubhouse with them all season long. Guthrie, if anyone wants him, will most certainly be gone. Marco Scutaro, Jason Giambi, Ramon Hernandez, and perhaps Rafael Betancourt should all be dressing in purple pinstripes for the final time sometime in the next two weeks.

Whether the Rockies can get some value from the trades remains to be seen, but the fact is, it probably works out better for the team that they are so far removed from even fooling themselves that they are in the race that they should have no issue wheeling and dealing nearly anyone that teams are willing to talk about.

The Rockies get a day off on Thursday before they head to San Diego and Arizona for a six-game road trip that has meaningless written all over it.

The team needs to continue to give their young talent a chance to improve. They need to get them as much experience as they possibly can in order to see what they have heading into the 2013 season.

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