Results tagged ‘ jeremy guthrie ’

Guthrie on his improving fastball

Likely Opening Day starter Jeremy Guthrie talked about his third spring start this afternoon. Here’s what he had to say.

[on the wind playing a role in his final line]
 “It doesn’t factor into what I do. You always try to keep the ball down, so whether the wind’s blowing out or not, you try to get the ball to stay down and get ground balls.”

“I did not think [Raul Ibanez's ball] was going to be a home run, but at the same time, you have to hit the ball well for to go out to center field. He put a good swing on it. I fell behind in the count and he was able to swing aggressively.”

[on how he looks at spring results:] “You always look at the process. I look at spring the same as I do during the season. Evaluate pitches, see what you can do better. Today, I worked behind in the count. Obviously, last game I was 12 of 16 first-pitch strikes. Today, I was probably less than half to the hitters. When you get behind to good hitters, they take a more aggressive approach and can swing better, but you try to do the best you can. There’s pitches I’d take back, there’s some that I wouldn’t.

The biggest pitch I didn’t like was walking [Shane] Victorino. Small things. You work on small things and make small adjustments and get better.”

[on where he feels like he's at this spring]
“I always look at the execution. Today, my fastball was as good as it’s been all spring. That’s what you look at. Curveball was good. And for the most part I had good action on the fastball, and that’s what you look at. When they hit a ball hard, you try to break down why it was. Today, I attribute it to working behind in the count and them being aggressive at the plate.”

“I’m very happy. I like the way the ball feels coming out of my hand. The ability to throw all four pitches for strikes is a real positive.”

Luke Scott avoids arbitration

The Orioles have avoided arbitration with Luke Scott, agreeing to a one-year deal on Thursday that will pay the outfielder $6.4 million in 2011.

The deal –first reported by the Baltimore Sun — avoids what is often a contentious court hearing  on Monday in Arizona and is a compromise for both sides. Scott, last season’s Most Valuable Oriole, wanted $6.85 million while the O’s countered with $5.7 earlier this offseason.  The two sides briefly flirted with the idea of a longer deal before settling on a one-year figure.

Scott hit a career-high 27 home runs and totaled 72 RBIs in 131 games last season. Known to be a streaky hitter he put together a solid
4 1/2-month stretch, finishing with a .284 batting average and a .535
slugging percentage. With the Orioles agreeing to terms Vladimir Guerrero, Scott is expected to be the team’s regular left fielder.

The Orioles lone arbitration-eligible player without a contract is now Jeremy Guthrie, whose hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. Guthrie proposed a salary of $6.5 million for 2011, while the O’s
countered with a $5 million offer. The 31-year-old was the ace who
anchored the Orioles’ rotation, particularly in the second half, when he
went 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA in his final 14 starts.

The O’s have also been in frequent contact with Guthrie and remain optimistic that they can also avoid court with their top starter.

Scott made $4.05 million in 2010.

Arbitration and Non-tender deadlines nearing

The baseball news should pick up this week, starting with tonight’s midnight deadline for free agents to accept arbitration if offered by their club.

The Orioles did not offer arbitration to either Koji Uehara or Kevin Millwood so there’s no decisions on that front. The wonderful website MLB Trade rumors  has done a great job keeping track of the decisions and you can click here for the American League and NL updates.
 
Most big-name free agents are a lock to decline, but there’s always some middle-of-the-pack guys who opt to test the market in hopes of a pay raise and/or better situation. Teams that offer arbitration and are declined get compensation in the form of Draft picks, depending on if the free agent is a “Type A” or “Type B”.

Thursday is is the non-tender date, which has been moved up from recent years. This is the deadline for the Orioles to tender a contract to any arbitration-eligible players. That includes six guys: Matt Albers, Jeremy Guthrie, Jim Johnson, Felix Pie, Adam Jones and Luke Scott. Albers, who seemed to constantly be in jeopardy of losing his roster spot, has shown he can be an effective Major League reliever at times. The O’s will decide whether he’s a part of their plans for next season.

Any player tendered a contract is considered a signed player; the question becomes whether a deal is worked out or the sides go to an arbitration hearing to decide a salary.

On the flip side of the non-tender deadline, as I noted in today’s Winter Meetings preview Part 1, the Orioles will be monitoring closely who other clubs non tender.  It’s not often a non-tender emerges as a bona fide Major League contributor, but there are certainly bargains to be had.

Os/Red Sox lineups and pregame tidbits

*Blogged it last night, but it’s worth a re-mention to note that Nick Markakis is one of just three players in baseball history to post four consecutive seasons of least 43 doubles .Markakis doubled twice last night to accomplish the feat.
*Julio Lugo is back with the team after he was diagnosed with a pinched partial nerve in his head that had been giving him reoccurring headaches. Lugo is available tonight if needed, although manager Buck Showalter said they will make sure he’s OK physically from the layoff first.
*The Orioles rotation is “day-to-day” for the Toronto series although Jeremy Guthrie figures to get one of those starts. The O’s want to give Rick VandenHurk a start but are running out of opportunities to do so.
 

ORIOLES LINEUP:

Brian Roberts  2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Matt Wieters C
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Robert Andino 3B
Cesar Izturis SS

RHP Brad Bergesen

RED SOX LINEUP:

Marco Scutaro 2B
JD Drew RF
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jed Lowrie SS
Ryan Kalish CF
Daniel Nava LF
Lars Anderson 1B

RHP Clay Buchholz

Girardi frustrated with Guthrie

Pitching inside is part of Jeremy Guthrie’s game, a critical component that has helped the Orioles right-hander put together a resurgent 2010 season. But Yankees manager Joe Girardi doesn’t have to like it.

Following New York’s 11-3 rout of Baltimore on Saturday night, Girardi spoke out about Guthrie’s propensity for hit batsmen — which includes 10 Yankees since July 28, 2008 — his latest striking Derek Jeter’s left elbow with the first pitch of the game.

“[There's] too many. Just too many,” Girardi said of Guthrie’s 13 hit batters, second in the Majors only to Yankees starter A.J. Burnett’s 16.  “I don’t really understand it. I know he likes to pitch inside, but it’s too many. And that doesn’t include the ones in Spring Training.”

Guthrie plunked Mark Teixeira -who missed the several days following — and Francisco Cervelli in Grapefruit League action and Girardi also aired his frustrations this spring. When asked following Saturday’s game if he thought Guthrie was purposely hitting Yankees, Girardi said he didn’t know.

” You’ll have to ask him,” he said. “My thought is it’s way too many.”

Neither Jeter or Guthrie took offense to the first-pitch fastball that afforded Jeter first base, with the Yankees captain calling Guthrie “effectively wild” and saying he took no offense to being hit. Following Jeter’s plunking, neither bench was warned and home plate umpire Tony Randazzo didn’t deem it necessary to speak to Guthrie, furthering the case that it was accidental.

“[I was] just trying to go inside,” said Guthrie, who has made a conscious effort to be more aggressive this season.  “Derek knows I am going to throw the ball in there all day long, that’s the way I approach it. So I guess it was a good indicator when I tried to throw the pitches away later on in the game they went inside and when I tried to throw that one inside it went way inside. So it’s just a matter of not having great command [on Saturday night.]“

“I don’t read anything into it all,” Jeter said of Guthrie’s pitch and tendency to hit more Yankees batters than any other Major League squad.

“I haven’t been counting,” Jeter said. “I don’t know why he would.”

Os Reax to Showalter hiring

With the news that Buck Showalter has been named the Orioles manager, here are some reactions from inside the clubhouse today.

KEVIN MILLWOOD (who played under Showalter in Texas and remains in close contact with him)

[on his reaction to the hiring] “It’s going to take a lot more than a manager to get a team going in the right direction. I think Buck’s going to do a good job for us, he’s done a good job every where he’s been. It’s just going to be coming down to the simple point of guys buying into what he preaches.”
 
[on Showalter's no nonsense approach] “I think cutting back on some nonsense wouldn’t be a bad thing. Maybe just new blood around here, maybe that will help. Obviously, something needs to change and I think  [interim manager Juan Samuel] did a good job, but sometimes you got to take someone from the outside coming in to really make the kind of change that they need.”

It will definitely be nice to know who is going to be here for however long, and not worried about whether he’s getting fired at the end of the season and in the offseason. This season you are going to end up with him and you are going to go into Spring Training with him and probably have him for a while after that. So, a little stability goes a long way.”

MATT WIETERS

[on his initial reaction to the hiring of Showalter] “We’ve been hearing about it a lot over the last month or so we were certainly aware that the situation might happen. It’s something that it doesn’t really matter who the manager is, the players are going to have to play better and we’re all going to have to pull together and play better as a team. Maybe this will give us a more continuous face at the head.

I’ve loved both managers [Dave Trembley and Samuel] that I’ve had since I’ve been here, but now that I know that this guy is going to probably be here for a while. I never met the guy so I’m definitely going to be coming in with eyes wide open and see what he’s all about. It will be good that you’ll have a manager that’s probably going to be here for a long time.”

[on what he's heard about Showalter]: “He goes into places and he commands respect and he’s going to sort of preach his ways and the places that he’s been, he’s been able to turn around some teams and be successful. Everybody in this clubhouse wants to turn things around.”

BRIAN ROBERTS

[on his reaction] “First and foremost, you feel bad for the guys that came before him. I think we still feel bad for Dave and Juan’s done a great job filling in. I think always, the guys that have been around for a while, and the ones that have been here, you hope that they have a chance. We know now that it’s going to be Buck. I’ve heard good things. I heard he’s very prepared and certainly his reputation over the years is very good. He’s managed winning teams. Hopefully, it will be something good for us.”

[on Buck bringing some changes to the organization] “I’m sure he’s going to change some things. I think every manager is a little bit different. I don’t know how much can be changed. I don’t think any of us really know that at this point. I guess Millwood could give us a little bit of an idea of what’s coming. I think it’s just going to be something that we’re going to have to experience and see where he takes us.

[on finally knowing what's going to happen] “Direction, I think stability is always a good thing. I don’t think any organization, any company wants to be in an unstable place. Hopefully, this will bring some stability and hopefully this will be something that will be a lasting decision, and it will maybe go even beyond that. I think it’s a good starting point. When he gets here on Tuesday, we’ll see where we’re at.”

NICK MARKAKIS

“With the situation we are in, it is nice to know that we are going to have a permanent solution as far as the manager goes. It’s been tough, Juan’s been doing a good job, but the organization feels that we needed to have a long-term manager. And I think for the team and the organization it’s the right decision.”

[on what he knows about Showalter] “Nothing, never met him.  You hear what you hear but you don’t know what you are going to get until he talks to us, Tuesday. And we will go from there.”

JEREMY GUTHRIE

“I really don’t know anything about Buck other than I’ve heard a few players say they enjoyed playing for him. He expects a lot of his players, pays attention to details. That’s about the extent I’ve heard of him as a manager. I’m eager to see his knowledge of the game, just watching baseball tonight and ESPN programs. He has a tremendous track record, it’s probably one of the things that was most appealing to us in our situation is a guy who has been there and had a ton of success in his career.”

[on possible changes coming with Showalter as manager] “Yes I think he’s definitely here to change things. It makes sense for them to bring in fresh perspective, bring in a different attitude, someone who hasn’t necessarily been part of the orioles but has seen what we have gone through the past years. And try that approach. In the four years I’ve been here that’s an approach we haven’t taken yet. I can’t speak for [president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail] but I’m sure that’s part of what went into the decision making to bring Buck on board.”

[on finally having a long-term manager in place] “It will certainly provide stability and give us a foundation to start building off. As it is it feels like maybe we’ve been building kind of on a temporary foundation. But now Buck will arrive next week and he will begin his project of getting this team back where it should be.”

What do you do?

I’m off this series in Toronto with a prior engagement, but I’ve gotten a bunch of emails and questions on Twitter –enough to make me check out the remnants of last night’s game via the box score.

The question is, what do you do with Brad Bergesen? Should you have left him in longer? Do you call up Zach Britton in his place? Do you let Britton continue to develop?

Like I said, I’m not with the team and I don’t play couch-GM nearly as good as my friend/colleague MASN’s Roch Kubatko. I’ll be back with the O’s for Kansas City on Thursday, and by then I’m sure we will know Bergy’s fate.

The thing is, I’m not sure what the right move is here. It’s hard to punish a guy who is far from alone in his struggles. Do you send all the young guys back to Norfolk? Or do you let them develop in what is essentially a lost season ? Do you weigh each particular case in terms of who can maybe work through their issues up here and who can’t?

I wasn’t covering the Orioles last year and only vaguely remember Brad Bergesen when I covered an Os-Yanks series. I’ve heard he was great, a pleasant surprise for Baltimore. I’ve seen flashes of it (like that game at Fenway Park), but for the most part Bergy’s been ineffective. Is it mental or mechanical? Is the League catching up to him?

I’m just as perplexed/astounded as most of you are. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, interim manager Juan Samuel and pitching coach Rick Kranitz. But I certainly wouldn’t want any of their jobs right about now.

I will say this: I’ve done a lot of talking, mostly off the record in the visitors’ clubhouse and on the road. The general consensus about the Os young arms is they’re talented but the expectations placed on them this spring were incredibly unrealistic.
 
“Everything had to go right for those guys to have a chance,” said one rival GM. “And everything has gone wrong.”

None of these guys are even 25 yet. And most of them have about a year of service time -Bergy’s a little more, Jake Arrieta’s a little less, etc.  Will they all be as good as hyped? Probably not. But they aren’t this bad, either.

If they were scattered about other organizations maybe they’d still be in the Minor leagues or be a fifth starter with far less expectation. Instead, they are all up here together, pitching in the AL East with the general consensus being that they are the “Calvary” that will restore the O’s to prominence.

This spring, I spoke with an opposing pitching coach who watched Chris Tillman throw a Grapefruit League game and marvel at the possibilities. “They’re talented,” he said of the O’s young arms. “But they’re still a couple years away.”

The problem with relying on growing the young arms is the O’s don’t have any veterans or journeyman pitchers in the organization, or at Norfolk, who can come up and serve as filler. 

Look at the Tides rotation, or most of their roster in general. It’s a youth movement. I acknowledge that they’re trying to restock their farm system and really build a nice young core, but I think the element of adding a sprinkling of veterans, especially at Norfolk, was incredibly overlooked. Even the guys who are older, so to speak, don’t have years of League experience.

I know several AL teams overpay their Minor League veterans when they’re free agents to get them to stay in the system. The benefits are two-fold : first, you get a solid backup option if your prospects aren’t ready and you need a guy to come up for a quick stint. Two, you get veterans who are generally in good spirits about the organization and willing to help foster a positive, learning atmosphere. You get enough of these guys –particularly those who have been in the bigs — and your Triple-A team also starts to win a lot more games than it loses. In the Triple-A International League the top three teams are the Yankees and Rays affiliates, with Cleveland’s Columbus squad leading the West division. I’m not saying winning in the Minor Leagues is everything, but it’s certainly something.
  
The O’s lack of these types of veterans has also handcuffed them to an extent. It’s hard to trade away Jeremy Guthrie when you can’t think of a guy to take that roster spot. I know Kevin Millwood has come under fire, but he’s usually good for at least six innings.

People are clamoring for Britton to come up, but is he ready? He’s only made a handful of starts since being promoted from Double-A. He’s a guy you don’t want to have to shuttle back-and-forth, like they’ve done (erroneously in my opinion) with guys like Tillman and Bergesen.

This was supposed to be the year they all stood on their feet, so to speak. But having no backup option in case they didn’t, no Plan B, was risky. And now, you’re seeing just how dangerous it is.

****
Not following me on Twitter? Give in to the peer pressure, here.

It starts with the starters

Orioles rookie Jake Arrieta became the latest promising young arm to labor through an ineffective and entirely too short start on Sunday, a one-time anomaly that has become a cause for increasing concern.

During the 65-minute rain delay, I got a little bored and was combing through stats and compiling numbers and sharing them with my fellow reporters. Here are a few stats that stand out.

*Excluding Jeremy Guthrie -who has posted two quality starts on the homestand – the Orioles starters have worked just 36 1/3 innings over eight games, allowing 41 earned runs on 54  hits for a 10.10 ERA.

*The starting staff has pitched  a combined 50 innings on the homestand, just six more than the bullpen, and only the 4-10 Guthrie has an ERA under 5 at this point of the season.

*This is why I have a hard time pinning the blame of guys like Jason Berken, Mark Hendrickson and Matt Albers - they are all in the top 8 in the American League as far as innings pitched out of the bullpen. When speaking to pitching coach Rick Kranitz the other day, I asked him if it was a concern that these guys were being used so much, in particular Berken and David Hernandez. Kranitz said they would try to start limiting those guys, but honestly when your starters are averaging 5 innings a game, it’s impossible to do that.

*Here are the ERAs for each starter in the second half. The O’s just wrapped a 2-8 homestand so each starter has had two outings, except for Kevin Millwood who came off the DL to replace Chris Tillman.

Jeremy Guthrie (1-0):
13 2/3 IP, 13 H, 3 ER, 1.98 ERA
Brian Matusz (0-2): 6 2/3 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 12.15 ERA
Brad Bergesen (0-2): 11 1/3 IP, 18 H, 9 ER, 7.15 ERA
Jake Arrieta (0-1): 9 1/3 IP, 11 H, 10 ER, 9.64
Kevin Millwood (0-1) (one start): 6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 5.77

*Including Tillman’s loss on Monday, the starters are 1-7 to start the second-half and continue to rank last in the Majors in total staff wins with 17. Yes, they should have more wins but they have posted a AL-low 42 quality starts in 98 games, so they aren’t helping their cause quite as often as other teams.

*And to continue to “beat a dead horse” as Samuel put it when asked about the team’s woeful productive hitting here’s a final stat for you. The Orioles two hits with runners in scoring position in the ninth inning on Sunday matched their total for the entire four-game set against the Twins

*In their two wins this homestand, they went 6-for-19 (.316) with RISP. In their 8 losses they were 8-for-69 (.116).

It's Official: Jake tomorrow

The Orioles have confirmed that Jake Arrieta will start Thursday’s game against the Yankees. Jeremy Guthrie will slide back to Friday which leaves Brad Bergesen as the odd man out, at least for right now. Bergesen will remain in the bullpen and interim manager Juan Samuel said what they do with him will largely depend on what the team’s needs are the next few days.

Ditto goes for the roster move. The Orioles will need to make a move to get Arrieta on the 40-man roster prior to tomorrow night’s game. And yes, Guthrie is healthy. But the Os felt it was better to keep Arrieta on his schedule –he was due to pitch Thursday in Norfolk — and give Guthrie and Brian Matusz an extra day of rest. More to come on the site…

Arrieta's first test

Well, the Orioles have said they like top prospect Jake Arrieta’s confidence, and he’s going to need every bit of that for his debut, which is expected to be Thursday against the New York Yankees.

While the initial thought was Arrieta would debut on Saturday in place of Brad Bergesen, it’s looking now like Jeremy Guthrie will be pushed back a day and Arrieta will stay on track (he was scheduled to throw Thursday in Norfolk anyhow.) This move also helps Guthrie –who was dealing with soreness last start — get another day in between starts.

Nothing is official, but I should have more on this situation later this afternoon when I get to the ballpark. As for the corresponding roster move, it could be a reliever, such as Alberto Castillo, but that will depend on the state of the Os ‘pen after tonight’s game. They could opt to send out a position player if they feel they are short on arms… 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 247 other followers