Guthrie, who will be 34 years old in early April, joins one of the most hittable and homer-prone rotations in recent memory. Take a look at what Guthrie and fellow starters Ervin Santana, Bruce Chen, Luis Mendoza, and Luke Hochevar did in 2012:
| Jeremy Guthrie
| Bruce Chen
| Ervin Santana
| Luke Hochevar
| Luis Mendoza
The Royals, who sport one of the most promising young lineups in all of the game, will head into the 2013 season with their five starters combining for to allow 1.44 HR/9, 9.64 H/9, and only muster a 15.9% strikeout rate in 2012. n case you were wondering, the league average strikeout rate in 2012 was 19.8%. Three of the five starters will be 30 years of age or older and the other two will be 29. Not exactly the kind of rotation I would want fielding such a young lineup with so much potential.
Guthrie did find some success after he was traded to Kansas City last year, posting a 3.16 ERA and 3.84 FIP, but 91 innings with the Royals will not change the outlook of what Guthrie brings to the table going forward, especially not when his other 1100+ innings tell a completely different story.
Guthrie used to have somewhat of a reputation as a ground ball pitcher, mainly due to his hard sinker, but with only a 40.8% rate in 2012 and 40.6% career rate he is far below average in that department. A pitcher who allows this many balls in the air needs to be able to strike batters out and Guthrie is the proud owner of a 14.2% strikeout rate. Only Jake Westbrook and Mark Buehrle have lower rates among active pitchers with at least 1000 innings pitched. Yes, that is decent company to keep, but there is a reason there are only two pitchers with a lower rate and 1000+ innings pitched; this style of pitcher does not last long in the Majors.
Guthrie does have some value, though. With six straight seasons of at least 175 innings under his belt, Guthrie adds value based on his durability. Guthrie also limits his walks with only a 6.9% walk rate. But a 34 year old pitcher who does not strike batters out, does not induce ground balls, and pitches in the zone –often up– warrants nothing more than a one-year deal, let alone a three-year deal worth an average of over $8M per season from a young team that has one winning season in its past 19.