KC Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie looks cooked after his five-run, three-inning performance Friday night in relief of an equally-ineffective Kris Medlen. Yes, it was a bad night all-around with the Kansas City Royals losing 12-1 to the White Sox. And, yes, it was only one performance.
The problem is that Jeremy Guthrie has suffered through too many “one-game” implosions. Guthrie has given up 4 or more runs in 10 of his 26 appearances, and five or more runs in six out of 26. I can no longer discount his crooked appearances by massaging the numbers. I think he’s finished as an effective pitcher this season.
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Guthrie’s stat line includes an ugly 5.73 ERA matched with an anemic 4.7 strikeouts per nine (K/9). He’s giving up home runs on 4.1% of his pitches, and hitters slam extra base hits 8.9% of their plate appearances. In short, major-league hitters are teeing off on him.
At this point, we can no longer hold out hope that Guthrie can be effective out of the pen. In 7.1 innings since KC Royals manager Ned Yost pulled him from the rotation, Jeremy Guthrie has given up seven runs on 10 hits (including four home runs).
I can’t see any use for Guthrie going forward, even as an innings-eater.
Perhaps Jeremy Guthrie is struggling with some unreported injury. In that case, he needs to go to the disabled list. Otherwise, the Kansas City Royals should cut bait with him and designate him for assignment. There’s no way that the KC Royals will pick up his $10 million option in 2016, or even count on him to hold down a rotation spot at lower pay.
The only reason I can see keeping Guthrie on the roster is that DFA’ing him will accelerate the $3.2 million buyout on his 2016 option. If the KC Royals are, indeed, tight up against their 2015 budget, general manager Dayton Moore will want to keep Guthrie on the Royals books until this winter. Other than that, Guthrie is simply taking up roster space and eating innings that could be used to tune up an arm that might help the club during the playoffs.
The Kansas City Royals already have Chris Young in case they need another starter. If disaster strikes and the KC Royals need two emergency starters, Franklin Morales started 22 games for the Rockies in 2014.
At this point, who would you rather have trying to get outs during the post-season: 22-year-old Miguel Almonte and his 98 mph fastball—or a broken-down Jeremy Guthrie that’s getting lit up like a piñata?
I think the choice is pretty dang obvious.