The Baltimore Orioles have announced that they have claimed 27 year old right-hander Jeremy Guthrie from the Cleveland Indians. To make room on their 40 man roster, the O's have designated 25 year old right-handed relief prospect Marino Salas for assignment.
Guthrie was originally drafted 22nd overall in the 2002 amateur draft and many observers were actually surprised he lasted that long. He had pitched in college at Brigham Young University before a two year hiatus so that he could complete a Mormon mission to Spain. He returned for two very successful years at Stanford University and was immediately pushed to double-Akron after being drafted, where he posted a 1.44 ERA. Unfortunately, Guthrie struggled when pushed to triple-A later in the season and has largely struggled ever since. He did post a 3.14 ERA in the International League this past year, but that is largely propped up by a very lucky .273 BABIP.
Although Guthrie has never lived up to his considerable amateur billing, he can still light up a radar gun. He generally works in the 89-93 MPH range, but can dial it up to 95 MPH multiple times a game. The larger problem is that his fastball has little movement and his command of the pitch comes and goes. Guthrie also has two solid breaking balls; a slider in the low 80's and a curveball that hits 75-78 MPH. His changeup sits at 81-82 MPH and helps keep lefties at bay, but it is a fringe-average pitch at best. Despite his vast repertoire, the Indians had largely used Guthrie in relief during his brief appearances with the big league club. Guthrie will head to triple-A Norfolk, where the friendly context should help him put up gaudy enough numbers to get another chance in the majors. If Guthrie is not immediately successful, he'll be on the short list to be designated for assignment the next time the Orioles need room on their 40 man roster.
Notes: The Orioles have also announced that C Eli Whiteside, C Ryan Hubele, LHP Garrett Olson, RHP Radhames Liz and OF Cory Keylor have received invitations to big league spring training. Only Olson has an even an outside chance of breaking camp with the O's.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com