Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that the Royals and Rockies have swapped troublesome starting pitchers, with Jonathan Sanchez heading to Colorado and Jeremy Guthrie heading to Kansas City.
Upon hearing about this deal, my first thought was "holy crap, Jonathan Sanchez in Coors Field!" Sanchez is familiar with Coors thanks to his time with the Giants, and actually….he's pitched pretty well there, much to my chagrin. In 51 innings in Denver, Sanchez has struck out 50, walked 31, and allowing only two homers. Honestly, I'm sure that's the only reason why Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd targeted Sanchez: because of his career numbers at Coors. Because man oh man has Sanchez been awful this year. In 53 1/3 innings, he's walked 44, struck out 36, and allowed eight homers. He also averaged 92 pitches and 4 1/3 innings per start…so this could get ugly for Jim Tracy and his crack bullpen team.
I actually really like the Guthrie acquisition for the Royals, who bought low on a guy who had pretty good value this offseason. The Royals desperately need starting pitching, and while the 33 year-old Guthrie isn't a long-term answer, I don't think he'll kill them this year. Don't get me wrong, the 4.47 strikeout rate and 3.08 walk rate don't scream "ACE", but 13 of his 21 homers allowed have come at Coors Field. His away homer rate of 1.6 is still too high, but much more in-line to his 1.28 career rate. At home, Guthrie is allowing a mind-blowing 1.135 OPS, while on the road, it's .885…still terrible, but not unreal. His ERA on the road is nearly SIX FULL RUNS lower than it is at home, and his FIP is two and a half runs lower.
For a pair of teams going absolutely nowhere, this isn't the type of move that will shape a pennant race. But, it's a nice challenge deal. I favor the Royals' side of it a lot more, though.
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