GMDM and the Unsung Trade

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During his tenure with the Royals GMDM has made some big moves that have had some big results.  This season alone bringing in players like Kendrys Morales, Edinson Volquez, and Alex Rios are all making Moore look like a maven.

Then you think back to the Zack Greinke trade that brought us Lorenzo Cain, and Alcides Escobar, or the Wil Meyers trade that brought us Wade Davis and James Shields.  But the trade that Dayton Moore made in July of 2012 is one that I think gets overlooked the most, and should have been an indicator of the saviness of Moore, that many of us (myself included) did not think existed.

On July 20th, 2012 an up-and-coming Royals team was looking to get some value from an under-achieving pitcher.  A pitcher the team traded Melky Cabrera for in the offseason in hopes of bolstering the rotation.    That pitcher was Jonathan Sanchez.  Sanchez was a big part of San Francisco's World Series run in 2010, and the year before that he had thrown a No-Hitter against the San Diego Padres.  But in 2011 injuries began to hit, and his season was less than stellar.  However, Moore being Moore saw past the injuries and decided to trade our re-invented Left Fielder for Sanchez.  This is not the trade I was referring to….

In 2012 Sanchez got off to a rough start.  He wa 1-6 as a Royal with a 7.76 ERA.  The promise Moore had seen before was gone, and he needed to act quickly if he was going to salvage this shipwreck.  In Denver there was another pitcher that looked to be fading from the performer he once was.  Jeremy Guthrie was struggling (as so many do) in the Mile High air of Coors Field.  Guthrie was 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA and the Rockies thought it was time to part ways.  So the Royals and Rockies made trade partners of one another sending each teams fading pitchers across Kansas (A fate no-one should have to suffer).  This worked out very well for one side…and not so well for the other.

Jeremy Guthrie has gone on to flourish in the pitcher friendly confines of Kauffman Stadium.  The pitch to contact hurler also has had a premier defense behind him.  None-the-less  he still has gone out and gotten the job done.  Whether it was a 1-0 pitchers dual in Oakland or a 3-0 loss to Minnesota he has done a good job of keeping the Royals offense in games.  Since coming over in July of 2012 Guthrie has won 34 games.  In fact Guthrie was one win better than James Shields during their time together on the Royals.  And unlike Shields, Guthrie won a World Series Game for the Royals, even starting game 7.

He may not be flashy (though he is everything you could hope for and more on Twitter) on the mound, but he is a true pitcher, and what seems like a fantastic teammate.  When his stuff is not great, he figures out other ways to get outs.  When his stuff is on, he is nearly unhitable.   Where Guthrie may not go on to be known in KC in the same circles as Saberhagen, Split, or Leonard, he has definitely earned a place as one of the best trades GMDM has ever made.

And on a team that has been accused of "not having enough veteran leadership" I wll ask you to watch the top step of that dugout the next time someone gets hit, or slides like an a$$ hole into second.  I will guarantee it is Guthrie.  So maybe we do have veteran leadership!  It's just that those veterans are more concerned about their teammates and winning that upsetting self-proclaimed alter boys and their sense of what baseball should look like.

So the next time you think of this trade remember one last statistic.  After leaving the Royals in July of 2012 Jonathan Sanchez never won another game.  He spent time with 3 more teams, and finally retired in 2014.  Meanwhile Guthrie has amassed 34 wins, and helped take his team to game 7 of the World Series.

 

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