He’s given his all: The Story of Jeremy Guthrie in Kansas City

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He’s a great teammate, a great person, and he’s had his best days in Kansas City. Here’s a look at Jeremy Guthrie’s time in Kansas City.

Jonathan Sanchez was awful. Not at all what the Royals were looking for when they traded Melky Cabrera to San Francisco for the veteran lefty. Sanchez was 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA for the Royals in 12 starts. Melky Cabrera, meanwhile, had made a return trip to Kansas City in 2012 when he was named the 2012 All-Star Game MVP at The K that year.

Dayton Moore knew he had to cut his losses, he just needed to find a partner. On July 20, 2012, he found one in the Colorado Rockies. The Royals traded Sanchez for a guy named Jeremy Guthrie.

It wasn’t a blockbuster trade. Guthrie had struggled equally as much in the thin air of Denver going 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA in 19 games (15 starts). This was more a trade to give both Sanchez and Guthrie a fresh start. Turns out, a fresh start is all Guthrie would need.

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Guthrie made his Royals debut on July 22nd against Minnesota in Kansas City. Guthrie took the loss as the Royals fell to the Twins, 7-5. Jeremy would lose his 1st 3 starts with the Royals. Then, on August 8th, Guthrie would get his 1st win as a Royal, going 8 scoreless innings in Chicago in a 2-1 Royals victory. That would begin a streak of 9 consecutive games where the Royals would win a game started by Guthrie. This included a game on August 19th where Jeremy Guthrie took a no-hitter into the 7th inning against the White Sox at Kauffman Stadium.

After the season, the Royals signed Guthrie to a 3-year, $25 million contract. In 2013, Guthrie would record a 15-12 record for the Royals while recording a 4.04 ERA and eating up more than 211 innings. On May 4th, Guthrie would record the 1st shutout of his career, a 4-hitter against Chicago in a 2-0 Royals victory.

Guthrie helped the Royals record their 1st winning season since 2003 as the Royals would go on to finish 86-76.

In 2014, Guthrie would go 13-11 with a 4.13 ERA while eating up 202.2 innings. Guthrie was most remembered for one game in 2014. On September 26, at Cellular Field in Chicago, the Royals were eyeballing their 1st postseason berth in 29 years. After the Royals scored 3 in the Top of the 1st, Guthrie would shut down the White Sox, going 7 scoreless innings in a 3-1 Royals victory. The victory clinched a spot in the postseason for the Royals, setting off a wild celebration in Kansas City that hadn’t been felt in a generation. The lasting image of that night of Gutrie came in the clubhouse after the game when he gave an impassioned speech that set off a celebration so wild, the White Sox had to replace the carpet in the visitor’s clubhouse.

He wouldn’t pitch again until Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against his former team, the Baltimore Orioles. Guthrie would go 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 3 hits and keeping the Royals in the game. Though he would get a no-decision, the Royals would go onto win, 2-1. Giving them a 3-0 lead in the series. The next day, the Royals would complete the sweep of the Orioles, earning their 3rd American League Pennant and first since 1985.

In the World Series, Guthrie took the slab for the Royals in San Francisco in Game 3 with the series tied at one apiece. With the Royals needing a win to ensure a return trip to Kansas City, Guthrie delivered, going 5 innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and earning the win in a 3-2 Royals victory to give them a 2-1 series lead and ensuring a return trip to Kauffman Stadium.

Guthrie also took the mound in the decisive Game 7 and didn’t last long as the game became a battle of the bullpens early.

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Guthrie hasn’t had a good year in 2015. He’s 8-7 with a 5.65 ERA. His struggles forced Ned Yost to make a move on Friday, removing Guthrie from the rotation and making him a long reliever. Guthrie wasn’t surprised by it and he doesn’t expect to pitch much, noting that long relievers don’t get much action with the Royals. Still, he’s shown an ability to be a huge leader in the clubhouse. Nobody wants to be demoted, but, Guthrie has been a true professional through it all. He’s a team player and all he wants is to finish the job the Royals started last season.

The stuff he has done on the field is only part of why his contract has been worth it. He’s been a great role model for guys like Yordano Ventura and Danny Duffy. He’s helped keep the clubhouse loose, being one of the bigger characters on the team. It really is no coincidence that the Royals recent success has coincided with Guthrie’s time with the Royals. He’s a leader in the clubhouse and, while not being the best pitcher on the staff, he has been a very solid and reliable pitcher who has won some very big games.

Nobody wanted to see this happen to Guthrie. However, time catches up with us all. The Royals are a deeper team now than they were when he arrived in Kansas City in 2012. The Royals are going to give offseason pick-up, Kris Medlen, a shot at the rotation to see what they have. Baseball is a game of “what have you done for me recently” and he hasn’t been producing this season.

Nonetheless, Guthrie has been more than what the Royals and their fans were expecting when they traded Jonathan Sanchez for him. Sanchez never won another game in the majors and eventually flamed out the next season. Many people will talk about the Zack Greinke trade for Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar or the trade to get James Shields and Wade Davis. This trade, however, should go down as one of the best trades in Royals history.

This may be the end of Jeremy Guthrie’s time in Kansas City, however, we should never forget all the things he has done for this franchise to help turn them from perennial losers to American League Champions and World Series contenders. “J-Guts” has been on the mound for some big moments in Royals history. Whatever position Guthrie is in, I know he’ll help get the Royals to where they want to go. That’s what he’s always done during his time with the Royals. He’s given his all.

 

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Christopher Till

Author: Christopher Till

Christopher is a lifelong Royals fan who loves long walks on the beach, sunsets, and trips to #DongTown. He also loves writing about the Royals (pants optional). Ian Kennedy once ruined a perfect game Chris had going (though, to be fair, Chris' pitch came before the game with nobody in the batter's box). His favorite Royals' memory is sitting in Section 401 with his daughter when Salvador Perez laced a line drive past Josh Donaldson to win the 2014 American League Wild Card Game.

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