The trade reinforces the O's continued goal of making marginal improvements to the big league club in the short term.
The best that can be said of the trade is that we have a comparable pitcher to the one we traded, but we have him for an additional year. That's fine, but we were already destined to be a last place team in both of the seasons for which Hammel is under contract. As long as that's the case, what's the point? We can finish in last place with or without Guthrie or Hammel. As long as we're looking at the trade in a short term perspective, it's important not to lose sight of the fact that the trade changed absolutely nothing in a short term perspective.
Duquette has said no one was offering top prospects for Guthrie, which I no doubt believe is true. But certainly we could have used a few mid-level prospects. Considering we're guaranteed to finish in last place, and that we have one of the five or six worst farm systems in baseball, I'd argue that two mid-level prospects that may never make the majors would be of much more value to us than a middling starter and a 7th inning reliever that average 30 years of age.
It's not all on Duquette. It's an organization wide frustration. We should have traded Guthrie last year, or the year before, or held onto him this year until a better deal came along. If no better deal came along, then we'd be in the same position we are now: with no new viable prospects, and a last-place major league team. But Guthrie's performance has held constant for many years now, and guys that hit 200 innings are generally more in demand at mid season, when multiple teams are on the brink of contention and need to solidify the fifth position in their rotation, than they are in early February, when most rotations are set and teams have hopes for a few young pitchers or reclamation projects.
I have no problem with trading Guthrie. I've wanted them to do it for a long time. I'm not a sentimental fan, and I view all matters of personnel dispassionately. The problem here is the same as it was with the Koji trade. In all likelihood, we received surplus value. But the return on the trade suggests an organization that foolishly believes the next 24 months hold any significance at the big league level. They don't.