In a deal that can only be described as heinous at this juncture of the baseball season, the Rockies and Royals have swapped a pair of struggling starters, with Jeremy Guthrie headed to Kansas City and Jonathan Sanchez gearing up for the Mile High City.
On the surface, this deal is gross. Sanchez and Guthrie have both been terrible in their first seasons with their respective clubs, while the players they were dealt for last offseason have torn things up.
Sanchez, who once twirled a no-hitter and had a nice little 3.07 ERA in 2010, is 1-6 with a 7.76 ERA in 12 starts this season. Guthrie, a durable pitcher who built a reputation of being "not all that bad" despite pitching in the AL East, has been pretty awful in his own right, posting a 3-9 record to go along with a 6.35 ERA in 19 games (15 starts).
Like I said, gross.
But the sooner we can manage to get beyond the nausea of this sloppy swap, the sooner we can realize just how truly awesome it is.
Neither pitcher is going to become a difference-maker this season. Even if they both turned into 1999 Pedro Martinez, both the Rockies and Royals will be as awful as these two pitchers have been so far this year. So in that sense, the trade actually doesn't mean all that much. It means even less when you factor in that both players, well overpaid this season, hit free agency at year's end.
So what exactly are we looking at here? Well, the short answer is really a schoolyard response of, "Nothing much!"
And does anyone really care that this trade was consummated? Probably a few people, but something tells me most would rather watch paint dry — has anyone ever actually done that? — than try to come up with some major philosophical reasoning for the deal. That's good, because there's no need for any painstaking "let's make sense of this" breakdown.
The fact of the matter is the trade makes sense for the ever-popular "change of scenery." As mentioned, this trade will likely mean little to either club, so therefore it makes sense to swap one struggling starter for another in the hopes that the change of scenary really does lead to a turnaround.
This trade actually means a lot for Sanchez and Guthrie, though.
Neither starter was ever one you'd stare at in awe, but they've each had their moments, especially Sanchez, who was a part of the Giants' World Series rotation. Even if neither pitcher plays postseason baseball this season, which is the likely scenario given where the Rockies and Royals sit in the standings, these two hurlers now have an opportunity for a fresh start. A good two and a half months of baseball can help each pitcher re-up his stock, which has fallen drastically since last offseason.
If Sanchez and Guthrie can turn things around in their new uniforms and resurrect their careers, they can sit back and have that aforementioned laugh. If they don't, we can all sit back and giggle about one of the more meaningless deals we've ever seen go down. Either way, the Giants (who acquired the hot-hitting Melky Cabrera for Sanchez) and Orioles (who acquired Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom for Guthrie) can enjoy this entire debacle.
In fact, in all likelihood, the Giants and Orioles will have the last laughs. Highway robbery is only funny for those who come away with the goods.