The Padres feel confident that they will have enough able-bodied pitchers to fill out their rotation with some backup, but Thursday they got a little more insurance as they signed veteran Jeremy Guthrie to a minor league deal to start the year in AAA. The 36 year old was cut by the Rangers after carving out a nice niche for himself with the Royals over the last several seasons.
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Guthrie stumbled last year as he went 8-8 in 24 starts and did not appear in any of the Royals post-season games. He became a full-time starter with Baltimore in 2007 and has been a solid number 3 or 4 starter for years since. He started at least 30 games from 2008-2014 and over his entire career has a record of 91-108 and 4.37 ERA. His best season was in 2013 when he went 15-12 with a 4.04 ERA and threw a career high 211 2/3 innings with 3 complete games, 2 of which were shutouts.
Last year he allowed an AL high 29 home runs, an amount that would put him 3rd highest on the 2015 San Diego Padres pitching staff. He provides insurance if the combination of Colin Rea, Robbie Erlin, or Drew Pomeranz doesn’t work out. At 36 his durability and experience might not be what it once was, but he would certainly provide some stability if one or multiple of the younger pitchers don’t prove effective.
The Padres had relatively few injury issues to their rotation last season, with their top four of James Shields, Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, and Ian Kennedy all making at least 30 starts. Odrisamer Despaigne subbed in for Brandon Morrow who started the year as the 5th starter with 18 starts. When he was proved ineffective the remaining starts were cobbled together by Colin Rea, Erlin, and Casey Kelly. Morrow continues his rehabilitation this spring and could be ready in a few months to help stabilize the rotation.