Rockies “aggressively trying to trade” Jeremy Guthrie

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Jeremy Guthrie has been a mess for the Rockies with a 7.02 ERA and league-high 15 homers allowed in 13 starts after they acquired him from the Orioles in February, and Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that they’re “aggressively trying to trade” the veteran right-hander.

According to Renck the Blue Jays are among the teams interested and are willing to take on most of Guthrie’s bloated $8.2 million salary while giving up an undisclosed prospect. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com names Double-A first baseman Mike McDade as a possibility.

Guthrie was a decent enough mid-rotation starter in Baltimore, throwing 983 innings with a 4.12 ERA in five seasons, but between his $8.2 million salary and tendency to serve up tons of homers he was an odd fit for the Rockies and Coors Field.

To make matters worse the Rockies traded Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom to get Guthrie. Lindstrom has been on the disabled list for a month, but Hammel has come out of nowhere to rank among the top starters in the league with a 2.87 ERA and 77/29 K/BB ratio in 82 innings.

Toronto has lost Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek, and Drew Hutchison to injuries this month, so the Blue Jays’ interest in Guthrie as an innings-eating rotation reinforcement makes some sense even if their reported willingness to pay $5 million and a decent prospect for a guy with a 7.02 ERA doesn’t.

Astros defend barring reporter from clubhouse

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As we wrote about this morning, last night the Houston Astros, at the request of Justin Verlander, barred Detroit Free Press reporter Anthony Fenech from the clubhouse during Verlander’s media availability following the Tigers-Astros game. After Verlander was done talking to the press in the scrum setting — and after a call was placed to Major League Baseball about the matter — Fenech was allowed in.

As we noted, this was done in violation of agreements to which Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros and the Baseball Writers Association of America are parties. The agreements are meant to ensure full access to BBWAA-accredited reporters as long as they have not violated the terms of their credentials.  In no case do the clubs — and certainly not the players — have the right to bar access to BBWAA-accredited reporters. Indeed, the whole point of the BBWAA is to ensure such access and to ensure that teams cannot bar them simply because they are unhappy with their coverage or what have you.

This morning Verlander tweeted, obliquely, about “unethical behavior” on the part of Fenech that led to his request to the Astros to bar him. As we noted at the time, such an allegation — however interesting it might be — is of no consequence to the admission or barring of a reporter. If Fenech has acted unethically it’s a matter between him and his employer and, potentially, between him and the BBWAA. At the very least, if Verlander has a specific concern, it would be incumbent upon him or the Astros to take the matter up with either the Free Press or the BBWAA.

In light of all of this, it’s hard to make a case for Verlander’s request and the Astros’ honoring it. A few moments ago, however, the Astros released as statement on the matter which, basically, says, “so what?”

Which is to say, the Astros have made a decades-long agreement between the BBWAA and MLB regarding reporter access optional, because a player does not like a reporter who is covering him.  Someone without the power to alter the BBWAA-MLB relationship has just done so unilaterally. And they have done so in such a way that any player, should they decide they don’t like a reporter, will now presumably rely on it as precedent. Finally, it should be noted that in issuing this statement, the Astros have given at least some tacit credence to Verlander’s thus far unsubstantiated and unspecified allegations of unethical behavior on the part of Fenech, which seems less-than-ideal at best.

It’s your move, Major League Baseball and BBWAA. Whatcha gonna do about it?