Is Guthrie the Rockies new ace?

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2012

When he was with the Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie was the ace of the staff. He didn’t have ace stuff but on that staff it’s what he was. What’s interesting though is he’s gone to a slightly more competitive team in the Colorado Rockies and has a legitimate chance at becoming that teams ace.

I never thought this was a possibility especially with Jhoulys Chacin coming off back to back strong seasons but wow was I wrong. And there’s two reasons for this. Guthrie has really impressed his new boss, general manager Dan O’Dowd while Chacin has royally pissed off his boss.

First, the good stuff. Guthrie has come to Colorado with an attitude of wanting to work hard and be a winner. That’s exactly what the new boss wants to hear right?

Jeremy Guthrie has designs on starting opening day for the Rockies. No one is prepared to declare him the ace, but O’Dowd came away impressed after talking extensively with the right-hander after acquiring him from Baltimore on Monday. “His mindset, desire and competitive fire is to be the top guy. The change of scenery and change of leagues should help, and we want him to pitch to contact more. When he attacks the strike zone, he’s very, very good,” O’Dowd said. (Denver Post)

Now to the negative. Chacin is reportedly overweight and O’Dowd is not pleased with this.

Jhoulys Chacin disappointed O’Dowd with his offseason workouts. O’Dowd believes Chacin needs to drop weight because the added pounds affect the balance in his delivery and undermine his fastball command. Chacin spent much of the winter training in Venezuela rather than working out in Tucson. A person close to Chacin said Thursday that the right-hander currently weighs 226 pounds, and expects to be close to the 218 he was last spring when he reports to spring training next Sunday.

“I would say he could have worked a little harder this winter. I am not really happy about that,” O’Dowd admitted. ” I don’t think it will be issue by time it gets to camp. But it has to get to a point where he has maturity and discipline and realizes that this is his career.” (Denver Post)

So here’s the problem I see. Chacin may be over the weight O’Dowd wants him at but it’s not going to be much different then what he started 2011 at. I figure he’ll be slightly over that 218 because I don’t know how he’ll lose eight pounds in less then two weeks and be fully healthy. But if there’s not much difference then what’s the problem?

Well like that Denver Post article says O’Dowd is trying to change the culture of the Rockies. He wants these young kids to become more dedicated and start to show the maturity that veteran players should have.

Which means if you’re going to work out at home, away from the team’s watchful eye then you better handle your business. Don’t show up to Spring Training out of shape, it sets a bad example especially when it’s a pitcher who is penciled in as your ace.

This is the exact reasons why Guthrie’s name is now in the mix for the Opening Day start. He’s working hard and willing to do whatever it takes to improve. When management wants to change the culture in a clubhouse that’s the kind of guy they’re going to look to, no matter if it’s the best baseball move or not.

It should be interesting to see how this plays out during the next few weeks. Will there be bad blood or will today’s comments get Chacin’s attention?

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