Jeremy Guthrie pitched well for the final two months of the season for the Kansas City Royals and parlayed that into a three-year, $25 million contract.
Guthrie, who was re-signed Nov. 20, went 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA in 14 starts after he was acquired from the Rockies in a July 20 trade for left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.
Guthrie lost his first three Royals starts, which dropped him to 3-12 with a 6.10 ERA. He finished strong, however, going 5-0 with a 2.17 ERA in his final 11 starts.
Guthrie was much more comfortable pitching at spacious Kauffman Stadium than the mile-high Denver altitude.
“The way I pitched in Kansas City is much more indicative of how I’ve pitched over the course of my career,” he said. “If you grab the three months in Colorado — and even more specifically the home starts, where my ERA was 9.60 — it was an outlier.”
The Royals’ rotation has been a weak link in the past several seasons, so retaining Guthrie was a prime priority. Their first offseason move was acquiring right-hander Ervin Santana in a trade with the Angels. That move caught Guthrie’s attention.
“It influenced me in the fact that I think Ervin is a good pitcher, and last year was a down year for him, and that what he’s done over his career speaks for itself, prior to last year,” Guthrie said. “It didn’t change my thoughts.
“I really believed Dayton (Moore, general manager) and the Royals when they said they wanted to add two or three pitchers and they wanted me to be one of them. So the fact they got Ervin just proved that point and I think they’re committed to go out and get another one.
“They’re committed to adding pitchers and trying to complete this team. The offense performed very well and defensively we have some guys that can go out there and pick it and throw it. So I’m happy to be a part of it and I’m happy that they wanted me.”
Guthrie will make $5 million in 2013, $11 million in 2014 and $9 million in 2015, after making $8.2 million last season.
“Kansas City was in my top two or three teams if I could hand-pick them, and when we got to a (salary) number that we were excited about it, we didn’t feel the need to wait any longer or play the process out any further,” Guthrie said.
Guthrie has a 55-77 record with a 4.28 ERA in 210 career appearances, 183 of them starts, for the Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Rockies and Royals.