Talking to Matt Klentak & Jeremy Guthrie

The Orioles were nice enough to invite me down to the park for Blogger Day today, and we were able to go onto the field during batting practice and subsequently talk to Matt Klentak, Director of Baseball Operations, and Jeremy Guthrie.

Klentak answered a number of questions for us, but the only two I had were (paraphrased):

1) Any idea what will happen with Super Two status with the next CBA?

A: It’s something that’ll be looked into, but there’s no definite outcome.

2) You mentioned that the O’s looked into the return on investment for international prospects not being that great (he had been asked why the team doesn’t invest much in that area); can you give us an idea as to how bad the RoI is?

A: Not really (it’s proprietary info.), but we brought someone in to look at that issue for a year, and even though people remember the successes (Felix Hernandez), a lot of guys don’t work out. It’s generally easier to get a handle on guys in your own back yard. But we’ve really looked into it.

So that’s pretty interesting. I don’t recall seeing a publicly available study on that international prospects issue before, so I don’t know. It’s certainly plausible that overall it’s not a great investment, though obviously it would be different from team to team based on their scouting and whatnot. Perhaps with the O’s relative lack of presence in those areas, investing resources might really not be profitable in the shorter term. It’s something I plan on looking at as soon as I get a chance, unless someone can point me to existing work.

After he left, we got to go into the dugout to talk to Jeremy Guthrie, who, despite his previous claims that he “remembers everything”, said it was nice to meet me. The only question I had for Guthrie this time was regarding the idea of line-up protection. After some stumbling and poor explanation, I finally got out “would you pitcher differently to Rafael Furcal if Andre Ethier was coming up next as opposed to if a pitcher was coming up next?” Answer (again, paraphrasing): “No… that’s a deep question.”

So there you go. Right from the horses mouth, so to speak. We also learned Guthrie was awful (in my opinion) taste in music (Justin Bieber, Avril Lavinge, the Backstreet Boys, the lost went on and on), but I won’t hold that against him.

It’s nice that the team made those guys avialable to us – not a ton of pertinent information from my perspective, but definitely value added. And it was just plain neat.