Royals following a plan for 2013

Updated: November 21, 2012, 10:03 AM ET
By Buster Olney

The view that teams take now is much wider than it was in the past, based on statistical evaluation over years rather than a handful of innings. But it's hard to overstate how much Jeremy Guthrie's 14 starts for the Royals last summer meant to his value.

At the time the Rockies traded Guthrie to Kansas City, he had a 6.35 ERA and had been demoted to the bullpen. If he had finished the year with Colorado and gone into the market with those numbers, he probably would've been among the large colony of starting pitchers looking for a one-year deal.

Instead, Guthrie threw well for the Royals, posting a 3.15 ERA in 91 innings, a performance that was much closer to what he did with the Orioles and made his time with Colorado look like an aberration. For this, the Royals rewarded him with a three-year, $25 million deal that was spoken of as a fair price in the front offices of some other teams. Considering the current market, and considering the fact that Guthrie is 33 and a solid bet for 200 innings annually, some rival officials thought the dollar-for-production equation was more than reasonable.

Having added Guthrie and Ervin Santana, the Royals will continue to look for another starting pitcher, with a willingness to consider trading some minor leaguers rather than anyone from their every-day major league lineup. And while Royals officials still view the team as a work in progress; evaluators with other teams think of them as an intriguing collection of talent -- especially their bullpen.