Faced with the prospect of a long arbitration hearing the Monday after the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Orioles took the easy way out with Jeremy Guthrie and traded him to the Colorado Rockies.
In return for the 32-year-old righthander, the Orioles will receive a pair of big league righties: starter Jason Hammel and reliever Matt Lindstrom.
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Baltimore anymore." Just found out I was traded to @Rockies #MLB #Rocktober
Guthrie was a member of the Orioles for five seasons and had three opening day starts to his credit. But with his final year of arbitration approaching, the two sides were having trouble working out a deal. Guthrie's camp had submitted a salary request of $10.25 million while the O's were only offering $7.25 million. Hammel and Lindstrom make a combined $8.35 million so it appears that Baltimore is limiting their risk and avoiding the chance that Guthrie would be awarded his request in the arb hearing.
Guthrie was 9-17 with a 4.33 ERA in 2011 and carries a reputation as an innings-eater (as well as a man who appreciates a fine pair of sneakers). He'll get to escape the horrors of facing the AL East a majority of the time for ... the horrors of pitching in Coors Field.
As Steve Slowinski of FanGraphs notes, it's a really puzzling trade. While Guthrie could have brought some good prospects in return, either now or at the trading deadline, the O's are instead opting for two pitchers who won't change the O's fortunes much in the short term. Perhaps the O's see something in Hammel that the Rockies didn't and have hopes he'll blossom over the two years of team control they'll be inheriting.
And as we've said before, it saves Baltimore from an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for today. Following a Sunday filled with buffalo chicken wing dip and one-too-many beers, I can understand why you'd pay a premium for that.