Ace in the hole: '09 pay cut for Guthrie


March 09, 2009|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Jeremy Guthrie was the most effective pitcher in the Orioles' starting rotation last year and is expected to be the ace of the staff in 2009, a distinction that usually comes with a healthy pay raise.

Not this time.

The guy who led the starting staff in wins, ERA and strikeouts in 2008 will make $120,000 less in 2009 after coming to terms on a one-year contract with the club over the weekend.

Guthrie will make $650,000 this year after earning $770,000 for last season, but it's not because of anything he didn't do in his second full major league season. He was just overpaid in relation to other players in his service class because of the rich contract he signed as the top draft pick of the Cleveland Indians in 2002.

"He's so much higher-paid than the normal service time, and it's a function of his signing bonus," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said.

If it's any consolation, Guthrie is still going to be paid well above most other players with his service time. He'll make nearly $200,000 more than Nick Markakis earned in his final pre-arbitration season ($455,000), and Markakis drove in 112 runs the year before. The Orioles were entitled to cut Guthrie's salary by up to 20 percent under the terms of baseball's labor agreement, but the figure he agreed to represents about a 15 percent cut from his 2008 salary. The lowest salary they could have offered him was $616,000.

Guthrie was the final unsigned zero-to-three player on the Orioles' roster, but his contract situation would have been settled by Wednesday one way or another. That's the deadline for renewing contracts for players under reserve.

Simulated games

Adam Eaton, Mark Hendrickson and Alfredo Simon threw in simulated game action yesterday. Trembley said Hendrickson will throw in an intrasquad game Thursday, Eaton will throw in one of the split-squad games Friday, and Simon will throw again Thursday or Friday.

"I knocked a little of the rust off," Eaton said. "I'm not too far from getting the timing set out and some of the things I'm working on getting consistent. It was a huge improvement over the bullpen session the other day. It will be nice to get out and compete against some people who aren't your teammates."

Manager Dave Trembley didn't really evaluate Eaton's performance because he hasn't been around him enough to make any judgment.

"He looked like he was getting acclimated to the mound," Trembley said. "The last four pitches, he seemed to let it go a little bit, but I have nothing to compare him with."

Around the horn

Matt Wieters raised his spring batting average to .471 with yesterday's ninth-inning single ... Jim Johnson threw 1 1/3 hitless innings and struck out two in his third Grapefruit League outing. ... Agent Dan Evans stopped by Fort Lauderdale Stadium yesterday. He represents Koji Uehara and Gregg Zaun. He came to the ballpark with several associates from his agency, including former major league pitcher Bret Saberhagen. ... Former Orioles utility man Jeff Reboulet also stopped by the camp.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.