The Orioles agreed to a contract with one of their arbitration-eligible players Tuesday and exchanged numbers with the other.
Outfielder-designated hitter Luke Scott, in his second year of arbitration eligibility, agreed to a one-year, $4.05 million contract after making $2.4 million in 2009.
Right-handed starter Jeremy Guthrie and the Orioles did not agree to terms and therefore exchanged numbers Tuesday afternoon.
Guthrie, who made $650,000 in 2009, filed for $3.625 million. The Orioles countered with $2.3 million. If the two sides cannot reach a settlement before a hearing sometime in February, an arbiter will choose one figure or the other.
The Orioles have gone to arbitration nine times since 1994 and are 8-1 in those cases. The club is 6-0 when led by general counsel H. Russell Smouse. The last time the Orioles had an arbitration hearing with one of their players was before the 2006 season, when the club was victorious against pitcher Rodrigo Lopez.
"I think it is always preferable [to settle]," said Andy MacPhail, the Orioles' president of baseball operations. "I'm not a big fan of the process. At the same time, you can't be bullied. ... You need to make a good deal for both sides. Preparation and goodwill generally accomplish that."
Scott, 31, hit .258 in 128 games in 2009, leading the Orioles with 25 home runs, a career high. He drove in 77 runs, the third most on the team behind Nick Markakis (101 RBIs) and Brian Roberts (79).
However, Scott's season was marred by a poor second half, hitting just .208 with seven homers and 26 RBIs after the All-Star break.
Acquired in December 2007 as part of the Orioles' five-player return for shortstop Miguel Tejada, Scott has 48 homers and 142 RBIs in two seasons with the club. Although he has been mentioned in trade rumors this offseason, Scott currently projects to be the club's starting designated hitter, occasional left fielder and an emergency option at first base.
"I think Luke will have a similar role to last year," MacPhail said. "In the end, that will be up to the field manager, but that's what I would anticipate."
This is Guthrie's first taste of the arbitration process, though not his first potentially contentious salary situation with the Orioles. In 2009, his contract was renewed with roughly a 15 percent decrease, from $770,000 to $650,000.
The reasoning, according to the Orioles' front office, was that Guthrie's salary was much higher than similarly experienced players due to the deal he signed with the Cleveland Indians as a first-round draft pick. Under the league's collective bargaining agreement, the Orioles could have cut him up to 20 percent heading into 2009.
Despite coming off a season in which he had won 10 games and emerged as the team's most reliable starter, Guthrie didn't publicly balk at the unilateral decision to cut his pay. Now, he faces his first big payout year after a down season.
In 2009, Guthrie struggled, leading the American League in losses (17) and home runs allowed (35) while posting a 5.04 ERA.
However, Guthrie, 30, reached the 200 inning plateau for the first time in his career, won 10 games and set a personal best by making 33 starts.
"There is still plenty of time [to settle with Guthrie]," MacPhail said. "And there isn't much out there that will markedly influence it. I would imagine all the facts should be pretty clear here and we'll have an idea whether we'll go [to a hearing] or not soon."
The Orioles have announced their 2010 promotions schedule, which includes a Matt Wieters bobblehead doll giveaway (June 30 vs. Oakland), a Brooks Robinson replica jersey (July 17 vs. Toronto) and a series of three mini-bobblehead dolls featuring the Orioles' young outfield (Nolan Reimold on May 26, Adam Jones on June 24 and Nick Markakis on Aug. 5).
Other promotions include four separate hat giveaways, several events to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1970 championship team, various discount ticket nights and the return of T-Shirt Tuesdays and Friday post-game fireworks.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.