The Orioles have traded the club's most accomplished starter, right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, to the Colorado Rockies.
The Orioles received pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom from Colorado.
It's believed the Orioles discussed a third player with the Rockies but eventually settled on Hammel and Lindstrom.
Guthrie, 32, had spent the past five seasons with the Orioles, had started Opening Day three times and was again expected to pitch the club’s opener April 6. But he was to be a free agent at the end of the season and had been rumored to be on the trade block for more than a year.
"Jeremy is excited to join the Rockies, and I see this as a positive result for all parties," Guthrie's agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, said in a statement. "Negotiations with the Orioles were steady yet slow, and an arbitration hearing seemed possible and even likely. Once informed of the trade, Jeremy decided to make a showing of good faith and agreed to a deal within the Rockies' payroll structure, since he felt it important that his relationship with his new team get off on the right foot. Jeremy is excited about a fresh start with a new organization and a contending team close to home."
Guthrie's one-year deal with the Rockies is for $8.2 million, according to a source.
Guthrie was 9-17 last year with a 4.33 ERA and led the league in losses for the second time in three years. In his Orioles career, Guthrie was 47-65 with a 4.12 ERA and threw 200 or more innings in three consecutive seasons. He was scheduled to go to an arbitration hearing with the Orioles on Monday; he was seeking $10.25 million, and the Orioles were offering $7.25 million.
In Hammel and Lindstrom, the Orioles get two right-handers for roughly the same salary as Guthrie, and both can be under team control for two seasons.
Hammel, 29, was 7-13 with a 4.76 ERA in 32 games (27 starts) for the Rockies in 2011. Originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 10th round in 2002, he was traded to Colorado in 2009 for minor league pitcher Aneury Rodriguez. Hammel has spent six seasons in the majors, compiling a 34-45 record and a 4.99 ERA in 169 games (115 starts). He is slated to make $4.75 million in 2012 and is arbitration eligible in 2013.
Lindstrom, who will turn 32 on Saturday, has been in the majors for five seasons, pitching in 312 games as a reliever. He is 12-15 with a 3.81 ERA and 45 saves in 59 opportunities, including a career-best 23 saves with the Houston Astros in 2010. Last year, he was 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and two saves in 63 games. He will make $3.6 million in 2012, and the club has a $4 million option on him for 2013 that includes a $200,000 buyout.
Lindstrom likely will end up at some spot in the back of the Orioles’ bullpen with Jim Johnson and Kevin Gregg, unless another move is made. Hammel will be part of a crowded starting rotation picture that also includes Tommy Hunter, Wei-Yin Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Dana Eveland, among others.
The Orioles designated left-hander Clay Rapada for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.