Rockies Close To Acquiring Jeremy Guthrie

The Rockies and Orioles are nearing an agreement that would send starter Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado, most likely for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.  Connolly believes a third piece for the Orioles was discussed, but the sides settled on Hammel and Lindstrom.  Guthrie's arbitration hearing was scheduled for this morning, but is believed to have been postponed.  With a $3MM gap, the righty's arbitration case has a sizeable spread.

Guthrie, 32, has been a regular in Baltimore's rotation since being claimed off waivers from the Indians five years ago.  Last year he posted a 4.33 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.13 HR/9, and 39.6% groundball rate in 208 innings for the Orioles.  His skills suggest a 200-inning, 4.50 ERA guy in the AL East.  Guthrie will be a useful addition for a Rockies rotation long on options but short on stability, assuming his proclivity to surrender home runs doesn't worsen.  Guthrie will be eligible for free agency after the season.

Hammel, 29, posted a 4.76 ERA, 5.0 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.11 HR/9, and 43.9% groundball rate in 170 1/3 innings last year.  Acquired from the Rays three years ago, Hammel has given the Rockies 170+ innings in each of his seasons.  Prior to 2011, Hammel's skills suggested a pitcher capable of a sub-4.00 ERA.  In 2011, however, he was moved to the Rockies' bullpen in August.  He'll earn $4.75MM in 2012 and will be arbitration eligible for 2013.

Lindstrom, 31, posted a 3.00 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.50 HR/9, and 47.3% groundball rate in 54 innings last year for the Rockies.  His strikeout rates have always seemed low for someone averaging a 96 mile-per-hour fastball.  Lindstrom, who was acquired in December 2010 from the Astros, is owed $3.6MM for 2012 and has a $4MM club option for '13.    

With the trade, Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has subtracted his rotation's one sure thing in favor of Hammel, who was demoted from the Rockies' rotation last summer.  He did acquire two pitchers for the price of one, as well as potential 2013 control for each.

This post was first published the morning of February 6th.

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