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Guthrie deal helped make Orioles season

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Guthrie deal helped make Orioles season

It’s a misperception that the Orioles will do anything to avoid arbitration. That was the case under former team president Andy MacPhail.

It’s not the case now.

Arbitration helped make the Orioles what they were in 2012.

Last year, Jeremy Guthrie, the de facto staff ace, who twice led the American League in losses, was a season away from free agency.

He’d worn out his welcome with manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair, but at the time the Orioles were woefully thin on accomplished major league pitchers.

The summer before, MacPhail had gauged the trade market and found lukewarm interest in Guthrie.

The Orioles had no desire to offer Guthrie a long-term contract, even though he enjoyed Baltimore and was popular with the fans. Guthrie’s “smartest guy in the room” act had work thin.

As the team’s player rep and a Stanford grad, the affable Guthrie is not lacking in confidence. He was looking forward to the arbitration process, he said. He said the same thing in 2010, but MacPhail and Guthrie settled before arbitration.

In late January, Guthrie asked for $10.25 million. The Orioles, now represented by Dan Duquette instead of MacPhail, countered with $7.25 million.

The Orioles certainly did not want to pay Guthrie $10.25 million. They didn’t even want to pay him $7.25 million.

The night before the arbitration hearing, around the time the Super Bowl was ending, Duquette put aside the Patriots-Giants game to put the finishing touches on the trade that helped make the Orioles season.

Duquette moved Guthrie, who was 47-65 with a 4.12 ERA, to the Colorado Rockies for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom.

At the time, the trade wasn’t popular in Baltimore. It is now.

Hammel had a 34-45 record with Tampa Bay and Colorado, and Lindstrom was just another reliever for the bullpen, many thought.

In his first start on Easter Sunday, Hammel carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning and two months later pitched the Orioles’ only complete game of the season, a one-hit shutout in Atlanta.

While he only won eight games, his work ethic in returning from surgery to his right knee, was instrumental in the team’s success.

Wei-Yin Chen won more games than Hammel. But, it was Hammel who Showalter wanted to start the first and fifth games against the Yankees, even though he hadn’t pitched in a game for more than three weeks.

Hammel earned Showalter’s trust, which is difficult to do. Guthrie never did.

Showalter was amused by Guthrie’s chiding of umpires who came to visit the Orioles in spring training. When was the last time an umpire was fired for incompetence, he’d ask? Showalter loved that. He didn’t like his know-it-all attitude.

Hammel wasn’t a know-it-all. He was a hard worker who easily adopted Adair’s suggestions, with excellent results.

Lindstrom pitched well for the season’s first month, but then tore a ligament in his right middle finger and by the time he returned seven weeks later, he’d been supplanted in the bullpen pecking order by Luis Ayala and Darren O’Day.

He was expendable.

Lindstrom, who wouldn’t have been retained by the team because his salary would have been too high, was flipped in late August for Joe Saunders.

In effect, Guthrie was traded for pitchers who started three of the Division Series games and won the Wild Card game.

An excellent return.

Hammel could go to arbitration early next year, but the betting is that he settles, maybe even gets a multi-year deal.

Innings eaters are hard to find.

Even if Hammel goes to arbitration, Duquette won’t be trading him. He’s far too valuable.

In February, Duquette did go through with an arbitration case when the club beat Brad Bergesen. Coming off a 2-7 season with a 5.70 ERA, Bergesen asked for $1.2 million. The club countered with $800,000, and won.

Bergesen had to settle for an 84 percent raise.

His actions annoyed the club, and he was buried in Norfolk and later taken off the 40-man roster.

Brought up to the team for one day in July, Bergesen was waived and claimed by Arizona. He pitched well for the Diamondbacks, with a 2-1 record and 3.64 ERA in 19 games.

Lindstrom, Bergesen and David Hernandez, traded in 2010 for Mark Reynolds helped give Arizona an effective bullpen.

Guthrie was 3-9 with a 6.35 ERA with the Rockies before a July trade to Kansas City. He was 5-3 with a 3.16 ERA with the Royals.

He’ll be a free agent this fall. The Orioles probably won’t be bidding on him.

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Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles signed right-hander Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million contract on Thursday after searching for starting pitching all offseason.

The 31-year-old Cashner is 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA in eight major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego, Miami and Texas, including 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA for the Rangers last year. The deal with the Orioles has an option for 2020.

He'll join right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in the rotation.

"I do know that they need some starting pitching, and here it is, show up every day and whoever I can help out, help out and my job is to come here and pitch and win," Cashner said.

Cashner's deal could be worth $41 million over three seasons if he pitches 200 innings annually. He gets a $3 million signing bonus, payable in equal installments each Jan. 15 from 2020 through 2021.

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Cashner has salaries of $5 million this season and $8 million in 2019, and there is a $10 million option for 2020 that would become guaranteed if he pitches 340 innings combined in the next two seasons. If he reaches 360 innings, it would become a player option.

He can make $5 million in performance bonuses each year.

There are $1,525,000 per season in bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for 10 and 15, $625,000 for 20 and $400,000 for 30.

Cashner also can make $3,475,000 each year based on innings: $250,000 each for 110 and 120, $275,000 for 130, $350,000 for 140, $750,000 for 150 and $400,000 apiece for 170, 180, 190 and 200.

Cashner was at the Orioles' spring training facility, and was due to head to his Texas home for a few days before returning on Sunday when Baltimore's full squad is required to report. He'll likely work out with the team for the first time Monday.

He has little experience against the Orioles, but said he was excited to join the team.

"It's a lineup you can't really make a lot of mistakes against," Cashner said. "It's a lot of power in there, and I got to pitch (for) San Diego one year in Baltimore. Really cool stadium, really neat, a lot of history. It's one of my favorite places to pitch, so I'm looking forward to making that my home (stadium) every night."

RELATED: ORIOLES TO SHUFFLE UP INFIELD AHEAD OF MACHADO'S FINAL SEASON

Manager Buck Showalter said Cashner would be an ideal addition to the club.

"He's a veteran starter. That's a good deal for both us and him," Showalter said. "He's a guy who's pitched well in the American League. That's something that I think played in his favor."

Cashner said that he began negotiations with Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson last fall and in a challenging offseason for free agents, he said patience was vital.

"I don't think it's been difficult. It's been interesting. It's been different," Cashner said.

To make room for Cashner on the 40-man roster, Baltimore placed left-hander Zach Britton (Achilles) on the 60-day disabled list.

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Manny Machado to switch from third base to shortstop in final season with Orioles

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USA Today Sports

Manny Machado to switch from third base to shortstop in final season with Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Even if Manny Machado doesn't switch teams this season, he almost certainly will be changing his position in the infield.

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that Machado will move from third base to shortstop this spring, and shortstop Tim Beckham will be shifted to third.

The shuffle will become permanent unless something goes wrong -- or Machado gets traded to another club.

"There could be some adjustments if we don't like the feel of it, but that's where we're going to head into it," Showalter said at FanFest, an annual offseason event designed to promote interest in the club.

Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop did not attend.

RELATED: TWO FORMER ORIOLES ELECTED TO HALL OF FAME

Machado becomes a free agent after this year and is sure to demand a huge contract. The Orioles have entertained trade offers for the 25-year-old, who's been an All-Star in three of his six seasons with Baltimore.

Dan Duquette, vice president of baseball operations for the Orioles, has to decide whether to deal Machado sometime between now and September or seek to sign him to a long-term deal.

"That's a big decision for the organization, obviously," Duquette said. "But we're planning on Manny being with the club. We explored all those options. We think the strongest option is for Manny to be on the ballclub."

Machado played in 156 games last season, offsetting a career-low .259 batting average with 33 home runs and 95 RBIs. He has averaged 35 home runs and 92 RBIs over the past three years.

Machado avoided arbitration this month by agreeing to a $16 million contract for 2018. He received $11.5 million last season.

Drafted as a shortstop as the third overall pick in 2010, Machado played third base with Baltimore next to slick-fielding J.J. Hardy, whose contract expired after last season.

So when they return to the field next month in Florida, the Orioles will have Machado at shortstop with Beckham on his left. Beckham came to Baltimore from Tampa Bay in July and played shortstop for the injured Hardy over the final two months.

"I think Tim would rather play shortstop, as Manny would," Showalter said. "Tim's big thing is getting an opportunity to play every day at one position. We need to settle both those guys into a spot and let them get into it."

Showalter said Machado was enthusiastic about the switch.

"All indications are, he's really excited about this," Showalter said. "I can't imagine him being in a better frame of mind or setup to do this. I think out of his respect for J.J. the past few years he's been very professional about it. But it's not like he's changing positions. He's going back to the position he's equipped to play."

RELATED: ZACH BRITTON TEARS ACHILLES

Deciding what to do with Machado is only one problem Duquette has faced this offseason. He's also been trying to fill out a starting rotation that currently consists of Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and perhaps Miguel Castro, who made his first major league start on Sept. 30 after pitching in relief for 75 games over three seasons.

"Obviously we have work to do to address some of the deficiencies on our ballclub," Duquette said. "We're going to continue to build our pitching staff, most notably the starting pitching."

If Castro joins the rotation, the Orioles will be further pressed to fill out the back end of the bullpen. Closer Zach Britton tore his Achilles tendon during an offseason workout and will likely miss the entire 2018 season, leaving setup man Brad Brach the odds-on favorite to take over as the stopper.

"I'm hoping I get a shot to close. I'd be lying if I say I didn't," said Brach, who served significant time as a closer in 2017 while Britton was sidelined with elbow and knee issues.

Brach had 18 saves but blew six chances.

"I think I did all right," Brach said. "Hopefully, I get another chance to do it."