BALTIMORE (AP) — Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie and the Baltimore Orioles agreed Friday to a $5.75 million, one-year contract that avoided salary arbitration.
The deal was at the midpoint of the $6.5 million Guthrie had requested and the $5 million Baltimore had offered when the sides exchanged proposed arbitration salaries last month. A hearing had been scheduled for next week.
“I’m very happy with the way the process went,” Guthrie said in a telephone interview. “I’m really happy that I’m going to be paid a lot more money to play baseball, a game I love. That’s a huge blessing, and I’m very grateful.”
Guthrie, 31, led the Orioles in wins and was 11-14 with a 3.83 ERA in a team-high 32 starts last year, when he made $3 million. He had a 4-11 record through July 28 but won seven of his final 10 decisions.
Guthrie worked at least six innings in 28 starts in 2010, including 11 straight from July 17-Sept. 11.
In four seasons with Baltimore, Guthrie is 38-48 with a 4.06 ERA in 121 starts.
Guthrie was the last Orioles player in arbitration. The last time they presented a case was in 2006 with pitcher Rodrigo Lopez.
Andy MacPhail, Orioles president of baseball operations, reached agreement with designated hitter Luke Scott on Thursday before coming to a compromise with Guthrie only two days before pitchers and catchers are scheduled report to spring training camp in Sarasota, Fla.
“We’re pleased. I’ve always been of the opinion that if you work hard enough and find a number pleasing to both sides, it’s far better than going to arbitration,” MacPhail said by phone Friday. “I’m glad we could do it again.”
MacPhail said he hasn’t had a case go to arbitration since he took over as general manager of the Minnesota Twins in 1986.
“There’s a lot of incentive for both parties to get it done, and everyone is looking at the same data,” he said. “With all that material, you should be able to establish a range that a contract should come into.”
Still, that doesn’t guarantee that a settlement can be reached.
“I always assume I’m going to a hearing, and prepare accordingly,” Guthrie said. “It just came down to breaking it down compared to other players and meeting at a point where both parties are satisfied with a certain value.”
Players and owners have split the two cases decided thus far, with Pittsburgh pitcher Ross Ohlendorf winning and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jered Weaver losing.
Seven players remain scheduled for hearings next week.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)