Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun
May 25, 2012
On first blush, this looked like nothing more than a salary dump, a way to avoid paying Guthrie in his final year of arbitration. Hammel was an underperforming right-hander who never realized his potential, and Lindstrom was a hard-throwing failed closer. The rebuilding Orioles, somehow, received no prospects for Guthrie, who had been the club's Opening Day starter.
But the Orioles' brain trust, including scout Jim Howard, felt that Hammel could match Guthrie's numbers for more than $3 million less -- and there was potential for him to do more. Hammel quickly emerged as the Orioles' best starter, posting an 8-6 record and 3.43 ERA in 20 starts, despite missing a chunk of the season due to persistent knee discomfort. Lindstrom was solid in relief (2.72 ERA in 34 games) and was used in August as trade bait to get starter Joe Saunders from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Guthrie had a disasterous tenure in Colorado (6.35 ERA in 19 games) and was dealt to Kansas City, where he salvaged his season (3.16 ERA in 14 starts).
If healthy, Hammel is a likely candidate to be the Orioles' 2013 Opening Day starter.