Jeremy Guthrie agreed to a one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday that will pay him $770,000 if he remains on the big league roster for the entire season.
The Ashland High School product went 7-5 with a 3.70 ERA in 32 appearances, including 26 starts, as a rookie in 2007. Guthrie, an All-American at Stanford and a first-round draft pick by the Cleveland Indians in 2002, was claimed off waivers from the Indians last January. He made the Orioles roster as a reliever but earned his first start with Baltimore on April 24 for an injured Jaret Wright.
The right-hander went back to the bullpen when Wright was activated on April 29, but returned to the starting rotation for good in May after Wright was placed on the disabled list.
Guthrie finished second among AL rookies in ERA, strikeouts (123) and innings pitched (175 1-3). He was 6-5 with a 3.44 ERA as a starter.
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said Guthrie's contract was a product of the deal the pitcher signed with Cleveland in 2002 as the 22nd overall draft pick. If Guthrie is sent to the minor leagues, he will be paid on a salary scale of $247,000 a year.
Baltimore, however, is counting on a big season from the 28-year-old Oregon native.
"We're delighted to have a young man of his character and talent back with the team," MacPhail said. "We certainly expect him to take the ball every fifth day."
Guthrie did more than merely pitch well last season. He impressed the Orioles with his grit, working hard in September to return from a ribcage injury to make one final start instead of simply packing it in.
"I applaud Jeremy for his thought process and his eagerness and his mental outlook," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said at the time.
Guthrie inks 1-year deal with Orioles