Despite the similar numbers, I like the deal from Colorado's perspective. Guthrie has performed in a tougher division, facing tougher lineups. He's pitched 200-plus innings each of the past three seasons while Hammel has averaged 175 in his three seasons as a starter, reaching the 170-180 range each year. Hammel has had to pitch in Coors Field and has compiled a better road ERA during his three years starting for the Rockies -- 4.30 versus 4.95. However, his strikeout rate took a big dip in 2011 from 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings to 5.0, so that's a red flag. I just don't see much upside for Hammel pitching in the AL East.
The Orioles do get two years of team control with Hammel plus a salary savings -- Guthrie signed for $8.2 million, while Hammel will make $4.75 million. Lindstrom still throws hard -- he averaged 96 mph on his fastball in 2011, although he still hasn't done much with that power heater. He did have his best season in 2011 despite a low K rate (6.0 K's per nine) because he threw more strikes. I don't see him as much more than a back-of-the-bullpen arm, but he'll likely serve in the late-innings mix with Jim Johnson and Kevin Gregg.
I do wonder whether the Orioles could have held Guthrie until the trade deadline and flipped him to a desperate contender for a couple of prospects. I would think a durable innings-eater like Guthrie would have been an attractive trade commodity.
Guthrie steps into the No. 2 spot in the Rockies' rotation behind Jhoulys Chacin. There is one cause for concern: Guthrie is an extreme fly-ball pitcher. Which means: (a) He can be prone to the home run (and this is Coors Field); (b) You need good outfield defense behind him.
The good news is Guthrie moves from a team that ranked last in the majors in outfield defense in 2011, according to Baseball Info Solutions' defensive runs saved (23 runs below average), to a team that ranked 12th (plus-18). However, the addition of Michael Cuddyer to the Colorado outfield is unlikely to improve that metric.