The Orioles finally found a trade partner to take on right-hander Ryan Webb's salary Thursday, dealing the reliever to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with minor-league catcher Brian Ward and the club's competitive-balance draft pick in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers.
In the trade, the Orioles received right-handed reliever Ben Rowen and catcher Chris O'Brien from the Dodgers. Rowen will report to Triple-A Norfolk and O'Brien to Double-A Bowie.
After designating Webb for assignment on Monday, the Orioles had 10 days to trade, release or send him through irrevocable waivers. He had already cleared outright waivers without a team claiming him, so the Orioles would have been on the hook for his $2.75 million salary this season if they had not traded him.
Webb — who signed a two-year, $4.5 million deal with the Orioles before the 2014 season — made 51 relief appearances with the club last season, going 3-3 with a 3.83 ERA, but he was the odd man out in a crowded bullpen.
To relieve the club of Webb's contract, the Orioles also had to deal one of the organization's top defensive catchers in Ward, as well as their coveted Competitive Balance Round B draft pick, which is the 74th overall pick in June's draft.
The Orioles were interested in the 26-year-old Rowen — whose sidearm delivery is similar to that of Orioles setup man Darren O'Day — this past offseason when he was a free agent after being released by the Texas Rangers.
Rowen was 3-0 with a 3.45 ERA in 47 relief innings last season pitching for Texas' Triple-A team in Round Rock, Texas. Over his minor league career, Rowen is 21-5 with a 1.72 ERA with 40 saves in 177 relief appearances.
The Rangers' 22nd-round pick in 2010 out of Virginia Tech, Rowen was called up by Texas briefly last season before the All-Star break and posted a 4.15 ERA in 82/3 innings.
O'Brien, 25, played for the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate last season, hitting .266 with a .341 on-base and .438 sluggin percentage, including 32 doubles, seven home runs and 53 RBIs in 116 games. A switch hitter, he posted a .270/.352/.453 batting line against right-handed pitching. He threw out 29 percent of basestealers last season at Double-A Chattanooga and has thrown out 30 percent over his four-year minor league career.
The Dodgers' 18th-round pick in 2011, O'Brien is the son of former big league catcher Charlie O'Brien.
Ward is a California native whose stock rose in recent years because of his defensive skills. The 29-year-old hit .227/.330/.286 in 65 games with Triple-A Norfolk last year, but threw out 33 percent of baserunners.
Over his six-year minor league career, Ward threw out 39 percent of baserunners.
The Orioles had five selections in the draft's first 102 picks before trading the competitive-balance pick to the Dodgers. Competitive-balance picks are the only draft picks that can be traded.
MASNSports.com first reported the Orioles were trading Webb and Ward. WBAL News Radio 1090 first reported the Orioles were receiving Rowen and O'Brien.