LAS VEGAS - Orioles ace Jeremy Guthrie has switched agents, leaving Scott Boras, who had represented the pitcher, 29, since he broke into professional baseball, and hiring Casey Close and Brodie Van Wagenen.
"There was no dramatic incident that caused me to look for new representation," Guthrie said. "I think Scott has done a phenomenal job, but moving forward, I felt that Casey and Brodie are a better fit for me and my career."
Guthrie, who makes his offseason home in Utah, was in Las Vegas to watch the Manny Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya fight Saturday at the MGM Grand Arena. He told Boras in person about his decision in the agent's suite Monday at the Bellagio Hotel during the first day of baseball's winter meetings. He later turned in the required paperwork with the players association.
"We think Jeremy Guthrie has a chance to be a front-line major league pitcher, and we believe he is a fine person," Boras said, declining further comment.
Guthrie made $770,000 last season and isn't eligible for arbitration until after the 2009 season. Boras is known to prefer avoiding multiyear, pre-arbitration contracts for his clients, but Guthrie said that had nothing to do with his decision.
"Scott has done a number of those deals, most recently with Carlos Pena," Guthrie said. "That wasn't the drive. It was for a number of different reasons, most importantly, a personal preference for my career."
Former Orioles center fielder Corey Patterson also reportedly fired Boras this offseason. Matt Wieters and Jake Arrieta, two of the Orioles' top prospects, are Boras clients. Boras also represents free agent Mark Teixeira, who is weighing an offer from the Orioles.
Decision time on Cabrera
The Orioles have waited for years for pitcher Daniel Cabrera to develop into a consistent and reliable starter, but they now have less than 24 hours to decide whether they are willing to wait one more year.
The Orioles have until midnight tonight to tender Cabrera a contract offer or let him become a free agent. According to one source, the club was leaning toward nontendering the pitcher, but top team officials are mixed about the decision, largely because the club has so much uncertainty in its rotation.
Cabrera, 27, made $2.85 million last season. If he goes to arbitration, he'll likely be paid about $4 million, a hefty price for a pitcher who has gone 17-28 the past two seasons and ended last year with concerns about the health of his pitching arm.
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he has spoken to Cabrera's agent, Mike Powers, and he will do so again today leading up to the tender deadline.
"I'm back and forth" on Cabrera, MacPhail said. "I have not made a final decision."
Rule 5 results
In the minor league phases of the draft, the Orioles selected shortstop Robert Valido, 23, off the Chicago White Sox's Double-A roster; right-hander Josh Perrault, 26, from the Washington Nationals' Double-A roster; and right-hander Andrew Barb, 24, off the Seattle Mariners' Single-A Washington roster.
Reliever Rocky Cherry, who made 28 appearances for the Orioles the past two seasons, was the organization's only player to be selected in the three phases of the draft. He was tabbed in the second round of the major league draft by the New York Mets.