Orioles Trade Brian Matusz to Braves

According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to trade Brian Matusz and the 76th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft to the Atlanta Braves for two minor league pitchers, Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek. The Braves plan on removing Matusz from the secondary roster by designating him for assignment. The Braves will eat the remainder of his 2016 arbitration salary ($2.8 million) unless somebody claims him off waivers.

Matusz, 29, has struggled this year, posting a 12.00 ERA in six innings with one strikeout and seven walks. He had a decent 2015 season when he posted a 2.94 ERA and 3.58 FIP in 49 innings pitched. He spent over eight seasons with the Orioles and made 68 starts along with 211 relief appearances. He has a career 3.47 ERA as a reliever in 171 innings pitched, but a 5.51 ERA in 354 innings as a starter.

If he clear waivers, Matusz could get a shot from teams needing bullpen help like the Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays, or San Francisco Giants.

The two minor league pitchers the Orioles received aren’t top prospects, but they’ve impressed to start the season.

Barker, 23, has pitched for Double-A Mississippi Braves, posting a 2.00 ERA and 3.46 FIP in 45 innings pitched. He spent time in Low-A, High-A, and Triple-A last season as a starter and posted a sub-3.50 ERA in 146 innings pitched.

Belicek, 23, just arrived at Double-A after posting 2.49 ERA and 2.63 FIP in 25 innings pitched in Single-A as a reliever to start the season. He started nine out of 14 games in 2015 but hasn’t started a game this season. He’s a left-hander who has struck out 32 batters while walking just one this season.

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