Orioles trade Brian Matusz to Braves

The Orioles have traded left-hander Brian Matusz, their first-round selection in the 2008 draft, to the Braves for right-hander Brandon Barker and left-hander Trevor Belicek. Atlanta also will receive a Competitive Balance Round B pick (76th overall) in the upcoming draft.

The Braves reportedly will designate Matusz for assignment, essentially making the deal in order to acquire the draft pick and take on the rest of his salary for 2016. Matusz was being paid $3.9 million in the final year of his contract.

The Orioles are down to one left-hander, closer Zach Britton, in their bullpen and must make a roster move before Tuesday night's game in Houston.

Brian Matusz black.jpgMatusz made seven appearances since coming off the disabled list and registered a 12.00 ERA and 3.000 WHIP in six innings. He allowed eight runs and 11 hits, walked seven batters and surrendered three home runs.

The fourth-overall pick in 2008, Matusz went 27-41 with a 4.85 ERA in 279 games over parts of eight seasons with the Orioles. He made 68 starts before they converted him to a relief role, primarily to match him up against left-handed hitters.

Left-handers batted .211 against Matusz and right-handers hit .300.

Barker, 23, went 3-2 with a 2.00 ERA (10 earned runs in 45 innings) and 40 strikeouts in nine games (eight starts) with Double-A Mississippi this season. He's headed to Double-A Bowie.

In 50 career minor league games (40 starts), Barker has gone 20-14 with a 3.08 ERA over 228 innings. He was named the Carolina Mudcats Pitcher of the Year by the Braves in 2015 after going 8-5 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 starts.

Barker was originally selected by the Braves in the 16th round of the 2014 draft.

Belicek, 23, has gone 3-0 with a 2.22 ERA (seven earned runs in 28 1/3 innings), while walking one and striking out 32 in 12 games between Single-A Rome and Double-A Mississippi. He's headed to Single-A Frederick.

Belicek led all Braves minor league starting pitchers with a 2.53 ERA last year between Single-A Danville and Rome. In 26 career minor league games (nine starts), he's gone 8-0 with a 2.43 ERA, 13 walks and 73 strikeouts.

The Braves selected Belicek in the 16th round of the 2015 draft.

Matusz's removal leaves the Orioles with 38 players on their 40-man roster.

It appears that the Orioles have made another move to acquire a low-level minor league pitcher. More to come.

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