Parting with Guthrie might not be easy for the Orioles to do

The Orioles may have a tough decision to make this week: whether to trade or keep Jeremy Guthrie.

I’m sure it will simply come down to the quality of the offer they get from another team. Is that club willing to part with maybe two good young pitching prospects or perhaps a top young position player?

If the Orioles hear an offer like that for Guthrie, they may well have to make the move.

Readers here and callers to my talk-show on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore are quite mixed on a trade of Guthrie. Among some fans he is just considered a mediocre pitcher with a losing record.

Others, including me, see a real gamer and high-character guy that is talented and an innings eater. His record is very poor at 4-14 and his ERA of 4.33 is the second highest in his five years with the Orioles.

But three times with the Orioles his ERA has ranked in the top 22 in the American League and last year his WHIP topped those of CC Sabathia and David Price.

No, he is not an ace. No one ever said he was including me, Guthrie and anyone with the media or Orioles.

But he is a top starter on this team and could be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter on most teams when his ERA is high threes or lower.

Guthrie’s Orioles’ resume includes these notes:

2007: Second among AL rookies in ERA and strikeouts. His 3.70 ERA rated 13th in the AL.

2008: Was 14th in AL in ERA at 3.63 and seventh in batting average against at .242.

2009: In a down year where he went 10-17 with a 5.04 ERA, he did reach 200 innings for the first time.

2010: Went 11-14 with 3.83 ERA that ranked 22nd in the AL. He was 14th in the league in innings pitched. His WHIP of 1.16 was seventh in the AL and equaled that of Justin Verlander and topped those of CC Sabathia, David Price, Jon Lester, C.J. Wilson and Matt Garza to name a few.

Many fans, and I think most, if not all, in the media seem to respect how Guthrie has handled the lack of run support and some bad breaks that seem to follow him often to the mound.

He has never complained about that or called out anyone on the team. With a rare exception or two, he seldom seems frustrated by that.

He has been a mentor for and good role model for the young pitchers in the rotation.

I think a lot of fans would be unhappy to see him go. But if the Orioles could get a couple of young prospects, it is probably time to make that move.

If Guthrie left Baltimore and joined a contender, he would have a lot of people in this town rooting for him if he gets into the playoffs.

Trade Guthrie? If may not be easy or popular, but, pending what the Orioles get offered, this week it may be necessary.

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