What do you do with Jeremy Guthrie this winter?

No question that one of the biggest mysteries this season for the Orioles is Jeremy Guthrie.

He struggled through much of the first half, and we talked about him then.

To start the second half, Guthrie pitched brilliantly in Chicago. He had two terrible outings and then pitched well again last week in Detroit.

On Monday, he was terrible again, allowing five runs and a season-high 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings. He has a 5.43 ERA, his 81 earned runs allowed ties for the major-league lead and his 12 losses are worst in the AL.

A total headscratcher.

He may not be as good as he was in 2008, but he’s not this bad either. The Orioles have no choice but to let him pitch the rest of this season and hope he can turn it around.

Yet the inconsistency of this season puts into question his future.

Is he a guy you try to trade in the offseason for something slightly useful while he still has some value given his age and salary situation (he is under club control for three more seasons)?

Do you offer him arbitration (assuming he’ll make $1 million or more in 2010), pencil him into the back of your rotation and just assume he figures it out?

Or do you cut your losses, non-tender him a contract and move on?

I think you have to hold onto Guthrie for 2010, and hope 2009 was an aberration. The Orioles just aren’t deep enough in major-league starters right now and Guthrie is too talented to discard him this winter.

Am I right?

Daily Think Special: What do you do with Jeremy Guthrie this offseason?

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