As a blogger, I really, really want someone to sign Jarrod Washburn. I’m tired of hearing about him, and I’m even more tired of writing about him. It’s now mid-March, and he’s still a free agent, so naturally, he remains a hot topic with fans. We all know the first part of this story. Jarrod Washburn was a Mariner. He was mediocre. Jarrod Washburn got traded to the Tigers. He was awful. The Twins wanted Jarrod Washburn. The Twins made Jarrod Washburn the best offer he was going to get. Jarrod Washburn turned down this offer. Now no one wants Jarrod Washburn, and we’re less than a month away from opening day.
It’s no secret that he would love to come back to Seattle – he’s stated that on numerous occasions, and at this point in the off season, he’s probably going to come at such a low price that there’s almost no reason not to bring him back. If you sign him at this point, he’s likely replacing a couple months of Jason Vargas, and a few months of Ian Snell (assuming Erik Bedard returns at some point). That means that he’d be coming in to replace roughly 1 WAR. So, the big question is, is Jarrod Washburn still better than a 1 win pitcher? If he remains healthy, I’m inclined to think that yes, he is – after all, he was a 2.7 win pitcher in half a season with the M’s just last year. When you factor in regression, that number probably drops down to around 2, but when you’re in the situation that the Mariners are now in, if you have the opportunity to make your team a win better for a low price, you’d be well advised to take it.
I really don’t buy into much of this veteran leadership stuff, but the fact is, Jarrod Washburn is still better than Jason Vargas or Doug Fister, and he’s almost certainly better than Ian Snell. Do we want him starting in the playoffs? God no, but he could make this team a little bit better as a starter during the regular season, and if the situation should arise, he could relieve in the playoffs. Now, if by some miracle Ian Snell achieves a miraculous turn around, you’re in a little bit of a predicament, but you can always stick Washburn in the bullpen without much regret, as long as you don’t overpay for him.
I certainly haven’t been a big advocate for bringing Wash back over the course of this off season, but at this point, the Mariners might as well just pull the trigger.