What to do With Jarrod Washburn


Sitting here on July 20th, 11 days before the trade deadline, the Seattle Mariners find themselves in an awkward position. The Mariners continue to win, and despite the fact that the Angels never seem to lose, still remain only 4 games back. It has yet to become clear whether or not they will be buyers, or sellers when the July 31st deadline arrives.

Players like Jarrod Washburn, and Erik Bedard complicate the situation even further. Both of their contracts expire after this season, and both seem unlikely to resign. With Washburn, his value is as high as it’s ever been. With Bedard, it’s a little bit different. He spent a month on the DL, and lately hasn’t been able to go much deeper than five innings in his starts. Unless we package them both for someone like JJ Hardy, as suggested over at USS Mariner, I don’t see Bedard getting dealt.

Washburn, on the other hand, has been healthy all year, and is working at least into the seventh inning in almost all of his starts. A lot of fans out there are making suggestions such as “keep him, and sign him to a one or two year deal in the off season!”. That sounds nice, but it’s unrealistic. I’m sure Jarrod Washburn knows as well as anybody that this off season is going to be his last chance to sign a big contract. He’s in his mid 30’s, and his numbers have never looked better than they do now. Something we don’t want, is an aging pitcher getting signed to a long term contract, and that’s not something I see Jack Z doing.

The best course of action would be to trade him, and if possible, explore the option of signing him to a short term deal during the off season. If he’s not interested, it’s not a big loss.

First of all, trading Jarrod Washburn does not eliminate the Mariners chances of making the playoffs. He has been okay, but not as good as his sparkly ERA would indicate. He has benefited a lot from our outfield defense, like any fly ball pitcher would, along with a very low BABIP and a high strand rate. His FIP is at 3.76, almost a full point above his ERA, which shows that he’s unlikely to keep it so low. His BABIP this year is at .259, compared to his career average of .281. Some of that is because of our defense, which isn’t going to change, but it’s also bound to regress. Same goes for his strand rate, which is at 78.2%, compared to his career average of 73.9%. That’s also due for a little bit of regression. He’s been better than he was last year, but more of those runners are going to start scoring and that ERA is going to rise.

If Jack Zduriencik is able to deal him in a package, maybe with someone like Wladimir Balentien or a bullpen arm, with a return consisting of a decent prospect and someone who can help our team now, I’d be all for it. Washburn’s value just isn’t as high as people think, and it wouldn’t take a huge bat to improve our offense.

I know it’s been stated 100 times, but Jack Wilson would be perfect. He’d be enough of an offensive improvement over Ronny Cedeno, and a good enough defensive shortstop to make a difference. If we could land him and Ian Snell, who the Pirates are practically giving away, losing Jarrod Washburn wouldn’t be all that big of a blow. Then, once we’re back to a five man rotation, we could bring up one of Morrow, Vargas, or RRS to fill the spot.

That’s my two cents, we’ll just have to wait and see what GMZ has in store.

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