Analyzing the Washburn Trade


As I think everyone knows by now, the Mariners made pretty big trade today, in which they traded veteran lefty starter Jarrod Washburn to the Detroit Tigers for minor league fire-baller Mauricio Robles, and 23 year old starter Lucas French.

What we gave up:

I think by now, most Mariner fans know all there is to know about Jarrod Washburn. He’s a control specialist who doesn’t throw very hard, he induces a ton of fly balls (career 43.6 fly ball percentage). He has had a lot of success with the Mariners this season, partially due to the development of a two seam fastball and a slow “dolphin” curveball, but mainly due to a vastly improved outfield defense, and a lot of good luck. He has also cut down his walks, and improved his strikeout rates this season, which has been a small part of his success.

As for how he’s going to do in Detroit… well, not as well. Comerica isn’t as friendly of a pitcher’s park as Safeco is, and he’ll be pitching with a lesser outfield defense behind him. It’s by no means a hitter park, and he does have Curtis Granderson behind him, so he’ll probably be alright there. I wish him the best.

What we got:

Lucas French:

First, there’s the 23 year old, major league ready Lucas French. French is a very similar pitcher to Jarrod Washburn. He doesn’t have great stuff, but he gets by on finesse pitching and throwing a lot of strikes. He is also an extreme flyball pitcher, meaning he’s going to get the same benefits from playing on the Mariners as Washburn did.

He’s made five starts in the Major Leagues, and has posted an FIP of 3.87. That’s not bad, especially for a 23 year old kid, who still has a lot of things to work out. You should expect from regression from him though, as his HR/FB rate of 3.9% is very unsustainable – he’s going to start giving up more home runs. From what I know of him, he probably has upside of an average #3 starter or a solid #4. The best thing about him, though, is that he’s 12 years younger than Jarrod Washburn, and under club control for the next six years.

Mauricio Robles:

The more I look at it, the more I feel like Robles was the key to this deal for the Mariners. Robles is only 20 years old, and still really raw, but his stuff is incredible. He’s drawn comparison, most notably, to a young Johan Santana. He’s got a fastball that comes in at around 94-95, a good curve that still needs some polishing, and an average changeup.

He has posted absolutely fantastic strikeout rates in the minor leagues, most recently in Lakeland High A, where he has struck out 40 and walked 14 in 35 innings. What makes him so special, is that he doesn’t only have dominating stuff, but he also has good command. His control was a little shaky when he first broke into the minors, but over the last year and a half he’s struck out 111 and walked only 41, for a K/BB rate near 3. Combine that with stuff like he’s got, and you’ve got a young kid with top of the rotation upside.

I’m ecstatic with this trade, and every true Mariners fan should be. As much as Washburn has grown on me this year, he had no value to us anymore. I’d be more than for Wash to re-sign with us in the offseason, as long as it’s a reasonable contract, but if he doesn’t, at least we’ll know we didn’t miss our chance to get value for him. Once again, bravo Mr. Zduriencik.

One more piece of news – Ian Snell threw a bullpen today and will be starting on Sunday, in Jarrod Washburn’s spot, and either Luke French or Garrett Olson (please God no) will be starting on Wednesday.

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