State of the Washburn, 2009-2010 Dept.

Q.  What do you predict going forward?

A.  His FIP is 3.91, not 3.08 like his ERA is, but 3.91 is awfully good.  It would make him the #16 starter in the AL.

And FIP, in this case, undersells Washburn.  (For those who just joined us, FIP attempts to project an ERA if fielding didn't matter, park didn't matter and if an "average" percentage of outfield fly balls became home runs.)

Washburn is (1) a 3.91 FIP which is already a #3 starter on a playoff team, *plus* he is (2) a lefty throwing into Safeco's deep left field, *plus* he is (3) a fly ballpitcher in front of a great outfield, *plus* he is (4) very durable and consistent.

Washburn -- with the increased "bite" on his offspeed -- is a fairly legit #3 pitcher and in the Seattle context, he might actually be a #2.


Q.  Will he keep it up after the contract season?

A.  You tell me.  Is he going to keep grunting on his offspeed pitches?  Is he going to keep FIRRRRRING that arm through there explosively on his 77 mph pitches -- after he's no longer pitching for money?

Is his arm going to stay fresh, like it is now, or is the mileage going to show up again?

Personally, I'm nervous.  My guess is that his extra "oomph" will continue through the 2009 season, and then disappear in 2010.

That's not a knock.  When your back's killing you, it's hard to gear up for the last two wrestling matches.  I just don't see Washburn pitching with 25-year-old "pep" over the next five years.


Q.  Will he keep it up in September and October?

A.  Absolutely.  Put Jarrod Washburn in New York for Game 7, in their park, and he's probably looser than whatever Yankee he's facing.

The man is a samurai.


Q.  What was that you said about Chucky?

A.  Armstrong's veto of Pelekoudas' Washburn trade meant the M's had $10M less to spend this year -- $10M that could have purchased, say, Bobby Abreu or Adam Dunn.

I opined many, many times that this was symptomatic of everything the Mariners had ever done wrong in going from 116 wins to 102 losses.

So, I can afford to write for the third time that Chucky was absolutely right, and I was absolutely wrong.  Looking at Washburn from field level, he simply thought a lot more of Washburn than I did.  He saw things I didn't.

Baseball is such a wonderful game.  You never know what's going to happen next.


Q.  Tell me again why you don't trade him?

A.  Tell me again why the Boston Red Sox don't trade their aces when they're in the middle of a pennant race?

I admire outside-the-box thinking.  I don't admire the-pennant-doesn't-matter thinking.  When VORP/$ and underpaid-rookies matter more than winning playoff games, you've gotten a little too avant-garde for this kid.  :- )


If you're giving me a #1 org prospect, maybe I DO trade him. 

But you're talking about two or three young guys who are going to get lost in the Tacoma crowd anyway, right?

Are the Brewers going to give us Alcides Escobar for Jarrod Washburn, when Escobar-plus could probably get them Roy Halladay?

Trading Washburn for an IMPACT ML-ready young bat is one thing.  Trading him just to "thicken" the minor leagues is a different thing.   You're going to trade an ace, in the middle of a pennant race, just to vaguely "thicken" your minor leagues with non-impact prospects?  Does Billy Beane do that?


Baseball is about the pennant.  The Mariners aren't selling us tires or internet service or tailoring our suits.  They're selling us a vicarious pennant fight.

When the day comes that we don't care about that year's pennant any more, baseball will have ceased to be useful.  I care about the 2009 pennant, and Washburn's going to continue to have a career year during the stretch run.  I'll take the wins and wish him well.


Now, if the Nats get carried away and offer us Adam Dunn... ;- )

My $0.02,

Dr D



Washburn didn't used to have a sinking fastball.  I don't know if I'm just imagining this, but based on Washburn's own comments and on my perception of what I'm seeing, his groundball rate is up because he's getting more drop on his 2-seamer (he has two fastballs...the 88 mph 2-seamer and the 90 mph rising 4-seamer) ...did you notice in last night's game how in the first several innings he was 8 flyballs, 2 Ks, and 3 grounders (a more typical Washburn game) and then by the end of the game it finished at 11 ground balls, 13 flies and 3 Ks?  Well check the location on his fastballs...he took the high fastball out of his bag when ti got smoked into left field a few times in a 2-inning span (3rd and 4th) and went to the sinker more and more...resulting in a shift to grounders.  In other words...he DOES have a new pitch...but it's not a new pitch you can find by looking at the Pitch F/X output.  Pitch F/X isn't going to see his 2-seamer as a differen tpitch than his fastball so you can't tell if he's throwing it more, and since he still uses the high fastball enough to keep batters honest and out in front of his offspeed pitches, you can't really see it in location diagrams either.
Maybe there is extra oomph, but I am not nervous about Washburn holding up as a solid #3 pitcher for the next few years, though I would not extend him byond 2012 and I would not extend him before I exhausted all efforts to extend Bedard.

OOBF's picture

to cover weakness.
While I agree that now is not the time to be giving up on the season.  I also agree with you (as you wrote in the What to do at Catcher piece) that we can NOT go into a serious pennet fight with three pitchers in the bottome of our rotation.
Our strength right now is starting picthing.  We actually have seven (7) competent big league pitchers.  Felix, Bedard, Morrow, Wash, Olson, Vargas, and RRS.  If you want to throw Jaku in there then we have 8.  So the question isn;t, should we deal one of our aces and therfore forfiet the pennet race, it is does the improvement else where give us more than the drop from Wash to Vargas?
Unless I was BLOWN away Felix, Morrow and Bedard are untouchable, that is our playoff big three, but Washburn is not only a sel HIGH candidate, but he is gone next, he has a lot of volitility, and he, IMHO, is not leaps and bounds better than Vargas, Olson or RRS.  Better yes, but not many wins better.  So I would be looking around for the biggest brights shortstop that could be had for Washburn plus.  For instance I would be calling Tampa bay to see if they want a proven Yankee killer (washburn) a stud up and coming power hitting catcher (Clement) and a young CFer (Saunders) for Reid Brignac, a lefthanded, slick fielding SS would could slide into our starting short stop role, move Lopez to third (until Beltre comes back) and Yuni goes in at 2nd.  I beleive that Yuni and Lopez would be at least average defensivly at 3rd and 2nd, and Reid is supposedly pretty good at short with offensive upside.
Btw, with the aquisision of Langerhans and the soon to be very quick arrival of Ackley (no later than 2011 would be might guess, probably late next year), and Gutz and Ichiro handling center and right for the next couple oif years Saunders is totally expendable.
So would Wash+Clement+Saunders get Brignac?  Am I to ohigh on Reid and overpaying?  Or is there another SS we should be targeting?


As we conceded to Grizz:  if Washburn-plus can get you a legit SS with a 100 OPS+, then yeah.  That would probably even help you THIS year.
As a "sacrifice the present to help the future" concept, once you start taking the "sacrifice" part out of it, sign me up.
The M's DO have a complete rotation without Washburn, now that Morrow's there.  I'm solid enough on Vargas to go with him at the back end.   Olson's battling.  You're going to miss Washburn, but as you note, right now we're missing J.J. Hardy, too.


That IS a sacrifice-the-present move, but if you can get a LEFT hand shortstop you believe in, that's just an overwhelming piece to add.
I'll work around the Washburn loss if you can get THAT kind of player in a Washburn deal.


Too many things we don't know yet -- Bedard's status, where Morrow seems to be headed, how much of the promise of the Vargas/Olson/RRS (promise was in 07/08) lefty BOR trio is "real" -- to deal Washburn now unless for a steal.
If Bedard does not re-sign then extending Wash for a reasonable deal would make sense, since Morrow will take some time to find consistency.  But we don't need Bedard AND Wash AND the trio of lefty 4/5 guys.

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