Mariners Deal Veteren: French comes to town but there's a chance of Lightning

John PearsonContributor IJuly 31, 2009

Ok, so the Mariners have officially conceded this season, but make no mistake this was not a sale deal.   6 ½ games out of the wild card it is not much of a surprise their pricey 34 year old veteran, is on the move.  In a, two for one, lefty trade sending Jarrod Washburn to Detroit, in return for two lefties Luke French and Mauricio Robles, Jack Zduriencik has made a building block deal for the Mariners.  This move adds depth and youth, French, 23, Robles, 20, to the Mariners pitching staff.  Washburn, in the final year of his contract, was considered a prime target for teams ginning up for a playoff run.

French, 6’4”, 220 pounds, has had some success this year as a spot starter for the Tigers, toting a 1-2 record and a 3.38 ERA, over five starts.  This includes a 6 1/3 inning performance out dueling KC ace Zack Grienke earlier this month.  French is promising, with a similar pitching style to Washburn’s, but the intriguing element of this trade the raw lightning in the form of an explosive, under sized, Venezuelan. 

Robles, 5’10”, 160 pound, is 8-6 so far this year between A and AA advanced league with a 4.24 ERA over 18 starts.  Robles has impressive velocity, especially considering his body frame, that tops out at 95 MPH, allowing him to fan just over 35% of the batters he’s faced in West Michigan.  As with most young, minor league, high velocity pitchers, Robles has been focusing most of this year on harnessing some major torque.  Robles has managed to lower his walked batters percentage from 14.5% to a bit over 9%.  Exposure to the Mariners farm system, a program that prides itself on quality pitcher development, should help him with his control and develop his curveball and change-up. 

Washburn has the 3rd best ERA in the American League this year, but he has spent much of his stint with the Marines on the DL, and most of the time wasn’t the same caliber of pitcher as he was with the Angles.   Even though Mariners fans are slightly disappointed by the departure of Washburn, considered a good guy and fan favorite, they should be excited to see how French's Northwest tenure pans out, but should also keep an eye on that lightning.