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According to ESPN, the Seattle Mariners and former starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn are in active negotiations to bring the lefty back to the Emerald City.
Washburn already turned down a one-year, $5 million contract offer from the Minnesota Twins, who have now tried three times to acquire the veteran, and have for all intents and purposes struck out.
Turning down a team that Washburn himself expressed some interest in either means he is holding out for a better deal, or holding out for a deal with the Mariners.
He is coming off a rough injury plagued stint with the Detroit Tigers, going 1-3 with a 7.33 ERA.
The Mariners unloaded him at the trade deadline for prospects Luke French and Mauricio Robles. French, who at 24 he had already cracked the Tigers starting rotation, was the key to the deal, and figures to have the upside of a No. 3 pitcher in the near future. He posted a 3-3 record, but a very high 6.63 ERA, and not a very impressive SO total at 23 in 38 innings.
In hindsight, if the Mariners are able to re-obtain Washburn, it will be an ingenious trade by Jack Zdureincik.
A reunion makes perfect sense. The Mariners are shopping for middle of the rotation arms, and Washburn thrived with the club last season, going 8-6 and posting a 2.76 ERA, the fifth lowest in the league at the time.
The Mariners are probably not going to offer him anything north of $5 million despite being flush with cash because of his age. The more likely scenario is he gets a one year incentive laden deal, with potential options tacked on.
If they were to reacquire Washburn, this is how the rotation would round out:
Ryan Rowland Smith
That's a good rotation, especially the first two, but I still feel the Mariners should make a run at Ben Sheets and would be foolish not to.
With Zdureincik apparently getting high for a few days, he has downgraded this offense by deciding not to retain last year's leading power hitter Russell Branyan, and not go after an affordable Adam LaRoche or Vladimir Guerrero. If he chooses not to put some power in the lineup, especially with the options being so thin, so be it. But he then needs to load up on more pitching.
Adding Sheets would without a doubt give the Mariners the league's best pitching rotation and the league's best defense. I still think we need more power in order to officially claim the AL West throne from the Angels, or to compete with the Rangers.
If we were to haul in Sheets in addition to Washburn though, our No. 1 pitching and No. 1 defense might be enough to push this squad over the playoff hump for the first time since 2001.
As it stands, with our best HR and RBI producer being Jose Lopez (by a mile), I just can't make the claim this team is the best in the AL West.
I mean, I think we have surpassed the Angels, but look at the Texas lineup we are competing with:
Hank Blalock (I expect he re-signs)
Only two guys didn't knock in 20 HR's, Andrus, and Saltalamacchia, and Saltalamacchia was on pace to hit 20 if he played a full season.
Only one guy knocked in 20 HR's last year on the Mariners roster: Jose Lopez. That's it.
Their pitching staff isn't as good, but it isn't bad:
That is a young growing rotation with ridiculously high potential. The Mariners have nothing locked down yet.
It will be very contrasting styles going head to head for the AL West crown this season.
- brute power
- good pitching
- OK defense
against the Mariners:
- great pitching
- great defense
- no offense
Hopefully, the Mariners wake up and actually add some pop to the lineup, or it's going to be a very interesting struggle against the potent lineups of the Angels and Rangers.