Helping Jarrod Washburn Find Work

Piggybacking on this afternoon's Jermaine Dye discussion, let's run through the reasons why Jarrod Washburn is still a free agent:

  • He's 35-years-old, and he posted a 7.33 ERA with a .940 OPS against in eight starts following his trade to Detroit. His season ended in mid-September with a knee injury that required surgery.
  • He's extremely homer prone, giving up one long ball for every 7.2 innings pitched or so over the last four seasons. While his walk rate was solid at 2.51 BB/9 last year, he doesn't miss many bats (5.1 K/9) and will give up more than his fair share of hits.
  • Despite turning down a $5MM offer from the Twins, Washburn maintains that it's not about the money. He's also indicated that he would prefer to play near his Wisconsin home next season.

Solutions:

  • Lighten up his salary demands, and accept an offer from a team regardless of their proximity to his home. There are plenty of unsettled rotation spots out there, so there should be interest in a guy who hasn't made fewer than 25 starts in a season since 2000.
  • Embrace a move to the bullpen. Being lefthanded is already a good start, but being able to shutdown lefties (.178/.224/.311 against last year) adds some validity to the idea.

On the day he was traded, Washburn had the second lowest ERA (2.64) in the American League and was on his way to helping a contender make a playoff run. Instead, he finished the season on the surgeon's table, and teams would rather roll the dice with questionable in-house options than meet Washburn's asking price.



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