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Washburn To Tigers

Jarrod WashburnAfter lots of speculation, Jarrod Washburn is indeed gone. He is going to the Detroit Tigers for pitchers Luke French and Mauricio Robles. Detroit was not a place that ever popped up in Washburn rumors, so the move is a bit surprising. The Yankees in particular have to be disappointed. Let's take a closer look at the deal.

We all know about Jarrod Washburn. He found a new way to throw the two-seamer and it practically changed the course of Mariners history. He has been fantastic with the new weapon, and a new defense behind him. It's all added up to a perfect storm that has resulted in the best year of Washburn's career. He will team with Edwin Jackson and Justin Verlander to make a formidable front three in the Tigers rotation. It may help them separate a little in the AL Central, and certainly helps their chances in the playoffs. Additionally, Washburn's fly ball tendency will play even better in Comerica than it did in Safeco.

Mauricio Robles is a young left-hander in advanced A ball right now. Just 21 years old, he is on the rise. Robles has struck out 111 batters in just 91.1 innings in the minors this year, which is way up from last year. Furthermore, his ground out to air out rate has doubled, though it is still only around 0.9. These are all positive signs though, especially since he has improved so much while also jumping levels.

Luke French pitched against the Mariners when they traveled to Detroit. He will turn 24 in about a month, so he is also young. French seemed to find something this year, because his strikeout rate has also gone up considerably this year despite jumping a level. He also has been somewhat effective in 29.1 innings with the Tigers this year. French seems to be cut out of the Garrett Olson/Jason Vargas/Jarrod Washburn pre-2009 mold. He looks like a number four or five starter waiting to happen.

Initial reaction in the cyberworld to this deal seems to be "that's it?" I felt the same way to a certain extent, but do not after thinking about the deal a little. Only Jack Z will know the other offers on the table. However, if the Yankees weren't willing to talk about guys like Joba, Phil Hughes, or Jesus Montero, I doubt they had better prospects to offer than these two. Also, Washburn is a free agent in two months. He is a rent-a-player. That suppresses his value.

Jarrod looks like he will be a Type B free agent at this point, meaning the Mariners would have received a compensatory draft pick after the second round if they held on to him the rest of the year and then lost him in free agency. In my eyes, Seattle acquired two pitchers talented enough to warrant selecting at that point in an amateur draft. With the Mariners out of contention at this point, this is a good deal. Additionally, people worried about the organizational pitching depth after the Wilson-Snell trade should feel better now. We got one back with Robles.

I doubt Z is done for the day. He certainly will keep talking to other teams. At the very least Roy Corcoran needs to go somewhere. It would not surprise me if another bullpen piece went somewhere either. Sean White might make sense. I do think the Mariners are done making big deals though.

UPDATE (12:11 PDT) - Both U.S.S. Mariner and Lookout Landing love the Washburn deal, so initial bum reactions (mostly based on sporadic tweets) are going to change. I still wonder how the M's clubhouse will react, but before today most players seemed to think a Washburn deal was quite possible. It should not shock them.