One last time, for old times' sake:
In perhaps his last start for the Mariners, Jarrod Washburn hurled a gem against the Blue Jays on Sunday by allowing just one run in eight innings. (Rotoworld)
Okay, the second part is true - Washburn did indeed allow but a single run today in eight innings against Toronto, an outing that couldn't have come at a more perfect time given the state of negotiations between New York and Seattle.
But to call this "a gem" demonstrates complete and utter ignorance of what it takes to be a good pitcher. I know, I know, it isn't the job of the Rotoworld people to report much more than the most basic results, but let's not pretend like that's the only place singing Washburn's praises. It was just the first place I looked. People all over are going to be giving Jarrod credit for pitching brilliantly under considerable duress, credit that - let's be honest - he doesn't really deserve.
As we've talked about many a time, the three big keys for a pitcher are throwing strikes, missing bats, and keeping the ball on the ground. With a couple exceptions, a great pitcher does all three, a good pitcher does two, a mediocre pitcher does one, and Steve Trachsel does zero. So with that in mind, how'd Jarrod do today?
-67% strikes (68/101)
-2 swings and misses
-7 grounders on 27 balls in play
Against a starting lineup that's combined for a .689 OPS against lefties so far this year, Jarrod did a good job of finding the zone, but didn't really do anything else. The Blue Jays were constantly making contact and putting the ball in the air. They also hit a home run and five other line drives, so even with the four infield pop-outs, it's not like they weren't hitting the ball well. Plug this into the equation and you come out with a tRA close to five. That's below average. Jarrod only allowed one run in eight innings today, but if he made a habit of pitching like this all the time, he'd be a below-average starter. This "gem" was nothing more than a classic Ryan Franklin Special. And you remember how happy we were to shed Ryan Franklin.
With all that said, whatever; it's not like this could possibly hurt the Mariners' bargaining position, so there's no reason to be angry or annoyed. It's just...it's funny how small, essentially meaningless samples of information seem to carry so much weight. So Jarrod has a 2.82 ERA over his last 11 starts. Neato. Clearly a valuable arm to add for the stretch drive. But at the same time, his core numbers over the same stretch are as boring as they've ever been, he had a 7.14 ERA in the nine starts immediately preceding, and his tRA on the season is hovering around five, just like it has for as long as he's been a Mariner. Despite this little hot streak of run prevention, he's not by any means a different pitcher, and I just can't fathom being Brian Cashman - theoretically one of the 30 smartest roster management minds in the world - looking at Jarrod, and thinking "this is a guy we could really use to help put us over the top." Jarrod Washburn? Really? Jarrod Washburn is the best you can do? I don't think you're trying very hard.
I guess I shouldn't complain. If the Yankees want Jarrod Washburn, then more power to them; I hope he helps them overtake the Red Sox. I just shouldn't let myself get caught up in all the rumors, because as much as I'd love to have Cabrera or Gardner, this is Jarrod Washburn we're talking about, and at the end of the day, the real prize in any Jarrod Washburn trade is that you no longer have to deal with Jarrod Washburn.
Go away, Jarrod. Go away and never come back.
Biggest Contribution: Jarrod Washburn, +29.8%
Biggest Suckfest: Adrian Beltre, -6.7%
Most Important AB: Vidro homer, +24.0%
Most Important Pitch: McDonald homer, -13.5%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): +32.3%
Total Contribution by Lineup: +17.7%
Total Contribution by Opposition: 0.0%
(What is this chart?)
John McDonald and Jose Vidro both hit home runs.