UPDATE: Larry Stone's source says that no Washburn/Bonser deal was ever discussed. And yet it's funny how, when you get down to it, that doesn't change a thing. If true, Bonser-specific points in this post are invalidated, but the argument stays exactly the same.
I don't know who Joe Christensen is but this is why sometimes people want to shoot the messenger.
The minute the Twins made the claim, they could have been stuck with the contract. That’s about $2.55 million for the rest of this year and another $10.35 million for next year.
But that wasn’t enough for the Mariners. They are convinced Washburn has value on the trade market. The Yankees were willing to take the contract off their hands in late July, but the deal fell through because the Mariners wanted talent in return.
I received indications that the Twins offered Boof Bonser.
Oh no. I have indications the Mariners insisted on getting one of the Twins’ current starting pitchers. Yeah, like Nick Blackburn or Kevin Slowey. That, friends, is sheer lunacy.
Boof Bonser is a 26 year old righty with two years of service time and a career 4.70 tRA that's 5% above the league average. His 2008 salary is $0.4325m and he won't be eligible for free agency until the winter of 2012. Evidently the Mariners came to the conclusion that, in exchange for Washburn, he wasn't enough.
To summarize, Bonser:
-is better than Washburn
-is younger than Washburn
-is cheaper than Washburn
-is under team control for longer than Washburn
And somehow we were the ones to turn down the deal.
I'm not sure what the Twins were thinking here. I guess they're so desperate to fix their bullpen that they want to bump one of their starters to relief for the stretch drive. That's dumb, but whatever. What's important for the Mariners is that the opportunity was there to get rid of Jarrod Washburn, and the organization didn't seize it, because they believe that a fair price for Jarrod Washburn is somebody better, cheaper, and younger. Well, no, scratch that - Bonser is already better, cheaper, and younger. So they believe that a fair price is somebody even more better, cheaper, and younger. You know those stupid posts you'll see on message boards all the time that consist of ideas like "hey we should trade Richie Sexson for Joba the Yankees need a first baseman"? You know how you just skip over those comments and roll your eyes in disgust? The Mariners are trying to make that sort of thing a reality. And - surprise! - other teams aren't having it.
This isn't about having to pencil Washburn into the 2009 rotation. There's still a chance that the front office will be able to get rid of him over the winter. But
(1) there are far more #4/5 starters available for low cost during the winter than during the summer, and there's less desperation in the market
(2) in what ought to be a winter of change the last thing a new front office needs is to have to deal with a problem for which we already had an obvious and easy solution
(3) apparently this organization doesn't believe Washburn is someone you just give away
Yesterday this team made a horrible, unjustifiable decision. And whatever happens with Washburn from this point forward does nothing to change that. I don't care that there still exists some sliver of hope that we'll be able to get rid of him over the winter, because while that's a valid point, we could have gotten rid of him yesterday and never had to worry about him again, and we didn't. Yesterday, this front office was faced with the question "do you believe Jarrod Washburn is a $10m pitcher?" and their answer was yes. Actually, by turning down a deal for Bonser, their answer was "we believe he's worth quite a bit more than that." Jarrod Washburn.
Those of you who didn't think this was so bad - do you get it now? Do you get that this is as much about philosophy as it is about execution? Yes, the Mariners may still get rid of Jarrod Washburn during the winter, but every indication is that, despite mistake after mistake after mistake, this organization still doesn't have a clue how to evaluate pitching. Not a clue. They've learned nothing from Washburn. They've learned nothing from Batista. They've learned nothing from Silva. Nothing. They have learned nothing. This is our team.
Stupidity compounded by arrogance is among the most destructive forces on the planet.