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Jarrod Washburn

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Goose linked to this article in the diaries section, saying that the Mariners are nearing a four-year agreement with Washburn. I was perfectly content pretending like I didn't read the article and taking the "ignorance is bliss" route for the next few days, but now Corey Brock's saying the same thing, and I'm beginning to get worried.

The Seattle Mariners are closing in on signing free agent pitcher Jarrod Washburn to a four-year contract worth $36 million to $38 million.

A source close to the team said Friday that the Mariners were moving hard to sign the 31-year-old left-hander who has spent his entire eight-year career with the Los Angeles Angels.

Jarrod Washburn, in and of himself, is not necessarily a bad thing.

Jarrod Washburn at $9m+ per season is pushing it.

Jarrod Washburn at $9m+ per season over four years is ridiculous.

There's no reason to go to particular length in analyzing the merits of this deal until/unless it's finalized, but here's the short of it: Washburn's not a real good bet going forward. Ignore that 3.20 2005 ERA, because it doesn't mean anything. His ERA has bounced from 4.43 to 4.64 to 3.20 in the last three seasons, but he's essentially been the exact same pitcher in each of them, the same guy who doesn't miss any bats and who allows a ton of fly balls. To expect him to continue posting ERAs in the low-3's is like asking lightning to strike the same tree in the forest over and over and over again until there's no tree left to ignite, and when you're that dependent on luck, you don't make an expensive four-year commitment.

For what it's worth, Washburn has consistently beat the fielding-independent system, with his career ERA roughly a half-run lower than his FIP. Much of that is to be expected, however, since soft-throwing lefties have been shown to post lower BABIP's than usual, and Washburn's spent much of his time pitching in front of a good defense. The key here is to realize that we've seen this kind of thing before firsthand in Ryan Franklin, that we got fooled and that we've paid for it ever since. Jarrod Washburn is the exact same thing, only on a grander scale, because whoever he signs with is going to be on the hook for an enormous commitment. Somebody tell me the Mariners have learned something from their mistakes. Please. Anyone. Because as cool as it is to have Kenji Johjima, adding Carl Everett and Jarrod Washburn isn't really what I had in mind two months ago.

And hey, just to make everything better? Washburn's 31 years old. He wasn't real good a year ago, and he's not going to get any better over the next four seasons. Fasten your seatbelts.