clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Matthew on Washburn's Tenure

The Professor heads to Detroit to teach them a lesson in ERA regression and in return, we get back a comparable version of Washburn who is 23 and team controlled for six years and an intriguing low minors arm. It is a easy win for us, but this thread is to talk about Washburn's stay in Seattle, not the trade.

When Washburn was signed, it was not happy times. A few quotes

Jarrod Washburn: His ratios are going south, he's past his peak, and he's recently been fighting some injury problems. Stands a pretty good chance of adding 100 points to his ERA.


Back in 2001 or 2002, he was an interesting pitcher, capable of touching the mid-90s and missing a few bats, but that guy is history, replaced by someone who's put up similar peripherals for three consecutive mediocre seasons and taken advantage of a lot of good fortune in posting a misleadingly low ERA in his contract year. On top of that, he's 31 years old, and hasn't exactly been the picture of perfect health.
Four years at nearly eight figures a pop. Even if Washburn remains moderately effective for a few seasons before burning out, this is practically an instant albatross. You shouldn't need too many guesses to figure out what'll be #1 on the next Mariner GM's to-do list.


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.


You get the idea. Few of us were optimistic that Washburn would be able to provide much value above that of a mid-rotation starter. It turns out that we might have even been too friendly in that regards. Washburn's FIPs with the Mariners: 4.78, 4.77, 4.72 and 3.75 this season.

That 2009 figure looks nifty, but it comes with a low home run rate. Washburn's xFIPs with the Mariners: 5.35, 5.30, 5.15, 4.65. Those are not pretty.

tRA saw the same disturbing trend with his tRAs rising each year, 5.27, 5.42 and 5.72 (tRA*s of 5.35, 5.46, 5.51) his first three years with us. Alarming would be an understatement as to how he projected for 2009. Now, Washburn did get legitimately better this season, that is of no doubt. In fact, he is running the best strikeout-to-walk ratio of his entire career. It is just that he did not get very much better and even better, he was still below average. His tRA is 5.00, his tRA* is 5.34

On the other hand, If you go by FIP, you would end up with FanGraphs' value of Washburn of $32.2M returned to the Mariners, for which we paid him about $34.2M in salary. A severe rise in free agent contracts post-winter, 2005 helped pushed this deal to roughly even, by FIP. Of course, tRA is nowhere near as happy with Jarrod as FIP is, given Washburn's crummy batted ball profile. tRA actually had Wash worth almost exactly half as many wins over his 3+ seasons here as FIP does, cutting his value return to just $16.3M, a clear loss for the Mariners, and much more in line with our initial thoughts.

At best, you can say that Washburn ended up only being a slight negative value on the field during his tenure. We also got some decent deadpanned quotes as well, which are probably worth something too. And as much as I hated his contract, I never really found myself hating Washburn the player. Yeah, he sucked at times, but I never expected more out of him and at least he had this knack for making his starts go by quickly and without notice.

I will not miss you, Jarrod, and it could be hilarious to watch you sign another stupid contract this winter, but thanks for 2009. Both on field and with how you leave us, it makes me want to feel like the previous three years were all worth it.

Programming note: Whoever takes Washburn's slot in the rotation on Sunday will also be lined up to start on Saturday at home against Tampa Bay during the USSM/LL meet up.

And now we get to look forward to going from this

to this