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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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July 27, 2008 8:53 AM

Washburn still pitching today

Posted by Geoff Baker

tor0727 013.jpg

The picture above is of today's starting center fielder for the Mariners. Nope, it's not Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner. It's Jeremy Reed. Willie Bloomquist is the backup. And yes, Jarrod Washburn is still the slated starting pitcher.

Last I saw Washburn, he was sleeping on a couch in the visiting team's clubhouse here. There's little chance something would happen at the last minute. Remember, he has to sign-off on any deal. Once he's in the bullpen warming up, he can't take any calls. So, if you're hoping that a deal with the Yankees will be completed, just pray he doesn't get run over while taking a throw at home plate or something. Nah, something like that could never happen, right?

Anyhow, Mariners manager Jim Riggleman says he spoke to GM Lee Pelekoudas and was told there's nothing imminent. Riggleman added that he'd expect to be informed anywhere from 48 hours to 2 hours in advance of a deal -- not that a deal was going to be finalized, just a "heads up'' to be prepared -- in order to get his pitching lined up.

"No question,'' he said. "Lee would have talked to me about it.''

Well, we're within that two-hour window and he says he's heard nothing.

"I think, at this point, there's nothing that's going to happen (today),'' he said. "If something happens in the next five days, it's going to happen. But I just don't see it (today).''

Some of you have written in via email to ask why we haven't updated since yesterday's post-game. As we said during the Erik Bedard fiasco last winter, we're trying not to get carried away with all the rumors.

Here's what we know:

-- The Yankees and Mariners are talking

-- New York was apparently reluctant to assume all of Washburn's $13.5 million in owed salary, while the M's want the Yanks to eat all of it

-- At one point, New York proposed that Seattle take Class AAA pitcher Kei Igawa, owed $4 million in each of the next three years, to offset that Washburn salary cost

-- Seattle would want value if this wasn't a total salary dump. At this point is where the names of players like Cabrera, Gardner and Jose Vidro start getting tossed around. In other words, the M's get some value back in terms of an outfielder who can contribute to their squad at a low cost. The Vidro equation would see some more money taken off Seattle's hands and potentially give the Yankees a useful switch-hitter.

So, maybe the deal is simply a salary dump and nothing more. Or perhaps it expands to those other parameters I've just mentioned. But there is no deal in place. If there was, Washburn would not be preparing to take the mound.

Closest I've ever seen a player get to playing before a deal was struck? Without actually playing?

In 2002, Raul Mondesi was standing in the on-deck circle in the first inning of a game at Fenway Park. Before he could step to the plate, he walked back to the dugout and a new player came out. Mondesi had been traded to the Yankees (by Toronto) in exchange for a breathing body in a total salary dump. That body never panned out.

Needless to say, it was a long night of writing on a tight deadline. But with a pitcher, things are different. You can replace an outfielder at the last minute. Replacing a starting pitcher like that really messes a team up. So, I think this will carry over past this game.

Things to watch for?

Washburn's health, obviously. No collisions. No little arm twinges. His performance, too. If he gives up eight runs in the first three innings, the New York tabloids will have a field day. Also, let's see how he overcomes this distraction. It is a major one, no doubt.

tor0727 023.jpg

Gee, that Bryan LaHair doesn't mess around with the riff-raff in his fraternization with the enemy. Goes straight to the top. A look at LaHair, posing for a photo minutes ago with Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi. Both men hail from Worcester, Mass.

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Posted by Downonstrikes

9:19 AM, Jul 27, 2008

The deadline approaches. We have nothing to give and will get nothing with this FO in charge. Do you really think that trading Washburn is the answer to our prayers? I don't think so, Geoff. Whoever we get for him will be on his level of quality. No improvement.

Bavasi has left us bankrupt. No future and no present. Whatever happens, we lose.

Let's purge the rotten apples and go on towards a great 2015! Send these fellows packing: Vidro, Cairo, Washburn, Batista, Niehaus, Dave Valle, Kenji, and most of all, Bedard.

Bring on the youth! Too bad we don't have any quality players in the system.

Dismal indeed.

Posted by scottM

9:30 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Washburn will pitch great today. After all, he's showcasing himself, not trying to win games for the M's when they really counted. In those cases he tanked. My Oh My, how well Jarrod has played in the last month. Good riddance Washburn. It's all about you, buddy.

Posted by Chuck

9:34 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Lets hope he pitchs well and we stay away from the marginal pitcher and pick up both minor league outfielders.

Posted by Ragarm

9:35 AM, Jul 27, 2008

How did we get to this dire stage? It is logical to begin making changes high up in the organization to correct our current calamitous situation. Why begin by dealing low level players when the real change needs to occur from CEO down first.

Whatever we receive for a crappy player will be crappy. We aren't going to get a star for a ragarm pitcher, or a DH who can't hit, or a catcher who can't communicate with his pitchers. Or a Bedard who is a cancer.

The deadline looms and this team has no playing chips.

I agree with others that the broadcast team sucks, the front office sucks, and the players suck. Not to forget out loser manager.

Seattlites demanded mediocrity in their team and we got something less.

Good luck writing about this team, Geoff. Good luck fans, you have nothing and will have nothing for years to come.

Posted by Ragarm

9:37 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Geoff, fix your flawed Captcha software. It works as well as the Mariners play baseball.

Posted by Captcha

9:43 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Nobody's fixing me!

Posted by Chris from Bothell

9:43 AM, Jul 27, 2008

scottM beat me to it, on all counts.

Posted by Ragarm

9:48 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Captcha, sorry I offended you. Stay the way you are. We all feel comfortable with your little flaws. We will all keep coming back. Especially if you tempt us with rally fries and the collectable Captcha bobblehead.

Posted by Bums

9:58 AM, Jul 27, 2008

Hopefully Wash goes out and pitches a shutout and doesn't just get shelled. Maybe that will make the Yanks want him a bit more.

Posted by blog watcher 33

10:09 AM, Jul 27, 2008

If the M's are willing to walk away from this trade, then they will be the winner. That's something Bavasi could never do...he'd keep adding to what Seattle was giving up or taking away from what they would get until a deal was done.

Here's how the trade should go: Wash for Gardner, no Igawa, minimal cash to NY. If they don't think Wash can help them get to October, then why are they trying to trade for him?

Ragarm: The M's got to this place with several years of bad drafts, horrible trades and just bad luck (like Ryan Anderson). They must develop a plan for contention (I think 2012 is as early as it can get), and make moves designed to help the team at that point. Raul, Beltre, Wash and Putz should be used to bring back players who could be in the majors by the end of 2010, at least.

Those players would be added to the list of possibilities like Halman, Saunders, Peguero, Balentien, Tuiasosopo, Truinfel, Clement, Moore, Morrow, Felix, Aumont, etc. Now, not all of those guys will make it to 2012 because of free agency or they just don't make it. That's why you get as much talent as you can. At the very least, it gives a club trade chips to be used to fill in holes.

Posted by Mark WS

10:23 AM, Jul 27, 2008

JP and others have had a very positive influence on Central Mass. players, of which there are many in the ML. Jake and Ted would be very proud too. JP is very happy to see another local player make it. And Softy, its "Wust-tah"! Not "Wor-chest-er". Did you not see Perfect Storm and Gloss-ter, not Glos-sest-er. lol

Posted by Scotty

10:25 AM, Jul 27, 2008

I bet Washburn will pitch well. Afterall this is his audition to prime time. He gets to go to a contender.
It would be like one day you are driving a 71' Ford Pinto then boom! the next day you're cruisin in a Ferrari.

Posted by Capo

10:54 AM, Jul 27, 2008

the root of the problem is Pelekoudas having the temp tag associated with his GM title. Other GMs know his hands are tied, and that they can play the M's want to clear salary as well as improve the team.

The Mariners have completely screwed this situation, like most everything else they do by not immediately finding a replacement GM (No, its not that difficult to ask teams for permission to talk to people), or by saying they are going to finish out the season without making any deals.

Washburn for Igawa does nothing to make the M's better, I'd honestly rather let Washburn finish the season in our rotation, hoping he continues to pitch decently, than to take on 3 years of another bad contract in Igawa.

Posted by J

11:54 AM, Jul 27, 2008

When Jose Cruz Jr. got traded, it was the same as the Mondesi situation that Baker described. He was on deck and got called back as he got traded to Toronto for Spoljaric and Timlin.

Posted by Katlyn Reilly

8:51 PM, Jul 27, 2008

J.P. was LaHair's coach in high school,

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