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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 28, 2008 3:55 PM

The heat is on

Posted by Geoff Baker

texas0728 037.jpg

Jarrod Washburn has been heating up of late, but never more than this afternoon as the team goes through pre-game stretching in 102-degree heat here in Arlington. We've all discussed what the Mariners could do, chooseing to wait until after the July 31 deadline if the Washburn deal is going to be strictly a salary dump to the New York Yankees. But I don't want to present just that one perspective. Obviously, as I mentioned earlier, this is a calculated risk.

On his ESPN blog, Buster Olney feels the M's would be crazy to pass up this chance to shed Washburn's salary right now. Olney has a point. Just two months ago, this proposal from the Yanks would have seemed like an early Christmas gift. There is always a danger in these types of negotiations that a team will overplay its hand.

I can tell you, from being around the Mariners these past 24 hours, that the word is being put out that the team will not give players away for just money. It's not a fluke. The team wants that message out there. From what I've read in the New York papers today, the storyline there seems to be that a deal is on the verge of falling through because the M's won't give in to the Yankee offer. Sounds like that team is pushing its position pretty hard through the press.

Is this a dead deal?

Not a chance. The Yankees need pitching and Washburn -- no matter what you think of him -- is one of the better arms out there. So no, as long as that need exists, the deal isn't dead. It's at a stalemate. Like I said, one side is waiting for the other to blink. We'll see who does it first. If no one blinks, the M's had better be ready to keep Washburn for a while.

A different look to the lineup today as Jose Vidro is out and Jose Lopez is in at the No. 5 spot. Jeremy Reed moves up to the No. 2 position. Vidro did hit a home run yesterday. But there has been zero interest in him on the trade front.

Hank Blalock has been scratched for the Rangers. He has an upset stomach. A break for Felix Hernandez. He'll need it. Going to be hard-pressed to go seven in this heat.

Speaking of home run hitters, I caught the final moments of Josh Hamilton's pre-game batting practice session on video down below. Hope you enjoy.

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Carlos Silva, above, is still slated to go tomorrow. His back is apparently doing OK after the long flight here. Don't believe me? Have a look below.

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Posted by cesame

4:15 PM, Jul 28, 2008

"I can tell you, from being around the Mariners these past 24 hours, that the word is being put out that the team will not give players away for just money. It's not a fluke."


Only the Mariners. Dumping Washurn's salary is a win no matter who comes back, unless the M's feel like paying $10mil to a replacement level pitcher during a rebuilding stage.

This team just does not make sense. The M's should be thankful someone is willing to eat all of Jarrod's contract. Instead they rather f that deal up.

I'm tired of this.

Posted by JuneauTom

4:17 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Sorry, I copied this from the end of the last blog.

It looks to me that the Florida Marlins should be dealing with the M's instead of the Yankee's. The Marlins need a catcher, a left handed reliever, and a starting pitcher. Looks like the M's could shed a lot of salary and the Marlins always seem to have good prospects.

Tip for Silva's back. Diet and exercise!

Posted by Sam

4:20 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Has anyone considered the dynamics that may be going on between Cashman and Pelekoudas? Cashman has been rumored as a possible fit as the next M's GM. Pelekoudas wants to show that he's a solid GM for either the M's or future positions. Why haven't I heard about their egos as they might play into a) these negotiations and b) their future pursuit over the M's GM spot?

Posted by Mike

4:25 PM, Jul 28, 2008

What? After his recent power surge no other MLB team wants Jose Vidro??? I'm shocked. Next you'll tell me there is no market for Miguel Batista, Kenji Johjima and Carlos Silva. We've got $69M invested in these guys. How can no other team see how valuable they are?

Posted by Menelaus

4:25 PM, Jul 28, 2008

What is the logic for not trading Washburn if it isn't just a negotiating tactic? Why don't they just settle for dumping the salary if only because they can and they have enough options (RRS, Morrow) to go to the rotation and take his place next year? Are they under the grand delusion that they will be contending with the mess Bavasi left behind?

Posted by ken

4:26 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Signings like Silva last winter upped the going rate for back of the rotation free agent guys to $10 - $12m/year with three years guaranteed. Wash's $10m contract which expires in 2009 seems like a bargain under these circumstances - remember the M's were held up by Boras for $8m to pay for Weaver last season. Rather than give up Washburn to NYY for nothing, I think it would be prudent to just hold on to him as the way he has been pitching the past few months, he is a solid #3 guy. Now if you can package him with Silva or Joh or Batista, now you can talk about giving him away for nothing and nobody who follows the M's would be upset.

Posted by cesame

4:40 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Trading Washburn would be huge because that would mean the M's would cut $37mil of their payroll for next year with Richie,Vidro and then Washurn's contract coming off the books. That puts the team payroll down to about $80mil and that would be a good start in rebuilding this thing. It gives the new GM much more flexibility to do what he wants to do. The M's should be cleaning house in advance for the new GM, just to get things under way.

Do the M's not see this? What are they thinking? No, literally, what are they thinking? Do they think they will be contending soon with this group?


Posted by khardy

4:44 PM, Jul 28, 2008

After witnessing Bavasi get played like a fool by other GMs, I kinda like seeing the Mariners play hardball (wow amazing pun!).

Lee's is in a good position right now- if he comes away with a salary dump AND a player he'll get kudos, and if all he does is dump salary everyone will still pat him on the back (metaphorically) and say "good job!"

Bavasi probably would have traded Washburn for that Richie Sexson guy straight up. He can mash.

Posted by Mike

4:46 PM, Jul 28, 2008

ken-Not really. Silva was an outlier and Bavasi was largely bidding against himself. I think the Royals may have offered 3 years $30M but, hey, they are a bad franchise too.

Last offseason some suggested that signing Silva to a $48M deal was foolish when a pitcher with equivalent peripheral stats (Kyle Lohse) wasn't getting much interest. Lohse eventually signed with the Cards for one year at $4.5M. That's where the real market was and I daresay that the Ms wish they had done that instead.

Looking at Silva's Fielding Independent Pitching, he's doing exactly what he's done before, just getting really bad results. I'm sure our lousy D is a factor here, especially since his BABIP is up significantly.

Posted by khardy

4:47 PM, Jul 28, 2008

cesame -

Why so serious?

Washburn will be gone, this is just brinkmanship.

Posted by Aaron

4:50 PM, Jul 28, 2008


Posted by Sodo Mojo

4:52 PM, Jul 28, 2008

It's a calculated risk, but play hardball with the Yankees. If it all falls through, then we keep Washburn. If he continues how he has pitched the last two months, somebody will take him for $10 million during the off season if you still want to salary dump, but more likely we will get something in return because of his success. Don't give him away just to dump salary.

Posted by caineman

4:53 PM, Jul 28, 2008

who cares about the money...
we want good young players...
screw the yankees...

Posted by Nick in pdx

4:56 PM, Jul 28, 2008

"Washburn -- no matter what you think of him -- is one of the better arms out there"

Who's the "you" in that sentence? Anybody who's not a beat writer?

Posted by Ragarm

5:16 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Apathy strikes

Posted by downonstrikes

5:20 PM, Jul 28, 2008

At this point I just don't care what the M's FO does. We are going to lose by whatever deal happens.

Wonder if Carlos popped a seam in the rear of his pants doing this bent knee spread legged almost touch of the toes. Probably just farted.

The next few years are a bust and I'm watching interleague games at the city park instead of these jokes.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

5:25 PM, Jul 28, 2008

I predict that if Washburn is not dealt to the Yankees on the 31st, he's suddenly going to "lose his feel for the splitter" and not be as effective. And when it looks like he won't get picked up on waivers by them, that he'll outright tank, and go back to early season form. Maybe even find a way to blame Johjima for that too.

Washburn is only pitching lights-out because he wants out of Seattle. If he were half as valuable as the trade market thinks he is, he would have pitched this well in April and May.

Posted by Capo

5:30 PM, Jul 28, 2008

OMG!!!! Carlos can almost touch his toes!!!! Or is he bending over to pick up a piece of candy or a sunflower seed to eat?

Posted by Capo

5:32 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Oh, BTW, the NY press is completely out of touch with reality....Aside from the joke that is the NY Times, the sports media in that town is a tool/extension of the sports franchises. Its bad enough that ESPN is basically a Yankee /Red Sox channel, but then you have the YES network and all the print and online media.

Posted by Bill

5:41 PM, Jul 28, 2008

I agree. Play hardball. The Yankees need Washburn more than the M's need to dump salary. If the Yanks don't ultimately cave and give the M's a player in return then I hope the Sox and Rays beat them out for the playoffs anyway.

Posted by tradebeltre

6:47 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Geoff I'm glad to see you respond to some of the flak the Mariners have been getting in the media circuit, particularly Olney's blog repeatedly say that we would be crazy not to trade Washburn for money.

I don't understand how that would help the team, giving away a player with no prospects in return.

What, are we going to use the money we saved on Washburn to bring in Teixeira? A left handed power DH in Dunn? Pigs will fly before any of the Class A free agents--Sabathia, Sheets, the two hitters mentioned, etc.--sign with the Mariners.

So unless we get prospects for Washburn, it's a complete waste.

Posted by Brad

9:17 AM, Jul 29, 2008

The Mariners need to improve their roster. Not dump salary. Why trade Washburn and get very little talent in return. It doesn't make sense. Keep him. Maybe he has finally figured out how to throw that change up. If so, he could be just as effective next year or this winter if his success continues. wins are not what teams are looking at. If he continues his trend of quality starts he has value for any team needing pitching.

Posted by Brad

9:26 AM, Jul 29, 2008

Cesame... It is not about a slaray dump. This team does not attract a lot of high quality free agents and the ones we get we have to overpay for. Which means guys like you qill continue to complain. The M's need talented prospects who are ready or near ready for the big leagues. Seattle rates more like a small market team to free agents because it is so far from where most players live and the in season travel is so rigorous. We need to take the approach Minnesota and Oakland have taken. We need to spend a lot more money on scouting and player development. Once you start selling off players just to dump salary you go back to the cycle that prevented this team from having a winning season for 15 years.

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