In what is largely perceived as his final start in a Mariners' uniform, Jarrod Washburn threw his longest and best start of the year, logging 8 innings of one-run ball, giving up just four hits and walking two against two strikeouts. His only blemish was a solo homer to John McDonald, the Toronto shortstop's first of the year.
Had Washburn pitched like this all year long--his record moves to a pedestrian 5-9, with a 4.50 ERA--perhaps the Mariners wouldn't be wallowing in last place with a shocking 38-65 record. On the other hand, if he hadn't pitched so well (or, worse, got injured) his trade value might have plummeted.
As it is, Washburn should be headed to the Yanks at some point soon, probably in exchange for salary relief against his absurd Bavasi-esque $9.85M. To put that figure in perspective, Brandon Webb makes $5.5M, Daisuke Matsuzaka (the $50M Man) makes $8.33M, John Lackey makes $7.33M, Jake Peavy $6.5M.
Here's a list of all the starters who make more than ol' Wishy-Washburn:
- Randy Johnson ($15.1M)
- Mike Hampton ($15.975M, courtesy of his monster Rockies deal)
- John Smoltz ($14M)
- Josh Beckett ($10.1M)
- Carlos Zambrano ($16M)
- Mark Buehrle ($14M)
- Javier Vazquez ($11.5M)
- Jose Contreras ($10M)
- CC Sabathia ($11M)
- Jake Westbrook ($10M)
- Roy Oswalt ($13M
- Gil Meche ($11.4M)
- Jon Garland ($12M)
- Jason Schmidt ($15.2M)
- Derek Lowe ($10M)
- Ben Sheets ($10.1M)
- Johan Santana ($16.9M)
- Pedro Martinez ($11.8M)
- Andy Pettitte ($16M)
- Mike Mussina ($11M)
- Carl Pavano ($11M)
- Matt Morris ($10M)
- Greg Maddux ($10M)
- Barry Zito ($14.5M)
- Chris Carpenter ($10.5M)
- Vincente Padilla ($11M)
- Kevin Millwood ($10.3M)
- AJ Burnett ($13.2M)
- Roy Halladay ($10M)
Except for some well-published mistakes (Hampton, Pavano, Schmidt, Morris), look at all the guys making a fraction more than Jarrod, like perennial Cy Young candidate Halladay, top-line starter Josh Beckett, or CC Sabathia.
Nobody makes more than Washburn on the entire roster of Baltimore, Florida, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Washington.
Why does nobody else point to Washburn's contract as a sign of overpaying excess? At least in the case of Hampton, Schmidt and Pavano, those guys had some good years, or even had Matt Morris' longevity. Before being signed by Seattle before the 2006 season, Washburn had only one really good year, 2002, when he went 18-6 with a 3.15, 1.18 WHIP. The years before and after that should have been a sign that this was a fluke year: in 2001, he was 11-10, 3.77 ERA, 1.29 WHIP; in 2003, he was 10-15, 4.43 ERA, 1.25 WHIP. Those are league average numbers.
His control has always been good, but he's not a strikeout guy, and his big boo-boo has been the long ball. For his career, Washburn averages 1.15 HRs per game, and only twice in his career has he given up fewer than 20 in a season--yup, one of those years was the statistical blip that was his 2002 season, and the other was his 2005 season, just before Bavasi broke the bank for him. And both of those years, he gave up 19.
When he first began pitching for the Ms, I was so disgusted with him that I greeted each longball he gave up with a hearty, "Hello-o-o-o Jarrod Washburn!" If I'd watched all his starts, I would have said that 61 times in 83 starts and 480 innings, or 1.14 per 9IP. Exactly as you might have predicted.
Washburn is what he always was: a league average innings-eater with unspectacular numbers. He keeps the ball around the strike zone, which means not many walks, but a lot of longballs. Whenever he leaves the Mariners, wherever he goes, it will be not a moment too soon.
Let's hope that Lee Pelekoudas, the new Mariners GM, takes a lesson from his predecessor and pays league average salary for league average performance. Don't make a move just to make a move--pay what's fair for what you need, and don't break the bank just because the money's there and you need to justify your job.
And perhaps someday someone else will be talking about the salary travesty that was Jarrod Washburn's 4-year, $37M contract.
Keywords: AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Barry Zito, Ben Sheets, Carl Pavano, Carlos Zambrano, CC Sabathia, Chris Carpenter, Derek Lowe, Gil Meche, Greg Maddux, Jake Westbrook, Jarrod Washburn, Jason Schmidt, Javier Vazquez, Johan Santana, John Smoltz, Jon Garland, Jose Contreras, Josh Beckett, Kevin Millwood, Mark Buehrle, Matt Morris, Mike Hampton, Mike Mussina, New York Yankees, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Seattle Mariners, Vincente Padilla