The Tigers bolstered their rotation today by acquiring Jarrod Washburn from the Mariners. The Tigers give up Luke French and Mauricio Robles.
I’ll have more on this later (I’m at the zoo with the family and I want to keep Mrs Billfer happy) but I love this move for the Tigers (and the Mariners). I like Robles a lot but a good prospect isn’t a bad price to pay to upgrade a spot in the rotation.
If memory serves Washburn is a type B meaning the Tigers should net a draft pick as well.
UPDATE: This stuff is new since the initial “walking through the zoo updating the site” post.
Washburn sports a very sexy 2.64 ERA. It’s likely an unsustainable ERA due to a low strike out rate. But his FIP is still a very solid 3.75. This is a run below where Washburn has been since the 2002 season (when his numbers were very much like they are this year.
A couple things are working in Washburn’s favor. He has added a new pitch and he’s had tremendous outfield defense behind him. In Detroit he should be able to bring his new pitch, but the outfield defense won’t be as good. Granderson and Thomas are no reason to worry, but Ordonez/Thames/Raburn wouldn’t play in the Mariners outfield.
French’s FIP is nearly identical and is 3.87. French was a fringe prospect until he was pushed to AAA this year and saw his strikeout rate jump and his walk rate drop and he elevated his prospect status. A favorable debut at the MLB level is certainly encouraging.
So here we have 2 pitchers who are both pitching much better than anyone expected going into the season, and their numbers are similar now. The Tigers are banking that Washburn is a better bet to sustain his success throughout the season than French is. It’s not a bad bet.
Of course if French performs as well or better than Washburn (as some expect) we’ll look back at this trade with disgust because then the Tigers will have parted with a lefty 20 year old fanning better than a batter an inning at high A ball. Because Robles is the cost of “upgrading” to whatever level of performance that Washburn will bring over French.