Friday, July 31, 2009

Washburn Deal Solid, But Not Without Risk

Jarrod Washburn fits what the Tigers need to complete their rotation. I think it was an excellent trade general manager Dave Dombrowski had to make.
Washburn will be the Tigers’ third starter, but I look at the deal from this standpoint: It was like trading Luke French’s left-handed spot for Washburn. That’s a huge upgrade for the stretch run.
French, who has limited "stuff," did surprisingly well in his stint with the Tigers, but the wheels were about to come off. The addition of Washburn does help the Tigers take away pressure from rookie Rick Porcello, both in the number of innings he needs to pitch, and also on him to perform as the No. 3 starter. Now he’s either No. 4 or No. 5 - depending on how you look at it. It should help Porcello develop more ideally. People who are writing off Porcello the rest of the season are, in my opinion, wrong. He will pitch well for the Tigers. Washburn will take pressure off the Tigers bullpen. French was not lasting deep into starts. Washburn should be able to eat up more innings per start.
French is not the prospect that could come back and haunt the Tigers on this deal, which figures to be a two-month rental - unless they go deep into the playoffs and Washburn and organization decide they want each other. This was a breakout year for Manricio Robles. He filled out and has been throwing harder. He wasn’t among the Tigers top 30 prospects according to Baseball America entering the season, but likely would have been in the Top 15 - maybe even Top 10 - following the season.
While I like the deal, it should be noted Washburn’s recent past before this season, and postseason history, are not good.
He was 23-43 in the three seasons before this one - with an ERA in the mid 4's. His postseason record: 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA.



Blogger Larry Baker said...

I basically, agree with your take, Book. I think having another vet in the rotation for the stretch is huge. Even if he does not continue to produce his sterling numbers for the rest of the way, he should give the Tigers several more quality innings than we could reasonable expect from French. Of course, trading Robles could come back to haunt, but I respect the organization for committing the team to the hunt right now. It's no fun cheering for a team that's perpetually "rebuilding". I would go so far as to say that even those folks ranking the Alexander/Smoltz deal as an all-time stinker forget how thrilling it was that season when Doyle Alexander joined the rotation and fed our World Series hopes. In pro sports I think you better go for it when you can, especially with something as unpredictable as pitching.

4:28 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Washburn is an innings eater who gives his team a better than 50-50 shot at winning when he starts plus he is entering that "crafty lefthander" stage of his career. Think Tanana, Rogers, Moyer as they got older. If he doesn't want big money maybe the Tigs should resign him for next year. If they can get rid of Robertson, Willis and Ordonez's contracts.

I think highly of Dave D. he is a solid GM, the Tigers are much better since he took over. 2008 was an aberration.


4:39 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, its thumbs up for Washburn deal. He has better and more reliable stuff than French. A good lefty will help in the playoff against a dominant left hitting line-up. Getting Washburn, as you stated, also take innings away from Porcello for him to rest. The exciting part is all five starters can throw a gem. You hate trading a 20 year old lefty that throws hard but if Washburn walks, Tigers will get a good draft out of it that can replace Rables. I do think both Soxes team stole the show by getting the Big V and Peavy. Why didn’t DD go after Victor M because we do have some prospects not name Perry or Porcello or Crosby. The Big V would would have been a great addition to the line-up. Best of all J.P is left holding the Halladay’s bag

5:50 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat, I like this deal too, despite it's not what I wanted (no not Halliday) - I sort of got taken with the Adam Dunn talk. But I do like the idea of Washburn - but we should thank French for pitching above his level for us while he was here.

I never heard of Manricio Robles before today - so now is not the time to tell me he is going to be real good.

It's a nice rotation now.

To those who Halliday was the answer - all I can say is Halliday wasn't a lock to win every game he started with us - nor is Washburn. But I would like to track both Hallidays win loss and Washburn's and compare them at the end. I bet they are damned close. In that respect those Halliday-lovin fans should be happy - this sounds like the next best thing - fo a lot lot less pain.

But how do we wake up those lathargic bats?

6:32 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

Nice trade. I was thinking we needed a bat more than another starter, but this does certainly strengthen us. And more than anything it gives the Tigers insurance.

Imagine how screwed the Tigers would've been had Verlander, Jackson, or Porcello either been injured or went into a prolonged slump. Even without a trade I think we'd have had a good shot to make the playoffs as long as we stayed healthy, but one injury to Verlander or Jackson would've killed our chances.

Now we have someone that could potentially replace one of those guys should disaster strike, and if not it greatly strengthens the bottom of the rotation.

By the way, how scary is it that the Red Sox added Victor Martinez? Yikes ... they're the only AL team that I don't think the Tigers would have a chance against in the playoffs.

7:27 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Larry Baker,
Talked to a couple scouts about Robles. They say he is coming on quickly. White Sox gave up a left-hander who sometimes hits 100 mph in the Peavy trade (Poreda). A lot of power arms in those deals.

11:55 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I agree it was a good trade - and he'll pitch long before Peavy does for the White Sox. Washburn, however, isn't always as good as he has been this season. This has been his best season in some ways - and he hasn't been good in the postseason.

11:57 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

The one guy the Red Sox gave up in that trade, Hagadone, is a big time prospect with a big, power arm (high 90s). Tigers can't afford to give up pitching like the Red Sox can. In a bidding war, Boston always tops the Tigers. Just the depth of their talent. Period.

11:59 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Robles has a chance. You're right. Under the radar coming into this year, but was emerging. Far high ceiling as a player than French, who is considered a marginal prospect.

12:01 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
You're right about the Red Sox. They have separated themselves as clearly the class of the American League.

12:02 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

You know what book.. You talked today (Saturday) on your show about how Tiger fans are so disgruntled even though the Tigers are in First. Me I am a die hard. I go to a ton of games.. I will say I am pissed mostly about the lack of adjustments. I wanted to see a bat yes. Though if we got a bat it wouldn't mean a darn thing if the guys we have don't start doing anything.

Getting a bat isn't going to make Granderson stop going for the long ball and start aiming for the gaps. Its not going to make Cabrera all of a sudden effective with men in scoring position. Its not going to make Thames and INge swing at balls that are actually in the strike zone as oppose to above their helmets.

Bottom line is those guys are the ones that need to step up and step up now... They just haven't. some of these offensive performances have been pathetic. They are making every day turds look like absolute Cy Youngs when they face us. So that is why I am pissed.. I am pissed cause I want to see this team make a dent in the playoffs.. Even if they didn't win. JUst play like they are capable and man this team don't need a bat... Getting washburn was a nice move. but man won't make no difference if everyone else don't start stepping up. Eventually it is going to wear on these starters...

Know whta I am saying book? I just think Tiger fans are pointing there anger at the wrong things. Its not just Maglio that isn't performing up to par.

8:05 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Maddog52 just said everything exactly right.

That was pefect MD. I can only add on (if you don't mind) by adding the following...

The ONLY thing holding this team still in first in the AL Central is the way the schedule laid out. With the White Sox playing the Yanks and Minnesota playing the Angels the Tigers should have picked up a game or two on them both.

Another opportunity p*ssed away.

The Tigers will not be in first place all season - mark my words on that - at some time we will lose our grip and slip to second or third. There will be all kinds of opportunity at the end of this season to catch up and win this division - but this opportunity just sailed by like a liner passing a desert island and the castaways trying to build a lighthouse instead of a bonfire to get the job done.

Mr. Leyland - Skip - get these guys heads in the right place soon, or we will slip away in August just like like 2006 and 2007.

Great comment MD ... great comment.

6:26 PM 

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