Bill Madden of the New York Daily News has an interesting item in his trade deadline “winners and losers” column today.
Privately, the Yankees were astounded at the seemingly underwhelming return Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik got for Jarrod Washburn (second-tier pitching prospects Luke French and Mauricio Robles) – especially after he’d pulled off such a coup earlier in the week by fetching shortstop Jack Wilson and former 14-game winner Ian Snell out of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ firesale for light-hitting shortstop Ronny Cedeno, defensively challenged catcher/first base prospect Jeff Clement and three low-level pitching prospects. The Yankees thought they could have given Seattle a better package for Washburn, who’s a free agent after the season, but Zduriencik kept asking for top-tier prospects such as outfielder Austin Jackson.
This doesn’t jibe with the generally positive reviews Zduriencik has gotten for this trade. But Bill Madden has been covering the New York baseball scene for more than 25 years — he’s a finalist for the next Spink Award, the sportswriting equivalent of the Frick Award that Dave Niehaus received at Cooperstown in 2008 — and is extremely well-connected on Yankee matters.
We’ll never know exactly what other offers Zduriencik had for Washburn, but it’s hard to argue with his eye for talent. The dispute here, it seems to me, is whether Robles is, indeed, a “second-tier prospect,” or, as the Mariners’ believe, a guy with huge potential.
That remains to be seen. I talked yesterday to someone involved in scouting who labeled French “a dime-a-dozen left-hander for me, nothing special.” Of Robles, he said: “He has a good arm, and will show some 91-94 mph fastballs, but he’s still pretty raw. He’s an interesting arm you want in your inventory, but far from a sure thing.”
I guess we’ll find out, right?