TO THOSE CONCERNED ABOUT GEOFF BAKER’S WHEREABOUTS (KILGORE TROUT, I’M TALKING TO YOU): HE’S SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME IN THE PRESS BOX. AS FAR AS I KNOW, HE WAS THE ONLY REPORTER TO TALK TO ROY HALLADAY TONIGHT, AND HE’S WORKING ON A STORY FOR TOMORROW’S NEWSPAPER.
FYI, I’m hearing that Alcides Escobar, the Brewers’ shortstop prospect, is in the Nashville lineup tonight. And word out of Milwaukee is that there has been considerable internal debate about Washburn, and what it would be worth giving up to get him. This could go down to the wire. And the Brewers are hardly the only team interested in Washburn. The way he’s been pushing, every contender will be kicking the Mariners’ tires.
Jarrod Washburn , the focus of swirling rumors of a pending trade to the Brewers, talked to a crowd of reporters for a long time before the game, as teammates look on with equal measure of amusement and bemusement. At one point, Mike Sweeney stuck his head in and said, “Are you still my teammate?” And later, Adrian Beltre walked by and said, “Wash, where you going?” Washburn replied, “Nowhere.”
Washburn, of course, was in play last year at the trade deadline as well, and nearly was dealt to both the Yankees and Twins.
“I guess my feelings are a little different,” he said, “Last year, I was hoping something would get done. This year I am just waiting to see. If it does, it does. If it doesn’t, I am happy either way.
“The first one (last year) had me going to the Yankees, and that didn’t work out. I was a little disappointed, but I was able to convince myself that I probably wouldn’t fit in that well in New York, anyway. That was OK. But when it was the Twins, that one stuck with me a little more. It would have been in my backyard and I was thinking how good that would have been.”
I asked him if he has a gut feeling whether or not he’s going to be traded.
“There is no such thing as ‘gut feeling’ in this game,” he said. “When you get a gut feeling, just the opposite happens.”
Washburn had let it be known he is open to a contract extension to stay in Seattle, but he indicated there’s not much progress on that front.
“I have talked them about it back and forth, but nothing beyond, ‘Are you interested in it?”’
Another intriguing possibility is that Washburn is indeed traded, but still comes back and signs with the Mariners next year as a free agent.
“That’s a long ways away,” he said. “If I got to that point to where I was a free agent at the end of the season, I am sure I would have to weigh all my options. Not that I wouldn’t be willing to come back, but I’d have to see what other options are open. I’d have to discuss it with my family.”
Asked his top priority, he said, “Winning is always the top priority. That’s above everything else. That’s the reason you play the game. I want an opportunity to win a ring again. Other than that, my family has always wanted me to play close to home (he lives in Webster, Wisconsin). That being said, my family loves it here in Seattle, too. We’ll see what happens.”
Does he expect something to happen in the next few hours?
“I don’t have a feeling one way or the other. As of right now, I am preparing to pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow for the Seattle Mariners. That’s all that I can control, and unless I’m told otherwise, that’s what I am going to plan for.”
On communication with the Mariners on his situation: “Nothing in the last few days. I have talked to Jack (Zduriencik) off and on for the past three weeks or so, but no specifics…Just, ‘Would you be interested if something could get done?’, something like that. No specifics, nothing in depth. It’s just a waiting game now.”
On how his family is handling the rumors: “I don’t think the kids really understand what’s going on, but my wife does. She is taking it pretty good. She made me cook fish today. She said I might not be around to cook it later, and fish is my specialty. But other than that, she has been around a long time, too, so she knows the ups and downs and all the rumors and that stuff.
“My dad called me and said, “Did you get traded to the Brewers? And I said, “Dad, don’t you think I would have called you if something had happened,’ and followed up with, ‘Don’t you remember what happened last year? All the times I supposedly got traded and nothing happened.’ You get a lot of calls and text messages from people wondering what’s going on and what do I hear. I tell them all the same tthing…you hear as much as I do and I will let you know if something happens.”
And once again comparing last year’s trade deadline to this year, he said, “It was different last year because we were definitely out of contention. This year, I don’t think the season is over with here. We had a tough weekend but it’s not over. I wouldn’t be disappointed to stay a Seattle Mariner. I would be happy to be a part of this group of guys, forget about last weekend and return to playing to good baseball like we did before those three games.”