It’s been exactly one week since the Mariners made the no-brainer move to trade Jarrod Washburn, once they were fairly certain they’d fallen out of the playoff race to a reasonable degree. Remember, the whole “let’s re-create 1995” type of thinking is great for fans, but not so much for executives trying to build a baseball team.
We can see from the results so far why the idea of trading Washburn while still realistically in a playoff race would have been controversial.
Let’s first look at the type of results the Mariners traded away in Washburn:
Last six starts with Seattle:
Quality starts of 7+ innings: 4
Quality starts of 6+ innings: 1
Outings of fewer than six innings: 0
And now, let’s take a look at the rest of the team.
Seattle Mariners post-Washburn trade:
Quality starts of 7+ innings: 1
Quality starts of 6-7 innings: 1
Outings of fewer than six innings: 3
Ouch. Yes, we realize it’s only been a six-game sample size. But then again, it’s not like things were all rosy before Washburn left.
And when we say “quality starts” we’re talking at least six innings, three runs or fewer allowed.
In Washburn’s case, all five of his quality starts (one was nine innings, the other 6 2/3 and the rest 7) involved allowing only one run or fewer. His only non quality start was of seven innings, four runs allowed. Since he left, only Felix Hernandez has done something similar, going seven innings with two runs allowed. Ian Snell allowed three runs over six innings.
We can go back beyond July if you’d like. Ten of Washburn’s last 12 starts for the Mariners were of the “quality” variety. Six of those were seven innings or more. The Mariners don’t get those anymore unless Hernandez is on the mound.
So, the Mariners need some pitchers to step up.
I realize the sample size is small, but you also have to remember that it won’t take months to put this bullpen in disarray if starters don’t show some longevity. Another week of this, the Mariners will have serious problems when it comes to finishing the season with a winning record. And while Jason Vargas did go seven last night, the “quality” aspect comes into play there.
And while some of you might sneer at the “quality start” stat, as has happened before when we’ve discussed Washburn, the subject we’re talking about today is the ability of pitchers to go deep into games and deliver quality outings. If you can think of a better way to measure that across the board, throw it out there.
And yes, I’m aware that Washburn had a bad outing in Detroit the other night. But we’re not talking about the Tigers. We’re talking about the Mariners and what they gave up, along with what they have now.
I think it’s safe to say that, in the short term at least, replacing Washburn’s innings and the quality he delivered with them has not been as easy as some thought it might be. Hey, I was all for the trade. Still am, without hesitation. But this isn’t going to be a cakewalk from now through September.