Washburn?

Posted by Steve

Multiple sources have indicated the Brewers will have interest in signing Jarrod Washburn.  The fact that he is from Wisconsin makes it a plausible match, apparently.  This doesn’t excite me at all.

Washburn was decent enough last year, though not as good as his 3.78 ERA suggests.  Granted, it was the best year he’s had in five years, but that’s not exactly saying very much.  He’s been a number 4-5 type starter, and that’s what he’d be with the Brewers.

Washburn is better than Jeff Suppan and Braden Looper, and possibly better than Manny Parra and Dave Bush, but is that really where the Brewers are setting their sites?  Personally I still like Dave Bush more than Washburn, and I’ll still take whatever’s left of Parra’s upside, though I admit both of those statements are debatable.

Washburn’s ERA was 3.78 last year, but that doesn’t tell the true story.  His k/bb was 2.04, which is solid-average but nothing more.  His highest mark in the four years previous was 1.87.  His batting average on balls in play was .257–well below league average and by far the lowest mark of his career.  That indicates he had good luck.  His FIP of 4.58 is more indicative of his true performance.  Sure, you could expect a few ticks off that in a switch to the NL, but hoping for anything better than an FIP of 4.3 is probably unrealistic.

If the Brewers can get him on a one year deal similar to the one they gave Braden Looper for 2009, fine.  It will probably take more money or more years than that, in which case I’m not interested.  The Brewers can trade for A) A pitcher of similar effectiveness who will cost much less, or B) A pitcher of similar salary who will pitch better.

If the best pitcher the Brewers add this off-season is Jarrod Washburn, they won’t be going anywhere next year anyway.  They need to find a way to get quality starting pitching.  It certainly won’t be easy.

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