Game 109, Orioles at Mariners
Garrett Olson v Jarrod Washburn.
Baker made a good argument about the Mariner-Yankee trade negotiations in his recent coverage: it’s that the M’s, if all it was going to be was a salary dump, had no incentive to make the deal then. They could just as easily salary dump the Bus through waivers by putting Washburn on waivers and letting anyone who claimed him take the contract (at which point they dust their hands off and congratulate themselves on a job well done). And maybe that’s the Yankees… but maybe it isn’t. Buuttt probably it is.
If I understand my Major League Rule 10 correctly, if there’s only one waiver claim, it goes to that team. If there’s two in the same league, lower record. If everyone claims, it’s the same league, worst record.
And there’s the crazy part: who in the AL holds a worse record than the Yankees and wants to take on that salary? It could well be that the Yankees demanded they give up nothing because they figured that if the M’s waived Washburn because they wanted to rid themselves of the contract, he’d wash up on their beach.
That’s a crazy rule, by the way. There are a bunch of teams in the NL contending with worse records and who could also afford Jarrod.
The downside, though, is that Washburn’s value right now exists as a precarious balance, where the massive cost of his remaining year-and-something looks worth taking on based on superficially good results lately — but there’s enough reluctance that teams wouldn’t give up premium prospects, or the M’s would have moved him. But the M’s need to move him for next year, and he’s just not that good.
What happens if Washburn’s starts give Washburn results, and his value plunges? The team may have to pay part of his deal to move him. But if he continues to pitch well, how much does his value go up? Each start risks the chance to rid the team of his 2009 salary.