MINNEAPOLIS -- When left-hander Jarrod Washburn first heard that the Twins had claimed him off waivers, the news included a caveat: the teams could not work out a deal, so he's staying in Seattle. "I had mixed emotions," he said on Friday. "I was happy and upset at the same time." If the Mariners and Twins had found a match and consummated a trade, it would have been the best of both worlds for Washburn. He would have been instantly involved in a pennant race and also been playing for a team close to home.
Washburn grew up in Wisconsin and lives in Danbury, Wis., which is less than a two-hour drive from the Twin Cities, and the Twins are battling the White Sox for first place in the American League Central. Chicago had a one-game lead going into Friday night's action. "It would have been ideal," he said. "It would have been perfect." Washburn said that he didn't know how close he came to being traded, but figured he probably would remain with the Mariners for the remainder of the season. But 2009, the final year of the four-year, $37.5 contract he signed prior to the 2006 season, is uncertain. "I don't know about next year. A lot can happen in the offseason," he said. "It probably will have a lot to do with what they decide to do with the general manager position." Former GM Bill Bavasi, who signed Washburn to the $37.5 million contract, was dismissed in June and Lee Pelekoudas is filling in on an interim basis. Club president Chuck Armstrong currently is putting together a list of candidates. Exactly what occurred in trade talks between the Mariners and Twins is unknown. "I haven't heard from [Pelekoudas] on what happened," Washburn said. "All I know is rumors, and you never know how accurate those are." Indeed. A report in a Minneapolis newspaper said that the Mariners rejected an offer for right-hander Boof Bonser, but an AL official familiar with the talks said that rumor was inaccurate. This is the second time in the past month that Washburn has been involved in trade rumors. The Yankees pursued him prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline and Washburn said that he had agreed to waive the no-trade clause in his contract. But it never reached that point. When trade talks with the Twins broke off prior to the 1:30 p.m. PT deadline on Thursday, the Mariners withdrew him from revocable waivers. If Seattle puts Washburn on waivers again, which is extremely unlikely, any organization that claims him would get the pitcher and the remainder of the contract. The Mariners would benefit by holding on to Washburn for the remainder of the season and either keep him through 2009 or trade him during the offseason, when waivers are not a factor. Though disappointed that he wasn't "coming home", Washburn said his mindset was to be the best pitcher he can for the Mariners for the remaining six-plus weeks of the season. "My job doesn't change," he said. "I have to go out and give my team a chance to win, no matter who I'm pitching for. I'm disappointed, but if I fall on my face the last six weeks of the season, I won't be in anyone's plans next year -- the Mariners or someone trying to trade for me. "Plus, there is a lot of pride involved."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.