History Doomed to Repeat?

Kansas City Royals vs Detroit Tigers.

Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman has a tidbit in his most recent column that the Brewers are one of the teams reportedly interested in free agent-to-be Jarrod Washburn.

Washburn has been long linked to the Brewers in rumor mills. I have long been opposed to the idea.

Yes, he was great for the Mariners this year before he was traded to Detroit. But he’s 35 years old. He doesn’t have great stuff. Even if his horrendous performance in Detroit was due to a knee problem, as Heyman suggests, it should be a red flag. It’s something the Brewers have figured out with Jeff Suppan the past couple years — old pitchers get nicked up, get too much credit from their managers for “fighting through it,” and generally stink out loud. Even if you think Washburn’s numbers in Seattle were legitimate, he has to start regressing at some point. Looking at the recent Brewer signings of Suppan and Braden Looper, they’re developing a nasty habit of signing guys on their way down.

So I’m begging Doug Melvin here — please, for the love of all that’s holy, just say no to Jarrod Washburn. I don’t care if he’s from Wisconsin. I don’t care if he’s left-handed. I don’t care if he’s a crafty veteran presence who “knows how to pitch” (the pitcher equivilent of Jason Kendall “calling a good game”).

If the Brewers are interested, it better not be for more than one year. It better not be for more than $5 million or so.

Market logic seems to point to Washburn getting more than a year and more than $5 million…if that’s the case, the Brewers need to look elsewhere. The free agent pitching market overall is fairly weak — unless they can get a short-term contract at a discount for an oft-injured pitcher looking to prove himself (Ben Sheets or Rich Harden come to mind here), the Brewers and their limited resources are better off staying away this winter. Try to acquire a pair of pitchers via trade and wait until next winter to play in the free agent market, when you’re no longer tied down by nearly $20 million in commitments to Suppan and Bill Hall.

It was easy to get excited when Melvin said he was looking to acquire two pitchers this offseason and Suppan wasn’t guaranteed a 2010 rotation spot. If Washburn is the kind of pitcher Melvin has in mind, though, perhaps we should temper the excitement until we see the results.

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