Should The Orioles Pursue Jarrod Washburn?

There was some talk yesterday that the Orioles might be interested in bringing lefty starter Jarrod Washburn aboard as a veteran arm for the 2010 season. My immediate reaction was:

“Please, please no. Just… no. Why? No.”

Washburn is not a particularly good pitcher. His 3.78 ERA last year had a lot more to due with luck and an excellent Seattle defense than ability, as his 4.58 FIP and 4.73 xFIP can attest. In fact, 2009 was the first time his xFIP has been below 5.00 since 2005. He’s a flyball pitcher with good control (2.8 BB/9 career), but who doesn’t strike many batters out (5.3 K/9 career). The projections for next seasons are calling for a FIP around 4.75, which would make him around a 1.5 Wins Above Replacement pitcher – worth a little over $5 M given that wins are going for around $3.5 M this off-season.

Given that Washburn reportedly turned down $5 M from the Twins, and would be loath to come to Baltimore for less than he’d take from Minnesota or the Mariners (who currently don’t have an offer on the table, as far as I know, but could jump in at the right price), I would pretty confidently rule out signing him as a good idea for the Birds. And that doesn’t even account for the potential innings he would take away from the younger pitchers like Chris Tillman, or the fact that the wins he would add to the team just aren’t worth all that much.