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Seattle Close To 4 Year Deal With Washburn


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The Seattle Mariners are nearing a four-year deal with free-agent pitcher Jarrod Washburn, filling the team's need for another veteran arm in the starting rotation.


Washburn, who was fourth in the American League with a 3.20 ERA last season, was close to a four-year deal worth between $35 and 40 million, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press Friday night, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet in place.


The News Tribune of Tacoma first reported the parties nearing an agreement on its Web site.


After spending his first seven years with the Los Angeles Angels, Washburn became a free agent on Dec. 7 after the Angels declined arbitration for the 31-year-old left-hander. General manager Bill Stoneman had previously said the team was not going to try and re-sign Washburn.


Washburn's agent, Scott Boras, had been pursuing a five-year deal for Washburn.


A deal could be completed this weekend, the source said.


A message left for Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi was not immediately returned.


Last year, Washburn went 8-8 and made 29 starts. He had a brief stint on the disabled list with inflammation in his pitching elbow. It was just the sixth time in his career he was on the disabled list.


His best season came in 2002, when he helped the Angels to their only World Series title.


Washburn was 18-6 with a 3.15 ERA in the regular season. He has a career record of 75-57 and a 3.93 ERA, but has won more than 11 games only once.


But with a rotation of Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon, John Lackey, Kelvim Escobar and young Ervin Santana for next season, the Angels seem to have a solid rotation, and therefore let go of Washburn and Paul Byrd, who signed with Cleveland.


After signing OF/DH Carl Everett earlier this week, Bavasi said the Mariners are close to learning whether they would be able to sign the free-agent pitchers they seek. Those were thought to be Kevin Millwood and Washburn, both represented by Boras.


"I sense things are close one way or the other. We'll know if we're in or out in a relatively short time," Bavasi said.


Bavasi added the team would not be content with its mostly youthful rotation, anchored by 19-year-old Felix Hernandez. The rest of Seattle's staff, for now, includes 27-year-olds Gil Meche and Joel Pineiro, 32-year-old Ryan Franklin and 43-year-old Jamie Moyer.


Washburn adds another lefty to the rotation, joining Moyer, who signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal last week.


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The money being thrown around this offseason is ridiculous.


Could you imagine what kind of contracts we'd be seeing if the 2006 free agent class hit in this offseason?



The market is really dictated by the amount of money teams have to spend, not really the level of the talent. Next year's free agent SP class will have a lot of trouble finding teams to committ '05 money

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