Jarrod Washburn, the veteran left-hander having the finest season of his four-year career in Seattle, has been traded to the Detroit Tigers for two young lefties – Luke French and Mauricio Robles.
The move deepens the Mariners pitching, as French, 23, joins Ian Snell as the second young ready-for-prime-time starters acquired this week in deals.
“We had an opportunity to acquire two starting left-handed pitchers under the age of 23, including one with Major League experience,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “As we continue to build the Mariners organization, it is crucial that we acquire depth and quality. This deal is another step in that process.”
French has split the 2009 season between AAA Toledo and Detroit, making seven starts with the Tigers and going 1-2 with a 3.38 earned run aveage. One of thosed starts July 23 against Seattle, when he worked 5 1/3 innings and allowed two earned runs.
With Toledo this season, he was 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA.
A 6-foot-4, 220-pound pitcher, French was selected by the Tigers in the eighth round of the 2004 June draft.
Robles, 20, is a strikeout pitcher who have never pitched higher than the Florida State League.
In trading Washburn, whose contract ends after the season, the Mariners walked a fine line between trying to stay as competitive as possible in 2009 while looking beyond.
While Washburn had said he was willing to listen to a contract extension offer, he never got one and he’d made clear once the season ended he would pursue all options.
French will join the Mariners, while Robles will be assigned to the minor leagues.
The acquisition of French and Snell come as the Mariners scramble with their rotation, which this week included Ryan Rowland-Smith, Garrett Olson and Jason Vargas.