Now that the Milwaukee Brewers have hired their new manager - former Angels coach Ron Roenicke - left-handed pitcher Jarrod Washburn would like to come out of retirement and pitch for his home-state team.
Washburn sat out all of the 2010 season, working his deer farm in northern Wisconsin where his herd grew to more than 100. The former Mariner, signed a free agent away from the Angels after the 2005 season, is 36 now, and last pitched for the Detroit Tigers in 2009 after the Mariners traded him for pitchers Luke French and Mauricio Robles.
Washburn said several big-league teams have sent him feelers to guage his interest in pitching next season, and the Mariners could be one of those. The issue now, as it was last winter, is how much any team will offer him. Unhappy with low-ball tactics last year, Washburn decided to stay home. Now, he's contemplating a comeback.
Ironically, Roenicke nearly gave Washburn another reason to pick the Brewers - Milwaukee general manager Doug Melvin wanted to sign Don Wakamatsu as bench coach. On Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays landed the ex-Mariners manager, instead.
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Washburn may have picked a good winter to try a comeback: beyond Cliff Lee, the free agent market for starting left-handed pitching isn't dazzling - especially because Cliff Lee is expected to pick the Rangers or Yankees and Andy Pettitte will either return to New York or hang 'em up.
A few links:
- Seattle has been following 26-year-old Japanese shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who batted .326 last season for the Chiba Lotte Marines. Nishioka has been posted by the Marines, which means the Mariners would have to win a silent-auction bidding process just to earn the right to talk to him.
- Washington native Ryne Sandberg, a throw-in when Philadelphia sent Larry Bowa to the Chicago Cubs for Ivan DeJesus, could be returning to the Phillies system this winter. They've talked to him about becoming their Class AAA manager.
- Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty is talking to two ex-Mariners - reliever Arthur Rhodes and infielder and Miguel Cairo. Aftr winning the National League Central last season, the Reds payroll will increase beyond 2009's $76 million. Jocketty has made no attempt to re-sign another former Mariner, free agent Willie Bloomquist.
- The website for the Class AAA Charlotte Knights reported losing manager Chris Chambliss to Seattle, where he'll be the hitting coach. In two years, Chambliss' record was under .500 - but he helped send 30 players to the Knights big-league affiliate, the White Sox.
- Three months ago, outfielder Mike Cameron underwent major surgery to repair a torn muscle in his lower abdomen, but the former Mariner is on schedule for a healthy spring with the Boston Red Sox, who signed him two a two-year, $15.5 million deal before the 2010 season. Now the Red Sox covet free agent outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, and landing either might make Cameron trade bait.