02/10/10 2:30 PM EST
Free agent Washburn awaits 'right offer'
Former Mariners southpaw's options include retirement
By Jim Street / MLB.com
"I've never liked Spring Training anyway," he laughed.
The 35-year-old free agent said he has rejected "some offers," currently is working out at his offseason home in Wisconsin, and the knee that caused him so many problems during the second half of last season that he finally had to have it surgically repaired, "feels fine."
As the clock ticks toward the start of Spring Training, Washburn is on the same pre-camp routine as always, running and playing catch almost every day.
"I'm just sitting back to see what comes my way," Washburn said.
The contract proposals presented to him so far -- none of them by the Mariners -- have been rejected.
"At the time I got them, I wasn't ready to make a decision," he said. "Even if it seemed like a fit for me, I wasn't ready to make a decision and I haven't felt the need to make a decision quickly.
"I didn't want to rush into anything."
Washburn has made it known since the day he was traded to the Tigers prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline that he would return to Seattle in a heartbeat.
He still feels the same way.
"You would have to ask [general manager] Jack [Zduriencik], but they have never said they are not interested [in bringing him back]," Washburn said. "I would love to play in Seattle, but I think they still have a budget [situation]."
The organization has not disclosed what its player payroll budget would be in 2010, or how close it is to reaching it. But Washburn said from his own standpoint, "it's not about money."
"I don't feel that I have to play," Washburn said. "I want to make sure that if I do play, it will be somewhere me and my family want to be."
Seattle, where he still owns a home, is one of those places.
"Everything right now is pretty much out of my control and I'm not losing any sleep over it," Washburn added. "I would be happy to keep playing. I think I have quite a few pitches left, but I also would be happy to move on [and retire]. That's one of my options, for sure."
Thanks to the four-year, $37 million contract he signed with Seattle as a free agent prior to the 2006 season, Washburn is financially set.
An 18-game winner for the Angels in 2002, when he helped the franchise capture its only World Series title, Washburn has a career record of 107-109 with a 4.10 ERA in 312 appearances (300 as a starter).
Washburn compiled a 31-49 record during his three-plus seasons with the Mariners, including an 8-6 record and 2.84 ERA in 20 starts last season, when he received less run support than any pitcher on the staff.
Even so, he would welcome a chance to come back and be part of a starting rotation that includes Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, possibly Ryan Rowland-Smith and eventually Erik Bedard.
"That would be a good rotation," Washburn said.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.