Mariners ready to deal Washburn?

Washburn Just last week, it sure looked as if the Mariners had an outside shot at catching the front-runners in the American League West.
Now? Not so much. Not after getting outscored 31-6 by the Indians in a three-game sweep. Not after losing Erik Bedard to the disabled list (again). Not after falling seven-and-a-half games behind the first-place Angels.

Geoff Baker believes the front office is ready to give up on this season, which would be a bitter pill for the fans but really is the best thing for everyone, going forward. Further, Baker believes that Jarrod Washburn -- who just keeps humming along -- might soon be a Milwaukee Brewer:

    We mentioned this in yesterday's blog. The Brewers and Mariners have been talking but nothing definitive was hammered out because the Mariners were not sure which direction they were headed in on the trade front.
    The Mariners need a shortstop. We've heard lots of speculation about Brewers mainstay J.J. Hardy, but its 21-year-old prospect Alcides Escobar who makes the most sense in a Mariners-Milwaukee deal.

    Hardy is only under contract through next year, which is hardly what a rebuilding team like the Mariners will be looking for now that they are out of the playoff hunt. From Milwaukee's perspective, trading Hardy hurts clubhouse chemistry and forces you to thow a 21-year-old rookie in Escobar into the heart of a pennant race.

    No, it makes more sense for the Brewers to deal Escobar to Seattle. But for Washburn alone? That would be quite a coup and I doubt it would happen.

    That's why, yesterday, I mentioned the possibility of Brandon Morrow being included in such a deal, That would take Seattle's package to a whole other level. Would Morrow and Washburn fetch more than just Escobar? Probably. But I can't give you possible names because, frankly, Jack Zduriencik knows that entire Brewers system inside and out. There are a ton of possibilities and I'm sure he's got a list.

The Hardy/Escobar question is fascinating, from the Brewers' perspective in particular (I agree with Baker; the M's have little use for Hardy, due to his contract). Trading Hardy would be tough for Milwaukee, because the fans and (presumably) his teammates like having him around. That said, Washburn + Escobar almost certainly wins more games than Hardy alone, and that's (probably) true even if Hardy suddenly begins hitting like he did last year (rather than like his .231/.298/.374 line this year).
But, again, I don't see Hardy being a part of any deal for Washburn. If the M's can shake Escobar loose, though? And maybe a young pitcher besides? That's probably a deal the Mariners should make.