SEATTLE (AP) -- After days of debate, the Seattle Mariners traded left-handed pitcher Jarrod Washburn to the Detroit Tigers for two young pitchers, giving the Tigers another veteran for their rotation as they try to hold on to the AL Central lead.
With Washburn's trade value at its highest, the Mariners sent the 34-year-old to the Tigers for left-hander Luke French and minor leaguer Mauricio Robles. The deal was announced just hours before the non-waiver trade deadline arrived.
"Washburn is having a tremendous season and he has been a quality major league starter throughout his career," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said.
Washburn is 106-106 since making his big league debut for the Angels in 1998.
He has turned around his career this season with a new, split-fingered fastball. He was a combined 23-43 in his first three years with the Mariners entering 2009, a disappointing run he recently called "a tired act."
Washburn is 8-6 with a 2.64 ERA in 20 starts this season. His ERA is third-best in the AL, and he ranks second in holding opponents to a .223 batting average.
In his last five starts, Washburn has allowed just three earned runs and 20 hits.
Washburn is scheduled to start Tuesday night at Comerica Park against Baltimore. The Tigers went into the weekend with a two-game division lead over Minnesota.
"We had an opportunity to acquire two starting left-handed pitchers under the age of 23, including one with major league experience," Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement. "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."
Washburn is in the final months of a $37.5 million, four-year contract. He was Seattle's most attractive commodity: a veteran left-handed starter who has won a World Series, in 2002 with Anaheim.
The debate on moving Washburn went right to the deadline because the surprising Mariners stayed in the AL West and wild card races longer than expected. But after losing 7-1 on Thursday night in Texas, the Mariners stood eight games back of the Angels in the division and 61/2 behind Boston in the wild card race, and Zduriencik this week acknowledged "we're a club that's a little bit on the outside, looking in."
The 23-year-old French has pitched for both Detroit and Triple-A Toledo this season. He is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in five starts for the Tigers. He limited Seattle to a pair of earned runs in 5 1-3 innings on July 23 in Detroit.
At Toledo, French was 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 13 starts.
Robles, 20, started the season at West Michigan in the Midwest League. He was later promoted to Single-A Lakeland in the Florida State League in June and in his seven starts at Lakeland, Robles is 4-2 with a 3.60 ERA. He will be assigned to Class A High Desert.
French and Robles were not among the top 10 prospects in the Tigers' organization entering this season, according to Baseball America.
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