There is hope for a deal. But the talks could still be derailed by attempts to include some other big contracts in any potential trade.
A further complication could be that Washburn has the right to veto any trade to New York via his limited no-trade clause and could prefer to stay in Seattle.
The Yankees are believed to want to send disappointing lefthander Kei Igawa to Seattle to offset Washburn's contract. Meanwhile, the Mariners could counter by asking that almost-as-disappointing designated hitter Jose Vidro be sent to New York along with Washburn.
Of course, if the sides can't agree on the other players, a transaction involving Washburn alone still could be a possibility. The Yankees have admired Washburn from afar, and it's no wonder, considering his lifetime 2.56 ERA against the storied Bronx team. The Yankees also would prefer to add pitching without surrendering any of their better prospects, and this may be one way to do it.
While Washburn, 33, is only 4-9 with a 4.75 ERA this season, he is handicapped by playing for an awful Mariners team. He also has been much better in recent weeks. Over his last eight starts, he's 2-2 with a 2.65 ERA and has a lifetime mark of 97-95 with a 4.12 ERA.
Other numbers that could be a hangup in determining if a deal can be done are the contracts of Washburn, and possibly Igawa and even Vidro.
Washburn has about $4 million of his $9.85-million salary remaining this year, plus another $10.35 million next year, meaning he's owed close to $15 million. Igawa, an absolute bust in the Bronx who's contracted through 2011, is owed about $14 million at his $4-million-a-year rate.
So the two lefthanders are nearly a wash monetarily. But considering that Washburn's value as a solid No. 4 type starter is a lot higher than Igawa's, it's possible the Mariners may suggest the Yankees pay part of Igawa's deal or take Vidro, who's batting .222 with five home runs.
The Yankees are seeking a righthanded batter, so the switch-hitting Vidro would fit the bill, but it's uncertain how New York would react to that suggestion since he's been so unproductive.