Baseball executives love the mental challenge of piecing together the trade deadline puzzle, and I heard this interesting speculation -- and that's all it is, speculation -- from an executive with a team that is not involved in the Jarrod Washburn conversation: With the Mets now perhaps in need of a starting pitcher (in the aftermath of the MRI planned for John Maine), wouldn't Washburn be a great fit for the Mets? Washburn is a gritty pitcher, he usually gives six tough innings and he'd be pitching in a big ballpark. And because he's under contract for 2009, he would give the Mets some depth protection; Pedro Martinez and Oliver Perez are eligible for free agency after this season. The Mariners had indicated to the Yankees, in those corroded talks between the teams, that they were willing to eat a lot of Washburn's 2008 salary but that the Yankees would have to pay the lefty's 2009 salary. If the Mariners made a similar arrangement with the Mets and got a prospect in return, there could be a fit. And, as the executive noted, dealing Washburn to the Mets instead of the crosstown Yankees might be viewed as a victory of some sort in the Seattle front office and would allow Mets general manager Omar Minaya to let his fan base know: We got this guy the Yankees wanted. "It's a natural fit for those two teams," the executive mused.