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If Braves Pass, Glavine Could Pitch in D.C.

Those Tom Glavine rumors just persist, don't they?

For the second time in the past week,'s Bill Ladson has thrown fuel on the fires of speculation that longtime Braves to Mets turned Braves pitcher Tom Glavine would be more than happy to pitch at Nationals Park, if his first choice of returning to the Braves doesn't work out.

Now, most assume that Glavine will return to the Braves. He's an elder statesman of sorts in the Atlanta clubhouse, and adding his arm could only strengthen their rotation, even with the new arrivals of Derek Lowe, Javier Vasquez and Kenshin Kawakami. If nothing else, it would give the Braves a starting bridge until Tim Hudson is ready to go.

But what if those talks don't resurrect themselves? What if Glavine really is a legitimate free agent, not one who's an afterthought to return to his prior club? What if Washington can really get him.

If that's actually the case, how much would Tom Glavine be worth to the Nationals? A one-year, $5 million deal? Or should Stan Kasten, the alleged link between Glavine and D.C., authorize GM Jim Bowden to go out and lock up the 300-win lefty?

There are multiple reasons to hope for a Glavine signing, but none is more significant than the role he could play mentoring Washington's young pitchers. No matter what you feel about him -- and his history with both Atlanta and the Mets probably doesn't engender too much love of the man in these parts -- Glavine knows how to win at the Major League level. He knows how to get big outs, and he's been part of a significant building process before.

Perhaps most importantly, if he came to D.C., Glavine's smart enough to know where the Nationals are at in that process. He would know that they're not going to be contenders while he's in the rotation, so he could help to build going forward.

That, in itself, is a key bridge role that seems to be sorely lacking from the current Nats payroll, and its one that he could fill ably. Besides, wouldn't you feel better with a rotation that includes Daniel Cabrera and the oft-injured if occasionally impressive Shawn Hill if Tom Glavine were at the front of it?

So, what do people think? Is this all a big pipe dream? Or could Glavine really call the park over at Navy Yard home? And would he be worth a two-year deal, just to get more out of him on his way out of the game? Keep tuned over at Nationals Journal to see if Chico digs up anything about this from today's NatsFest.

By Cameron Smith  |  January 25, 2009; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Braves , Nationals  
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So...he pitches worse than Redding and costs an awfully lot more. He'd better bring a lot of intangibles that the youngsters aren't getting from St. Randy, otherwise this just sounds lousy for everyone.

Posted by: petey5 | January 25, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I think a mentoring role has merit, but also would be wary of paying too much when the oft cited excuse for not bringing in offensive free agents is "too high a price tag."

Still - I think there is something to be said for bringing in a well respected veteran that could translate into getting people to the ballpark once every five games...

Posted by: Goombay | January 25, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

DC sports franchises have YET to break out of the "We're the farm club for the rest of the league" mentality...Definitely no thanks to the owners..

Posted by: frak | January 25, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a charming thought, but that's about it. Knowing there's no chance for contention and that most of the league wouldn't touch us with a 10-foot pole, it would melt my heart for a guy of his stature to still choose to come here. It would take us up a notch respect-wise and could be nothing but terrific for our young pitchers. I'd love it.

Do I think it will happen, though? Never.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 25, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

This is silly. We have no need for a 42 year old pitcher who over the past 2 years has tossed 260 innings at a 4.90 ERA.
And Glavine would wait it out (as did Roger Clemens) rather than sign with a team as bad as the Nats.
This would be a foolish waste of maney on the part of the Nats, and a foolish career decision for Glavine.
It ain't gonna happen, for all the right reasons.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 25, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

First of all, keep dreaming. Second of all, that would be horrendous move on the Nats part and huge waste of money. How about a respectable free agent Lerners, or are you not opening the wallet anymore this offseason?

Posted by: futbolclif | January 25, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Not a good idea. The Nats are nowhere close to winning and Glavine isn't going to turn them into a playoff contender.

The mentoring role would be legitimate if the Nats had one pitcher that I believed would be around when they were contenders, but they don't. Cabrera was a mess in Baltimore and he'll probably be a mess in Washington too.

The Lerners have been disasters as owners and will continue to be disasters. I'd much rather have Randy Wolf but the ownership seems to think this is Minnesota and not a major market with millions of people. Hopefully they'll eventually get the message before the team turns into what the Senators used to be.

Posted by: CJMARTIN04 | January 25, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem bringing-in Glavine as mentor to the Nats younger arms. I do have problem making a pitcher, 2 years past being able to start at the front end of a Major League rotation, your major free-agent acquisition one year after losing 102 games.

Posted by: noslok | January 25, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

What are you kidding me? The guy is at the end of his career. He's 98% tapped out.

Do the Lerners think that DC fans can't discriminate between a player and a "has been"?

Leave Glavine alone, he is not going to do much for us. Spend the money on signing #1 draft picks.

Posted by: warsaw63 | January 25, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

If the starting rotation without Glavine is Lannan - Cabrera - Olsen - Zimmermann - Balester, then I don't see a reason 3 or four of those guys would not be major league rotation regulars for multiple years going forward. I also would love to see Lannan in particular work with Glavine because their style and stuff are so similar. Having said that, I think signing Glavine is a much lower priority for this team than a LH power bat, identifying a leadoff hitter and the second baseman, and adding some bullpen depth.

The Nats are at a stage where they need to trot out the pitching the system has been building and see who can compete. Think Litsch - McGowan - Marcum in '07. I would prefer to see Jason Bergmann and Shaun Hill show enough to keep Balester and Zimmermann in AAA at the start of the year, but if they don't, I can live with the apparent favorites and see what they have.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 26, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"The Nats are at a stage where they need to trot out the pitching the system has been building and see who can compete."

This is basically what they are planning to do, per what both Kasten and Bowden said at NatsFest. Glavine's name did come up yesterday, but in every case the answer was basically "we'll deal with that possibility when/if Glavine decides he won't be playing in Atlanta." In other words, contrary to what the media would lead us to believe, the Nats aren't actively pursuing Glavine at this point. But if he throws himself at them, why then they'd be fools not to at least consider it.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 26, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

It appears I'm the only one, but I really like the idea of a Glavine signing. I don't think it will happen though.

Yes there is great value in having a seasoned pithcer on the staff. The concern that he will somehow block the development of young pitchers is poorly founded. There are five slots int he rotation, if a young pitcher is ready to pitch, he will break into that rotation - no ifs, ands, or buts. Injurries play a part in every season there will be more opportunity on this staff than can be filled. Innings are vital. If Galvine can pitch 160+ innings of less than 4.50 ERA he will have been well worth the $5M investment suggested by Cameron. Its worth a gamble. Those young piutchers are NOT going to be held back by Glavine, they would be taught by Glavine.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 26, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Natsbisquit - don't get me too wrong in saying I'm against a Glavine signing. I'm just saying I don't think it is as high a priority as tweaking the offense and adding bullpen depth.

My comment was aimed more at CJMARTIN04's idea that they do not have one who would be around when they are contenders. I could easily see Zimmermann as #2 or #3 in a contender's rotation in 3 years, and I could see Lannan and either Balester or Olsen also in that rotation, too. And if Marrero gets back on track and one of the minor league OFs develop (Hood, Burgess, Ramirez, or maybe Maxwell), we would have most of the line up of that contender in the system already.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 26, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Why does everyone hate on Glavine. If he comes here he'll be the only guy on the team who has a couple of Cy Youngs, a World Series MVP, and 300 wins all despite having a Little League fastball. And did I mention he can lay a sweet sac bunt? I think all of these young guys could use having that kind of winning mentality around. Considering most of our players have never played on a team to even when 82 games.

I also remember when Glavine with the Braves he would always get knocked around in the 1st inning, but would almost always get his stuff back for innings 2 through 7. Our current staff could use that get over it and get back out there mentality.

Posted by: MBUSA | January 27, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

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