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Posted at 3:29 PM ET, 01/17/2011

Nationals trade for Tom Gorzelanny

By Adam Kilgore

After missing out this winter on an elite starting pitcher, the Nationals boosted the depth of their rotation by trading three prospects to the Chicago Cubs for left-handed starter Tom Gorzelanny. The trade, which is pending a physical, was first reported by ESPNChicago.com.

The key prospect the Nationals gave up was Michael Burgess, an outfielder with a strong arm, a powerful bat from the left side of the plate and a penchant for striking out. Burgess participated in the Arizona Fall League this offseason after he reached Class AA Harrisburg in 2010. Burgess, 22, was the 49th pick of the first round in 2007. He hit .265/.357/.465 last year, mostly for Class A Potomac.

Gorzelanny, a five-year veteran who has spent his career with the Pirates and Cubs, went 7-9 last year with a 4.09 ERA, striking out 119 with 68 walks in 136 1/3 innings. A part of Chicago's rotation last season, he became available after the Cubs acquired Matt Garza in a trade with the Rays earlier this month.

Gorzelanny will join a Nationals pitching staff that lacks a true ace but has plenty of depth. The Nationals already have John Lannan, Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis, Yunesky Maya, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and Chien-Ming Wang to fill five spots.

Gorzelanny made $800,000 last season and is eligible for arbitration this offseason. After coming to an agreement with Lannan today, the Nationals will need to reach a deal with Gorzelanny in order to avoid an arbitration hearing with him.

By Adam Kilgore  | January 17, 2011; 3:29 PM ET
 
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Comments

My guess is Severino and Martis round out the trade

Posted by: 3B11 | January 17, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

AK is going to have carpal tunnel fingers after all the articles today!

Posted by: 141stvb | January 17, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Looks like we got a decent, major league pitcher for basically nothing. Nice move.

Posted by: js_edit | January 17, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Can someone compare for us Tom Gorzelanny and John Lannan, do you expect both on the Nats opening day roster.

Posted by: 4U2Know | January 17, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I can see where the Cubs would like Burgess (a LH pull-hitter w/a good OF arm), but wonder who the other two players are from the Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Ladson tweeted that AJ Morris was one of the pitchers...

Posted by: TimDz | January 17, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

MLBTraderumors has A.J. Morris down as one of the pitchers in the deal.

Posted by: js_edit | January 17, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"Can someone compare for us Tom Gorzelanny and John Lannan, do you expect both on the Nats opening day roster."

Very simply and succinctly: In 2009 9.4 K /9, 7.9 K / 9 in 2010.

Lannan: 3.9 K/ 9 in 2009, 4.5 K / 9 in 2010.

Gorzelanny: starting POWER pitcher with control issues but a potential #2 slot in the rotation. Still managed to get 11 quality starts in 23 total starts. Gorzelanny also can work out of the bullpen

Lannan managed 12 quality starts over a total of 25 starts. A soft tosser you do not want to bring out of the bullpen. He does and always will project to the #5 slot in the rotation.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

It's a draw between Lannan and Gorzelanny. I am a Rizzo supporter but if, as suggested in trade rumors, that AJMorris is a part of this trade I will be very disappointed. At best, Gorzelanny is a mediocre pitcher, not unlike many others in the Nat's system. To give up Burgess and Morris is ridiculous. This is likely my first negative comment this off season, but damn it I'm cheesed off. If Morris really is a part of the deal, it certainly is an indication of how poor the draft has been under Rizzo.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 17, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

@4U2K: Gorzelanny is a 28y.o. spot starter / long reliever, with #4-5 SP potential. He throws a little harder than Lannan (92 vs 88), but lacks control.

A nice pickup (depending on cost in prospects), but not earth-shattering, imo.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"It's a draw between Lannan and Gorzelanny."

No comparison ... far more upside and still attainable ceiling than Lannan. Look at the K's / 9? Gorzelanny can hold down a #2,#3 slot in a rotation with more emphasis on control. Lannan really cannot. He doesn't have the physicality.

"that AJMorris is a part of this trade I will be very disappointed."

The Nats ended up projecting him for a bullpen slot. They now have plenty and then some. They need starters ... right? That said the guy finished second to Strasburg for the silver spikes? How can you say Rizzo's drafted poorly? Based on what?

But yes, Morris is one of the better arms in the system. And trading him certainly hurts! Nevertheless by some miracle 41st draft pick Brad Peacock managed to get into the top 10 over him?

Sheesh get a grip people!

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"@4U2K: Gorzelanny is a 28y.o. spot starter / long reliever, with #4-5 SP potential. He throws a little harder than Lannan (92 vs 88), but lacks control."

@BinM,

You know something that fangraphs doesn't? Who state he still has the potential to be a #2 starter? With work? Where's the particulars?

A little harder than Lannan? Do you actually believe Lannan could ever get as high as NINE strikeouts per nine innings?

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

periculum, a hypothetical question: If AJ Morris is in fact part of the trade, what grade do you give it now? Still a plus move ATC?

Posted by: fpcsteve27 | January 17, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

you can hate all you want on how long its taken for the Nats to be a respectable mlb franchise (even tho we inherited a awful farm - blame mlb)

But, I do credit Rizzo & co. by sticking to some sort of plan, athletic and defensive type players. This rebuild is reminding me somewhat of the Caps 4-7 years ago

....The redskins need to take notes from these teams' front office

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 17, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I do remember we had a DC NBA team, but the Bullets left over 10 years ago ;)

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 17, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"periculum, a hypothetical question: If AJ Morris is in fact part of the trade, what grade do you give it now? Still a plus move ATC?"

Honestly, if another power pitcher goes out the door with Burgess and Morris ... unless Gorzelanny reaches his potential it could end up as a losing proposition for the Nats. Short term gain, possible long term loss.

Would be different if Lannan (who throws just a little softer) were part of the deal. That would make more sense given the trend toward power pitchers and the fact the Nats have organization top pitcher Tom Milone (also a left handed soft tosser) almost ready. With Danny Rosenbaum close behind.

The great John Lannan projected to be a #5 starter is the most expendable of starters that they could possibly trade.

AJ Morris hurts. I don't think he would have been traded if he were still projecting to be a starter for the Nats.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Not that BA is the be all and end all, but they ranked Morris and Burgess at the end of our top 20 prospects - and said the 3rd pitcher was outside our top 30 prospects - getting assuming they intend to spend again on their 3 premium picks in next years draft, get some respectable starting options this year seems worth the price.

Posted by: RedBee | January 17, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

correction: golden spikes not silver spikes.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The whole idea of building an organization is to have attractive enough players in the minors that can garner major league talent. Gorzelanny certainly isn't Cliff Lee but he is a MLB pitcher. Everyone complains that the Nats get nothing out of its farm system but it's trades like this that further the process of improving the major league team. Frustration with the lack of progress of guys like Maxwell and Burgess is why one organization moves on from them. All of everybody's minor league talent is always super until they're called on to be useful. Let's not shed too many tears about what the Nats had to give up even while not being overwhelemd by what they received for them.

Posted by: McKinley2 | January 17, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that a .265 BA and a lot of strike outs in A ball (i.e., Burgess) don't paint the picture of a super talent who is likely to be a plus MLB player. I agree with McKinley2 on one of the purposes of a farm system--develop inventory that you can trade for other players. If competing sooner (i.e., this season) than later is necessary to attract other FA's to DC, then this was a necessary move. Whatever your opinion of Rizzo, he has a plan, and he is implementing it.

Posted by: fpcsteve27 | January 17, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Concur with fpcsteve27. Gorzalanny isn't the elite prospect/veteran pitcher Rizzo was after ... he shook the trees hard enough ... but he was better than any starter the Nats have after Livo and Strasburg.

In other words, this has to be a short-term upgrade for arguably the league's most questionable starting rotation.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

peric: Take a hard look at the numbers, then decide...
Gorzelanny - career avg (6 yrs) = 118GP, 95GS, 558.0IP, 1.49WHIP, 1.6:1K-W, 4.68ERA.
Lannan - career avg (4 yrs) = 95GP, 95GS, 566.3IP, 1.41WHIP, 1.39:1K-W, 4.10ERA.

On average, Lannan goes deeper in games, and has a better WHIP & ERA than Gorzelanny. A better FB does not always the better pitcher make.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Keith Law weighs in:

"Burgess likely a reserve at best?"

"Burgess doesn't project as an everyday player in the majors -- he has plus raw power and puts on a show in BP, but doesn't recognize offspeed stuff at all and unless that changes he won't make enough contact to be more than an emergency callup."

Sorry JimBow.

"On average, Lannan goes deeper in games, and has a better WHIP & ERA than Gorzelanny. A better FB does not always the better pitcher make."

In the last three years Lannan has declined in just about every area (in spite of his late 2010 surge) while Gorzelanny has improved both in terms of walks allowed (still needs improvement) and K's/nine which were the highest of his career.

IN 2010 Gorzelanny was bounced back and forth between the bullpen and starting due to injuries to Zambrano. That shouldn't happen with the Nats. Yet he can be effective out of the bullpen.
He was very effective before injuring his fingers / and the return of Zambrano in May. When they brought him back out of the pen later on he wasn't as effective both in terms of walks allowed per nine AND K's/9. However, the trend has generally been upward since 2008.

And you well know Lannan would be a disaster out of the pen. He is a soft-tosser innings eating starter only.

@BinM, it helps to look at trends not just overall stats. Lannan is on the decline and looks ready to be replaced by Tom Milone in 2011. (Unless Milone went out with the trade.)

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Trying hard to get excited about this trade, but I'm failing. Gorzelanny is a perfectly competent big league pitcher, just like the five or six other guys bidding for spots in the rotation. It can't hurt to have another one but he's not a front of the rotation guy. Kind of makes me wonder if another deal is coming that includes one of our current starters...

As for the "prospects," Burgess had clearly never lived up to his first round potential. And I think they may have a slightly better left handed hitting outfield prospect now...

Morris is 24, two years out of college and hasn't gotten out of A ball yet. That's not very encouraging to me.

As for Gorzelanny "reaching his potential," he's 28 years old and he's got five years in the big leagues. I think he is what he is.

Finally, I know it's trendy to focus on strikeout ratios and it's good to have power pitchers, but wouldn't it be better to have effective pitchers, no matter how hard they throw? I realize the Nats have had an endless parade of soft tossers, but just because a guy throws, it doesn't mean he'll be any more effective. Just saying...

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Losing Burgess for Gorzelanny doesn't break my heart, nor would the addition of Morris to the deal. I'd hope the 3rd piece is a ss/Rookie-league arm, or a 4A rostered player/pitcher.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"I realize the Nats have had an endless parade of soft tossers, but just because a guy throws, it doesn't mean he'll be any more effective. Just saying..."

Just last year ... after spending around half in the bullpen:
23 starts - 11 quality starts. 7 - 9 record.

Name one Nationals starter other than Livo and Strasburg that was better? No Lannan certain WAS NOT.

One can't deny its potentially a significant improvement for this starting rotation particularly given he is a left-handed starting pitcher. He might be better than Edwin Jackson.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 5:14 PM | Report abuse

peri, I don't really care what fangraphs says, I have a good chance as Gorzelanny does of being a #2 starter. I mean, c'mon, the PIRATES dumped him from their rotation two years ago and he was the fourth or fifth starter for the Cubs last year. He's a mediocre, journeyman starting pitcher, joining all of the other mediocre, journeyman starting pitchers in the rotation.

And if you think that's an insult, look at it this way: a rotation comprised of mediocre journeymen will actually be an improvement. This might be the best rotation the Nats have had since 2005, and it's the deepest they've ever had.

Kinda sad, when you think about it...

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"Better than Edwin Jackson?" Be still, my heart! Not the Edwin Jackson with the 48-51 record, and a 4.62 career ERA and a career WHIP that's higher than, um, John Lannan's? The Edwin Jackson that's been traded by four teams in five years? He could be even better than HIM? Whew, good thing I'm sitting down, I don't think I can stand the excitement...

(BTW, peri, Lannan had 10 quality starts in 25 starts last year and went 8-8. Why you think Gorzelanny was any better than that is beyond me.)

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I have to correct myself. Lannan had 12 quality starts in 25 starts last year.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Don't understand this move when they are vet fa's out there with better resumes than his.

Ink a guy like Millwood, Young, Duchsher(sp), Bonderman, Garcia etc instead of trading away prospects for a guy that might not be in the rotation next year.

Thumbs down on this one Rizzo

Posted by: DMoney28 | January 17, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

68 walks in 136 innings. Good god. Can't they pick up someone who can go 200 innings instead of some half-breed reliever/starter? If you're gonna go through the pains of making a trade, at least get someone you can plug in, not someone you HOPE you can plug in. I guess Pants figures when he bombs out he can stick him in the bullpen and walk people there.

Posted by: Brue | January 17, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

We missed out on adding Rauch to the BP. MLB Rumors reports he has signed with the Jays.

Posted by: fpcsteve27 | January 17, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

The biggest problem with this trade is not the loss of Burgess or Morris. It's the loss of an opportunity for Detwiler -- or, potentially, Mock, Stammen or Martin.

Gorzelanny is already 28 and his contract lasts only two more years. The Nationals are unlikely to compete for a title before he leaves.

This year should have been used to provide opportunities for young pitchers who could contribute to a championship team beyond 2012.

Posted by: Dynatic | January 17, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

BTW, what I think is really interesting about this trade isn't whether Gorzelanny can be the next Edwin Jackson. It's what it may mean about the other starters.

First, you can never have enough starting pitching, as anybody who's watched this team for the last few years knows. If the worst thing that happens is that the Nats have too many mediocre, major league journeymen in the rotation, well, that'll be a new problem for them.

Second, this could possibly set the stage for another trade. One of our starters and a minor leaguer or two might bring something, especially once camp starts. Other teams will be better able to judge people like Flores and Norris, coming off injuries and their value may go up. Plus, if another team gets hit by injuries in its rotation, our guys would look more attractive (a little, anyway).

Third, it might put some pressure on guys like Detwiler, Wang and Maya. The Nats are less likely now to give one of them a shot and hope they find themselves in the big leagues. They will have Livan, Lannan, Marquis and Gorzelanny in the mix as well, so Riggleman should be able to fill his rotation with pitchers who can actually, you know, pitch at the big league level. Which is nice.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

The biggest problem with this trade is not the loss of Burgess or Morris. It's the loss of an opportunity for Detwiler -- or, potentially, Mock, Stammen or Martin.

Gorzelanny is already 28 and his contract lasts only two more years. The Nationals are unlikely to compete for a title before he leaves.

This year should have been used to provide opportunities for young pitchers who could contribute to a championship team beyond 2012.

Posted by: Dynatic | January 17, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"The biggest problem with this trade is not the loss of Burgess or Morris. It's the loss of an opportunity for Detwiler -- or, potentially, Mock, Stammen or Martin."

Dynatic, that's exactly why they made the trade. The only way those guys will get an opportunity is if they can pitch better than mediocre, journeymen big leaguers. It's called competition. We haven't seen that here before. And even though it's competition between big league journeymen, that's actually an improvement.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

This is a good deal. Gorzelanny will be a quality arm to the staff. He's 28, has experience. And let's not forget, he played with the Pirates! Not exactly a situation that screams success. And the Cubs sucked last year as they moved Gorzelanny from the rotation to the pen and back.

Here, i say give him the ball every 5th day and see what he can for a whole year. Signing Bonderman, Durscherer or MIllwodd is the Marquis signing all over again. Gorzelanny has been relative healthy for his career. Most of the other pitchers that are FA's are expensive, have a history of injury or both. Now, the Nats have a rotation that is much deeper with more experienced arms.

If all our starters finish .500 with 4 era's then we will be better!

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 17, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Welcome aboard, Tom. Other than JZ, your upside is just as promising as any of the other 50 pitch wonders Rizzo calls a starting staff. Somebody new in the rotation that's halfway decent...how incredible is that?

BTW, you don't smoke Marlboro Reds, do you?

Posted by: howjensen | January 17, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Now Lannan to the Yanks for Joba Chamberlin

Posted by: wellscats | January 17, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

@Baltova1 -- It seems unlikely that the Nats would drop Gorzelanny from the rotation after trading several prospects for him, even if he performs worse than other young pitchers in spring training. Thus, his presence on the roster seems likely to reduce, not increase, competition. With Gorzelanny's spot in the rotation largely locked up, Detwiler and the others seem almost certain to be relegated to AAA.

Since the Nats aren't going to be competitive until his contract expires, it's important to give young pitchers an extensive opportunity to show what they can do at the MLB level.

Posted by: Dynatic | January 17, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Dynatic, here's the way I see it:

"With Gorzelanny's spot in the rotation largely locked up, Detwiler and the others seem almost certain to be relegated to AAA."

You're assuming that Livan pitches as well as he did last year and that Maya or Wang locks up the fifth spot behind Livan, Lannan, Marquis and Gorzelanny. Neither is a sure thing. And also, you're not accounting for a possible trade of one of the other starting pitchers in a package deal of some kind (one of the catchers and a minor leaguer, maybe two) to get a better starting pitcher.

"Since the Nats aren't going to be competitive until his contract expires, it's important to give young pitchers an extensive opportunity to show what they can do at the MLB level."

That's only important if the young pitchers deserve that shot. I think over the last few years, we've gotten used to accepting the presence of borderline pitchers and viewing them as real prospecs, mainly because that's all the Nats had!

I'm not convinced guys like Martin or Mock or Atilano or Martis are real prospects, so I'm not sure if I really care if they get another chance or not. Put them in the bullpen, use them as emergency starters, fine. But to give them a real chance to be a part of the rotation of a team you think can win? I don't see it.

Detwiler is a different story. He does have real talent, but he's been spotty, to say the least, and he's had injury problems. Some people have questioned his commitment to fitness, since he's still so skinny, but no matter what, I'm not sure Rizzo is as sold on him as Bowden, who drafted him. Maybe this move pushes him to really fight for a spot in the rotation. If it does, there'll be room for him. If it doesn't push him to pitch better, then he's not worth worrying about.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Gorzellany at least fits the long bullpen arm that was Batista's role last year. That spot is an important one as the Miss Iowa game tells us. If he is better than that, he gets a 5th starters job because those other pitchers couldn't pitch better than him. Either way, he fits a need. AJ Morris is the key player in the deal. Even if AJ hits the majors in less than three years, this deal still might favor the Nats, in that Gorzellanny might help them win a few more games this year and get them out of the cellar, which should make the Nats a more desirable location for baseball players. Now if AJ pitches above himself and what the scouts say, then yes, this trade sucks. Anyway, this years draft is deep, I think an AJ Morris can be found in it if the Nats look hard enough.

Posted by: lpatashn | January 17, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

"Thus, his presence on the roster seems likely to reduce, not increase, competition. With Gorzelanny's spot in the rotation largely locked up, Detwiler and the others seem almost certain to be relegated to AAA."

Wrong! Unlike many / most of the starting pitchers he can do the Batista bullpen rubber arm thang. He can spot start, start or relieve. And ... bonus ... he is left handed.

You haven't been watching or listening ... clearly! Rizzo believes in competition. And for SP rotation spots its WIDE OPEN! The only guy guaranteed a spot is injured and his name is Strasburg.

Gorzelanny will have to compete just like the rest ... it might help his mechanics ... ;) NO ONE has a guaranteed spot. However, some may get more chances to prove themselves than others because they have potential/great stuff.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Dynatic - That process would never end. It began in 2006, and we've been having Detwiler, Martis, Stammen, Martin, Atilano, Trber, Bergmann, Redding Simontacchi, Hanrahan, Speigner, Ballester, Mock, et al compete. We need a competent MLB pitcher to take the mound everyday. We're closer now than we ever have been.
Our fans, the bullpen, the field players, everyone deserves at least that much. Let Detwiler tear up AAA if he can. That's what real MLB clubs do. They don't hold tryouts all season long at the MLB level.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 17, 2011 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Ladson has Graham Hicks as the other pitcher heading out

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 17, 2011 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Sunderland.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

"Wrong! Unlike many / most of the starting pitchers he can do the Batista bullpen rubber arm thang. He can spot start, start or relieve. And ... bonus ... he is left handed."

Spot starter? Long reliever? Peri, I thought this guy was our potential #2 starter! The next Edwin Jackson! Two hours later, he's in the bullpen?

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

And yesterday Livo was the long reliever / spot starter.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 17, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

@baltova1:

"You're assuming that Livan pitches as well as he did last year and that Maya or Wang locks up the fifth spot behind Livan, Lannan, Marquis and Gorzelanny...."

Your rotation is lacking Jordan Zimmermann. Where do you see him in 2011?

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 17, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

As of today going into camp your projected rotation will be Livan,Gorzelanny,Zimmerman,Marquis and Lannan with Chad Gaudin the long man out of the bullpen.Maya and Detwiler will head the Triple-A rotation and get regular innings from the start unless/until another move is made.

Posted by: wellscats | January 17, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

@Baltova1 and Periculum

Baltoval1, you say: "But to give [young pitchers] a real chance to be a part of the rotation of a team you think can win? I don't see it."

I don't think they can win. Not in 2011 and probably not in 2012. Sure, they can win more games than in 2010, but they can't win a championship, and that's the goal.

You seem to agree that Detwiler has the potential to be a starter on a championship team. But there's now a real danger that he'll lose a spot in this year's rotation to Gorzelanny, even if they pitch comparably in spring training. And Detwiler already has had success at AAA -- the open question is whether he can succeed in the majors, if given a rotation spot.

@Sunderland -- rebuilding MLB clubs do, in fact, give opportunities to young players to see what they can do. Giving Detwiler a shot is different than opening up the rotation to middle-aged journeymen like Redding, Traber or Simontacchi. Detwiler has the potential to be a starter well past 2012, when the Nationals will begin to have a realistic chance at a title.

Posted by: Dynatic | January 17, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Anyway you look at it, it's good; not the stud we were hoping for but makes the rotation more competitive. Still have to think Maya gets a spot if he keeps pitching like he did in the DR. One thing for sure, have a horrible ST and your spot won't be guaranteed like it has been in the past; you need to earn your spot by doing more then just showing up.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 17, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Good catch, bertb...J. Zimm is in the rotation for sure. Again, it makes me think either they are not counting on Livan in the rotation or another trade is a possibility. Marquis isn't really tradeable, given the season he had, along with his contract, and Gorzelanny just got here. J. Zimm is the only guy with a chance to be really good, so it's doubtful you'd trade him. Wang wouldn't bring any thing, and neither would Maya. That pretty much leaves Lannan or Detwiler as trade bait.

BTW, I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that "Detwiler has the potential to be a starter on a championship team." He hasn't even shown he can be a starter here yet. I think he's clearly got to show something in spring training to be a part of the future.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

"You seem to agree that Detwiler has the potential to be a starter on a championship team. But there's now a real danger that he'll lose a spot in this year's rotation to Gorzelanny, even if they pitch comparably in spring training. And Detwiler already has had success at AAA -- the open question is whether he can succeed in the majors, if given a rotation spot."

Gorzellanny will be 28 years old. Just for comparisons sake that is about the same age as Garrett Mock. Stammen will be 27. Detwiler around 25. Younger than Yunesky Maya who will be age 29 and Chien-Ming Wang at age 31. Jason Marquis will be 32. Livan Hernandez 36++++.

He pitched more innings than every starter the Nats have except for Livo and John Lannan in 2010. He had 2 less starts and one less quality start than Lannan. His strike outs per nine innings were far better than both Livo and Lannan.

And there's this:

Gorzelanny FIP trend continues to indicate that he is a work in progress but and is improving. Something the Nats scouting staff understands. Gorzallanny has pitched 200 innings. Lannan and every other starter (besides Livo) has not. He has had 33 starts in a year

Bottom lining it: Gorzelanny is a young left-handed veteran who should help the rotation and the pitching staff. He can and has also pitched out of the bullpen.

Ross Detwiler, just because he is a left-handed starter, will be given every chance to prove he belongs. The only guy who might be in danger of losing their starting slot is Livan Hernandez because of his age. Other than that; Every slot appears to be open to be won by the best pitcher.

You appear to be making presumptions which make little sense given the pitcher involved.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

"Spot starter? Long reliever? Peri, I thought this guy was our potential #2 starter! The next Edwin Jackson! Two hours later, he's in the bullpen?"

@baltova,

He appears to have done all of that and more for the Cubs. You don't hear any "good riddance" messages from their blogs do you? Most think he did what he was asked to do and was a solid contributor.

The Nats could use at LEAST ONE GUY, ONE PITCHER like that? Don't you think?

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

The best trade for the Nats would be Lannan; given an up and coming Tom Milone and Ryan Tatusko.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I wrote an earlier post based on information on the Cot's website, which reported that Gorzelanny will be a free agent after 2012. However, according to Baseball Reference and MLBTR, he actually is a Super 2 player who will be a free agent after 2013. If the latter is true, this now seems like a good trade for the Nats, as the team has a legitimate shot at competing for a championship by 2013.

Posted by: Dynatic | January 17, 2011 8:41 PM | Report abuse

How about this web site:

Tom Gorzelanny vs Matt Garza, 2010 Season

Gorzelanny Garza
ERA 4.09 3.91
FIP 3.92 4.42
K /9 7.9 6.6
WAR 2.3 1.8
Age 28 27

Source: Fangraphs.com

As the chart shows, despite throwing roughly 70 fewer innings, Gorzelanny was actually more valuable in 2010 than Garza. Gorzelanny recorded a higher strikeout rate, had stronger peripheral numbers overall and, when looking at Fielding Independent Pitching, actually pitched better in the areas that were under his control.

The argument that Garza is young and will be under team control for several seasons beyond 2011 is also muted when one considers that Garza is less than a year and a half younger than Gorzelanny. In fact, Garza is nominally younger but also set for a much larger payday in 2011 and beyond – Garza made $3.35M in 2010 while Gorzelanny made just $800K. Both those numbers will go up in 2011, but obviously Garza’s will increase much more substantially.

Bottom Line: C'mon people Rizzo and his braintrust aren't SideShow JimBo.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 8:57 PM | Report abuse

peri, I'm just trying to point out that first, you were telling us that Gorzelanny's better than any starter the Nats have (which isn't true), and he projects to possibly a #2 starter (also not true, and why are we "projecting" guys with five years in the big leagues?), and now you're saying his strength is that he can start and relieve effectively. He can't really be all of those things.

He's a competent pitcher and gives them about four starters (Lannan, Livan, Marquis, Gorzelanny) who should be #4 men in a rotation, to go along with one guy (J. Zimm) who might be a #3 starter and two guys (Maya, Detwiler) who would be #5 starters. It's nice to add him, it's just hard to get overly excited about it.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 9:04 PM | Report abuse

"peri, I'm just trying to point out that first, you were telling us that Gorzelanny's better than any starter the Nats have (which isn't true),"

Sabermetrically that's just wrong. Gorzelanny has a 1.8 WAR. No other starter, (other than Livo) was higher. Livo is/was supposed to be an innings eater like Batista. He continues to be a marvel ... but for how long? Will he regress to his 2009 numbers? Gorzelanny's FIP is 3.92 and that was better than Garza's who actually pitched more innings.

"and he projects to possibly a #2 starter (also not true, and why are we "projecting" guys with five years in the big leagues?),"

I'm not saying it fangraphs did. But then I suppose @baltova knows more than fangraphs? You must be smarter than fangraphs? Wow!

Again, for the less enlightened among us?

Fan graphs compares relative improvement to that of Oliver Perez.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/tom-gorzelanny-is-starting-to-reach-his-potential

"Control seems like the biggest issue going forward with Gorzelanny. His walk rate, 4.63 per nine, can continue to hold him back, though he does make up for it by striking out a ton of hitters, 9.13 per nine this year, and keeping the ball inside the park, partly the effect of his 43.8 percent groundball rate. That’s not stellar, but it’s very good for a pitcher who strikes out more than a batter per inning. His walk rate is a bit better when looking at him only as a starter, 4.23 per nine, but even that will have to improve if he’s going to fulfill his promise as a No. 2 starter."

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

" two guys (Maya, Detwiler) who would be #5 starters. It's nice to add him, it's just hard to get overly excited about it."

Both spec out to potential #3's. Lannan is the #5. He is the soft-tosser.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

So far from @baltova, and binM, I am seeing lots of opinion, proselytizing sans appropriate reference and cogent fact.

And some here used to accuse me of that? ;)

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Yoder appears to agree with the assessment of Gorzellany:

"Over the past two seasons Gorzelanny has improved as a pitcher, earning the two highest K/9 rates in his career. In 2009 he struck out nine batters per nine innings, and in 2010 he struck out 7.9 batters per nine innings. Prior to the 2009 season, his best mark was 6.0 strikeouts per nine innings. "

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 9:26 PM | Report abuse

peri, you're right, I'm not as smart as fangraphs. So let's look at their latest post on Gorzelanny:

"In total, we have a guy who has had good ERAs with bad peripherals and bad ERAs with good peripherals, and in the only year that his process and results lined up, he was one of the worst pitchers in baseball. Despite good minor league results, his stuff is just alright, and he’s not the kind of pitcher who looks to have significant untapped upside. With his repertoire, throwing strikes should be a key, except he got his career back on track in a season where his walk rate was 113th out of 115 major league pitchers who threw at least 130 innings.

In the end, all this wild inconsistency has led to a pitcher whose career ERA (4.68) is not that much different than his FIP (4.54), and both marks suggest he could be a decent back-end starting pitcher, but given how his career has gone so far, I wouldn’t exactly bet the farm on any particular level of production from Gorzelanny. So far, all he’s produced is 558 innings of confusion."

I am so glad you pointed out that I don't know as much as a fangraphs.com, even though they apparently reached the same conclusion as I did about the guy. I mean, without fangraphs.com, I would have had to rely on 40 years of watching major league baseball to evaluate players. I would have had to stick to such simplistic thoughts as:
--If a guy gets traded by a team like the Pirates, with the worst starting rotation in baseball, he may not be that good.
--If a team like the Cubs has five or six starters and decides to trade one, the guy they trade may not be that good.
--If a guy has one really good season out of five in the big leagues and that was four years ago, he may not be that good.

Hope that was cogent enough for you.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps it is covered in the comments above, but it is a big plus that the Nats acquired a left handed starter. Gorzo was 3-0 with a sub 1.50 ERA against the Phillies and the Braves last year. I'm sure that was not lost on Nats management.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 17, 2011 10:05 PM | Report abuse

biscuits, I believe those qualify as "cogent" stats. In fact, Gorzelanny's career numbers, which aren't that extensive, aren't bad against the Phillies, Braves and Marlins, not as good against the Mets, FWIW.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

"Hope that was cogent enough for you."

Given a 2010 FIP of 3.92 (Garza's was 4.02)? It appears to fly in the face of it? And a WAR of 1.8 is pretty high given that it is just under Garza's and higher than Strasburg's for the short time he pitched. NO other starting pitcher, other than LIvo is that high on the Nats staff.

My stats from fangraphs and ESPN appear to contradict yours.

The same thing happened to guys like Oliver Perez yet they managed to succeed.

Confusing or not Gorzelanny has the raw tools to succeed. He seems to get "confused" between starting and coming out of the bullpen and appears to perform best when consistently in the rotation.

Remember, Cliff Lee started out with one a worst team than the Pirates: the Montreal Expos. So soon they forget?

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

One last point, peri, then I'll leave you alone. Did you really try to point out that fangraphs claims that Gorzelanny compares favorably to Oliver Perez? 'Cause I'm pretty sure that's not hard to do...

BTW, here's why I reacted today to much of what you wrote and why I've had similar reactions in the past. You constantly inflate the value of guys who haven't played in the big leagues or who catch your fancy. Which is okay; that's what being a fan is about. It's just that you make bold claims about these guys and cite stats (often obscure ones) that support your point and act like that's settled the debate, once and for all. Try to leave a little room for debate, is all I'm saying. I have no idea what Gorzelanny's going to do for the Nats; I don't imagine it's going to be a whole lot, based on his career. But let's hope for the best and hope he exceeds everybody's expectations.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 10:16 PM | Report abuse

wait a minute...Are some of you so called baseball fans/experts really saying Ross Detwiler would be a starter on a championship team? If thats the case, why the heck would the Nats trade him?! I mean, on a team that lacks quality starters, a team with a bunch of scrubs on the staff, you're honestly worried about Detwiler not getting a spot in the rotation?
Excuse my french, but that is assanine. Seriously assanine. If Detwiler is better that Stammen or Marquis, then he gets the ball every fifth day. If he can be a fourth or fifth starter for the Bosox, he's a 2 or 3 for the Nats.
Those of you spewing this crap about poor Stammen and Martin and their spots in the rotation...you know nothing about baseball. Gorz is an upgrade.

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 17, 2011 10:23 PM | Report abuse

@Peri states:
"Gorzallanny has pitched 200 innings. Lannan and every other starter (besides Livo) has not. He has had 33 starts in a year"


Reality states:
Lannan:
2008 - 31 GS, 182 IP
2009 - 33 GS, 206.1 IP
2010 - 25 GS, 143.1 IP

Livan:
2008 - 31 GS, 180 IP
2009 - 31 GS, 183.2 IP
2010 - 33 GS, 211.2 IP

Gorzelanny:
2007 - 32 GS, 201.2 IP
2008 - 21 GS, 105.1 IP
2009 - 7 GS, 42 IP
2010 - 23 GS, 136.1 IP

what exactly are you talking about??? Livan pitched over 200 IP last year! Lannan two years ago. Gorzelanny hasn't pitched over 200 innings in over 4 years!

Posted by: erocks33 | January 17, 2011 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I didn't mean to wade into an argument - especially between good Nats fans. Its a sign of progress that we are able to debate the value of the prospects they give up. My two cents is that Morris has a chance to be special, but its not soon and its not big.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 17, 2011 10:38 PM | Report abuse

@erocks33?

***(besides Livo)****

I think you missed the above operative phrase? Right?
Back to RI please.

I did however overlook Lannan's 206 innings in 2009.

"Gorzelanny hasn't pitched over 200 innings in over 4 years!"

He's mostly been in the bullpen for the last 3 between the Cubs
and Pirates. AGAIN, something Lannan CANNOT DO, he is a soft tosser. His fast ball usually sits at between 86 and 87 MPH. It would be like leading a sheep to slaughter bringing him out of the pen. Right? Nevertheless, he came back into the rotation last year when needed for 23 starts and 11 quality starts.

Gorzelanny on the other hand can come out of the pen or start.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

"I don't imagine it's going to be a whole lot, based on his career. But let's hope for the best and hope he exceeds everybody's expectations."

@Baltova1,

My problem / issue isn't about "inflating" stats as a fan. Its about comparisons between Lannan and OMG Scott Olsen? Scott Olsen and Gorzelanny? Cubs fans remember this guy, he rescued their rotation when he came out of the bullpen when Zambrano was unavailable and pitched lights out in early April to the end of May. He was injured (finger) and Zambrano returned. He wasn't as effective when he returned to the rotation. But he wasn't horrible either.

Does that sound like Olsen? Did he give us 11 quality starts in 23? And he was so accommodating, such a team player when he was asked to work from the bullpen?

And then comparing this guy to Lannan who is a career #5 starter. Lannan is only an ace on the worst rotation in baseball. Last year his WAR was ZERO. It probably would have been worst had he not had the late season surge.

Gorzelanny is a 1.8 WAR player even though he wasn't as effective when he returned to the rotation later in the year.

Like it or not, for this team? Gorzelanny is almost a dramatic upgrade on the left side over Detwiler/Lannan/Chico. Detwiler has yet to prove he can even throw for 40 innings much less the 140 that Gorzelanny threw? Lannan pitched 143 even after a demotion to AA last year. He is what he is and his ceiling is like that of all the Nats soft tossers: extremely low. Unless / until they all learn the pitching repertoire of Livo, Maya and El Duque they will be lucky to make it to six innings.

And you know its true.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Given what we've seen and endured in the past from the Nats rotation, what's wrong with adding another #4 or #5 starter like Gorzelanny to the collection of similar pitchers already here? The more the merrier so that Riggleman actually has the opportunity to throw out such pitchers every game instead of the #6 or #7 hurlers he's had to trot out in the past. Morris MAY turn out to be a legitimate major league pitcher but it doesn't appear to be anytime soon on the horizon. Based on the frustration expressed in NatsTown about the team that has been put on the field in the past, I don't see how this acquisition isn't seen as a positive small step. Team isn't quite ready for one of those Neil Armstrong small steps.

Posted by: McKinley2 | January 17, 2011 11:16 PM | Report abuse

FIP? WAR? Really?

BTW, you do realize that you're acting as if Gorzelanny never pitched before last season, when he had an adequate year (although he faded at the end). You ignore the fact that he had a negative WAR for the previous two seasons, while Lannan's WAR was 3.0 and 2.8.

So if you think last year represents exactly what these two guys are, then you might have an argument that Gorzelanny is slightly better. It's just that very few baseball people would agree with you. They would look at Lannan's ERA of 3.42 after he returned to the majors and combine that with his work the previous two years and say, overall, he's a better pitcher.

And as for this:
"He is what he is and his ceiling is like that of all the Nats soft tossers: extremely low. Unless / until they all learn the pitching repertoire of Livo, Maya and El Duque they will be lucky to make it to six innings.

And you know its true."

As I said before:

"It's just that you make bold claims about these guys and cite stats (often obscure ones) that support your point and act like that's settled the debate, once and for all."

One last thing to keep in mind, while you're worshipping FIPs and WARs and Ks/9 innings, we've had guys come up with good fastballs (ooh, Garrett Mock 8 K's/9 innings, Collin Balester 6 K's/9 innings). How's that worked out?

In fact, you might say: "Unless / until fastball pitchers learn the pitching repertoire of Halladay/Oswalt/Greinke, they will be lucky to make it to six innings."

And you know it's true.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 17, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"One last thing to keep in mind, while you're worshipping FIPs and WARs and Ks/9 innings, we've had guys come up with good fastballs (ooh, Garrett Mock 8 K's/9 innings, Collin Balester 6 K's/9 innings). How's that worked out?"

Which of those pitched almost 140 innings last year? Which rescued their team when the ace went down by pitching lights out in the rotation. That is something FIP measures to extent. The quality of the pitching independent of the fielding? What was Mock's FIP, Balester's?

LIVO NOT LANNAN rescued this team last year. When Lannan hit the skids along with Marquis. For his team Gorzelanny pretty much did the same thing. That's the difference. Ask a Cub fan dude? Who would they rather have pitching for them? Lannan, Livo or Gorzelanny?

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Gorzelany had his career progress interrupted by poor management when with the pirates. They extended his innings by too much and he regressed but began bouncing back in 2009 and by last year was throwing at speed again. He is not Lannan. He is not Olsen. He has his own story.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 18, 2011 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Too bad for the guy. While he's pitching, the Natinals will make tons of errors and won't score any runs for him.

Poor guy.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 18, 2011 1:03 AM | Report abuse

I am so thankful to have been able to read all the really thoughtful, analytical comments here about the trade, uninterrupted by the negative troll posters.

Not much to add. Just that Gorzelany actually won 14 games for a crappy Pirates team. That took some doing.

Posted by: nats24 | January 18, 2011 1:10 AM | Report abuse

"He does and always will project to the #5 slot in the rotation.


Posted by: periculum"

He was teh Gnats opening day starter two years in a row, probably will be again this year... that's why your team is the lauhging stock of baseball. When even you a committed Gnats fan, says your "ace" should be a #5.

I saw an EXpos cap today at Verizon Center, I actually felt bad for those people in Montreal since they dont have a baseball team and instead have to play near a sewage system in the Anacostia.

Posted by: break20 | January 18, 2011 1:19 AM | Report abuse

"you can hate all you want on how long its taken for the Nats to be a respectable mlb franchise (even tho we inherited a awful farm - blame mlb)

But, I do credit Rizzo & co. by sticking to some sort of plan, athletic and defensive type players. This rebuild is reminding me somewhat of the Caps 4-7 years ago

....The redskins need to take notes from these teams' front office

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 17, 2011 4:20 PM"

Completely different, you don't need a five year plan in other sports the same way one needs it in BASEball. Look at Dolfins from their 1-15 season to hosting a first round game. Look at King James and the Cavs. Ditto with Mister Crosby up in Pitt. Looks like Gnats1924, is stuck in that year...

Posted by: break20 | January 18, 2011 1:33 AM | Report abuse

"In other words, this has to be a short-term upgrade for arguably the league's most questionable starting rotation.

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 4:48 PM"

Substitute questionable for WORST.

Posted by: break20 | January 18, 2011 1:37 AM | Report abuse

"Spot starter? Long reliever? Peri, I thought this guy was our potential #2 starter! The next Edwin Jackson! Two hours later, he's in the bullpen?"

@baltova,

He appears to have done all of that and more for the Cubs. You don't hear any "good riddance" messages from their blogs do you? Most think he did what he was asked to do and was a solid contributor.

The Nats could use at LEAST ONE GUY, ONE PITCHER like that? Don't you think?

Posted by: periculum | January 17, 2011 8:38 PM |"

Too hard for Mr or Mrs Peri to admit he or she is wrong once in a while? Got caught up in your own lie? Talking out of both sides of your mouth?

You can't be BOTH a #2 pitcher and a spot starter?

Have you ever watched a baseball game before?

Posted by: break20 | January 18, 2011 2:05 AM | Report abuse

I,ve seen 3 or 4 RHP-LHP F/A signed by other teams in the last 10 days and the Nats were not in the mix. This IMO is a "do something ANYTHING trade to make the fans think they are Really trying to upgrade their product. IMO this is a ho humm trade nothing else and does NOT really change the the fact that Rizzo just didn't get done what he wanted to get done. This trade IMO won,t upgrade the Nats enough to win perhaps 10 more games than they did last year. ho hummm trades don't don't move the team up the ladder very far.

Posted by: vergens2 | January 18, 2011 4:22 AM | Report abuse

- under control through 2003.
- cheap
- seems to be average MLB starter, which makes him a #3+ for us
- prospect-wise, we have ~20 rated better than anyone we gave up

What's the problem?

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 18, 2011 7:27 AM | Report abuse

vergens, you've seen who get signed?
Jeff Francis? Whatever issue you have with Gorzelanny, there are at least equal issues with Francis. Even in his "good" year he had a 4.22 ERA and a .278 BAA. And that was 4 yers ago.
And that's the list of FA starting pitchers who have signed in the last 10 days.

It is kinda is a ho hum trade. Gorzelanny ain't Bob Gibson, on that we all agree. A "do something ANYTHING trade? Nah. Rizzo don't give a crap what you or me think, he's just trying to do his job the best he can.

But it's another step towards making sure we don't give 53 starts to the likes of Detwiler, Chico, Mock, Stammen and Atilano.

And just noting an obvious typo from goexpos2, under control through 2013.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 18, 2011 8:02 AM | Report abuse

I think that Gorz is a decent add to the club, and the trade cost is not unreasonable. He's locked up for a few years. Lefties often come around to their control later in life for some reason, so maybe he figures it out a little more and supplies real value. Maybe with a fresh start on a club that gives him a more defined role and some more time removed from injury, the guy is a sleeper.

But, depth at starter is not in question for this club so much as expected performance is -- still no Ace, and arguably, no real number 2 at this point either. I feel like every guy we have is a 3 -- Livan, Lannan, Marquis, Maya (maybe) -- some guys who can be expected to throw a good number of decent innings but no one at this point who we can look to and say "that guy has the stuff/reliability to win 15+ games in MLB". With Detwiler being not yet ready for prime time and Wang a quetion mark.

Still some time left and maybe Rizzo makes a move that uses some of the SP depth to get another piece. We'll see.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 18, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I agree dfh21... we have too many guys who don't stand out from the pack, we've upgraded our roatation from a bunch of 5s and DFAs to a bunch of 3s, with the possible exception of Zimm (who can be a 1) and Maya (who, I believe, could be a 2). Still, it is progress. Not like we are inviting Levale Speigner and Daniel Cabrera and hoping they can be our ace.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 18, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I think this paves the way for Detwiler to start the year in Syracuse, a move I endorse 100%. After 20-25 starts for them they'll know if he has the pitch command to make it or not.

Posted by: 3B11 | January 18, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

The critical element in this trade is that Gorzelanny is durable. He's proven to be versatile and can go to the post 30-35 times, if needed. Other than Livo, there is not a member of the rotation that can make that claim of consistency. What that means is that the Nats won't need to go through long stretches with a bad pitcher taking a turn in at least one spot in the rotation. That's helpful in curbing losing streaks.

This isn't Cliff Lee. Gorzelanny won't be a #2 starter, long term. The bottom line though is that the Nats are better after making this trade. This doesn't mean we should should line up for play-off tickets. Simply, it's worth about two-three extra wins, and at least 6-7 more competitive baseball games.

Not to change the subject, but if Alex Cora is on the OD roster, I'll be disappointed.

Posted by: db423 | January 18, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

A proven, versatile LH-SP/RP for three prospects who weren't going to contribute to the big club this year; Yeah, that's a fair trade.

Gorzelanny probably won't be more than a #3-5SP, or LR-Spot starter at worst, but he's a safer bet than the field for making the staff out of Viera.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

SCNats -- I had forgotten JZimm somehow. I think there's little doubt that he has the potential to be a more front end guy, but given that he's very likely going to be limited in number of innings this season; he's likely a year away from being a guy who can really carry the load of a number 2 starter. It would be great for Maya to turn out to be a real find. I remember him pitching in the WBC a few years ago and he looked pretty impressive there.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 18, 2011 9:48 AM | Report abuse

db423, I agree about Cora. Hope someone steps up in ST and keeps him in the minors, if he's on the roster then, IMHO, Rizzo has not done well with the infield backups.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 18, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"He's proven to be versatile and can go to the post 30-35 times, if needed. Other than Livo, there is not a member of the rotation that can make that claim of consistency."

Lannan had 31 starts in 2008, 33 starts in 2009, and even with time on the DL and in the minors he had 25 MLB starts in 2010. That's pretty consistent.

Posted by: FeelWood | January 18, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"He's proven to be versatile and can go to the post 30-35 times, if needed. Other than Livo, there is not a member of the rotation that can make that claim of consistency."

Lannan had 31 starts in 2008, 33 in 2009, and even with time on the DL and in the minors he had 25 MLB starts in 2010. That's pretty consistent.

Posted by: FeelWood | January 18, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Good new blog I found called NatsGM.com... guy has a solid write up of the Gorzelanny trade.
NatsGM.com

Posted by: S2DU | January 18, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The Nationals acquired left-hander Tom Gorzelanny from the Cubs for three Minor Leaguers -- outfielder Michael Burgess, right-hander A.J. Morris and left-hander Graham Hicks -- on Monday, according to two baseball sources.

-Nats Website

I could live with that.

So, 2012 looks like this

Stephen Strasburg
Jordan Zimmermann
Tom Gorzelanny
John Lannan
Yunesky Maya

I could live with that too.


Posted by: hansenjo | January 18, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

I have to say I have been happy witht the Nats moves this offseason until LaRoche and this Gorzo deal. Gorzo is a decent pitcher, but I don't like giving up prospects at this point. Burgess could be another Mike Stanton, and I never want to give up potential power guys. I would rather spend money and get a free agent (Bonderman, Bedard, Maine, etc) than give up potential talent. I think Rizzo is haunted by his own proclamation for a front line starter. And now we are down 3 prospects, 2 of which might be very good. Ouch...

Posted by: JpJp | January 18, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

JpJp, I understand your reluctance to give up prospects, but this tells me that what remained on the market didn't excite Rizzo, and to sign someone just to sign them would be a waste. To get anyone of value we had to give up something of value and with the corner OF positions blocked Burgess seemed a reasonable guy to give for a guy who could be a starter for us.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 18, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Nice job by Rizzo. I think we all need to take a step back and realize that the franchise is not going to contend for a World Series title tomorrow. What Rizzo is doing is systematically rebuilding what was the thinnest pitching staff and the worst team in baseball not 24 months ago. A better starting rotation will mean a better/less worn out bullpen. A better defensive infield will result in fewer runs. Little by little, we are clawing our way to respectability. The offseason FA market for starting pitching was not that great, so instead of overspending on so so arms, Rizzo is shopping in the bargain bin while knowing that JZimm, SS and Maya are likely locked in for 2012. Whomever among the remaining group stands out stays, the rest are good trade pieces down the road.

Posted by: terrapin31590us | January 18, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

The Nats now have 20% of the Pirates 2008 roster.

LaRoche, Burnett, Morgan, Gorzelanny. Nothing says loven' like Pittsburgh on the diamond!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | January 18, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I hear ya SC, I just don't agree. I would only give up solid prospects for a better pitcher. Gorzo is more along the type of pitcher we already have. His suspect control has always bugged me. Of course, eating innings matters, an dhe can certainly do that as a starter. But I think we obtain one without giving up prospects. I think Burgess could be something special in time...

Posted by: JpJp | January 18, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I hear ya SC, I just don't agree. I would only give up solid prospects for a better pitcher. Gorzo is more along the type of pitcher we already have. His suspect control has always bugged me. Of course, eating innings matters, and he can certainly do that as a starter. But I think we could have obtained one without giving up prospects. I think Burgess could be something special in time...

Posted by: JpJp | January 18, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Burgess is not a top prospect. His chances of hitting major league pitching consistently is an open question at this time.

You have Werth in RF and pencil in Harper at the other corner down the road in 2012 or 2013.

If anything the Nationals need to come to a final solution in center field.

Nothing wrong with adding a 28 year old pitcher with decent numbers to the staff for depth.

Gorzelanny's ERA last year was 4.09, Garza's was 3.91.

If the Nats couldn't get Greinke, the next best option was to keep Jordan Zimmermann and develop him along with Strasburg for 2012.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | January 18, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Anybody lamenting the loss of Willy Mo Pena? Burgess would seem to be cut from that same mold. So many want to criticize the Nats for wasted drafts yet wring their hands when Rizzo packages 3 of his minor leaguers for a mid-rotation MLB tested pitcher. To me this is a sign that the Nats are not taking its fans for granted or believing that they can put anything on the field like they have in the past and count on people showing up. This is not a great team by any stretch but that's not what we've been promised. Team has been retooled to be more athletic and better defensively. That plus more experienced arms on the mound should make them better this year -- I don't really care whether that means 65, 70, 75, or 80 wins. I'm satisfied that Rizzo is putting together a team that will look like it belongs in the majors.

Posted by: McKinley2 | January 18, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

So much debate over a trade for a back end starter for loser minor leaguers. I can't wait for something of real substance to happen.

If you're worried about this guy taking the spot in the rotation of the younger guys in the system, then the younger guys in the system aren't worth a damn.

Posted by: BillyBeane | January 18, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Since you know my mantra has always been PITCING PITCHING PITCHING, let me say, I like the trade for Gorz.

While it doesn't drastically change the equation for this season, adding a young solid back of the rotation pitcher for down the road, while really giving up very little, is a positive transaction.

Although it obviously won't happen this season, the Nats next year really need to go out and pick up a veteran pitcher with a winning pedigree, a winning record and sub 3.8 era to really get serious.

But as Nats trades go, looking toward the future, this should certainly turn out to be considered productive. And that's sayin a lot.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 18, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see the "plan" at this point. It would seem that all of this points to Rizzo convincing the Lerners that '12 is the year to go for it. Why else would you trade any prospects? If the case is to push for '12 then not signing Dunn makes even less sense. Everything will have to break right for '12 to be anything close to competiive. Zimmermann, Espinosa, Desmond, and Ramos all have to develop into upper quartile talents. Strasburg has to return unchanged and Harper has to arrive with a bang. That is a ton of things falling just right. Also, this is assuming that none of the tremendous 23-25yo talent sitting on the cusp with the Braves exceeds the Nats talent and that the Phillies age badly. I think that Mr. Rizzo is banking his 5 years and selling some snake oil. The Plan has too many holes.

Posted by: weissa | January 18, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Well......................another non descript pitcher who won't do anything to change this team's 2011 fortunes. I didn't know enough about Michael Burgess to say if this is another example of a kid not given a chance(Maxwell's had a gazillion!)but it would have been nice to give him a shot.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 18, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

He'll win the Cy Young award this year. Just watch.

Posted by: AsstGM | January 18, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I think I'd rather have Corey Brown than Burgess.
He is also blocking slow foot gazelle Burgess.
He's fast, has Burgess ++arm can field run and
yep he hits a whole heck of a lot better and
wait for it! He's a left handed hitter who is
in AAA.

And then? Harper, Hood, and Perez?

Burgess was superfluous and unlikely to
make Rizzo's MLB roster.

He belongs with the Cubs, as a pseudo
DH.

Morris was in the bullpen and the Nats
need starters not relievers. Hicks may
end up as the real loss ...

Think about it? The Nats can actually say
they don't need Burgess. That's progress.

And if Gorzelanny ends up as the ace in
lieu of Strasburg? That is still better than
Livo and still a modicum of progress for
our beleagured team.

Posted by: periculum | January 18, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

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