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Posted at 1:16 PM ET, 01/ 5/2011

The state of the Nationals' starting rotation

By Adam Kilgore

With the Adam LaRoche deal completed, pending a physical, the Nationals are pretty much done with their starting lineup. What about their rotation? General Manager Mike Rizzo proclaimed his desire to add a frontline starting pitcher this offseason, but it appears unlikely that will happen, and the Nationals may be inclined to head to spring training with what they've got.

The best starting pitcher remaining is Carl Pavano, who has been connected to the Nationals all winter. Recently, though, a couple Nationals folks gave the impression the team is lukewarm on Pavano and didn't value him for as much as Pavano was asking. Today, Rizzo tells Boz, in an excellent column, that he has not spoken to Pavano's agent, Tom O'Connell, since the winter meetings in mid-December.

The Nationals have pursued and will continue to pursue a trade for Matt Garza of the Tampa Bay Rays. But that doesn't mean it's likely to happen, and here are three reasons why:

1. While the Rays have six capable starting pitchers, they feel no urgency to deal Garza, a 27-year-old with three years of team control remaining. ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Rays are more likely to trade Garza at the July deadline.

2. There will be plenty of competition. The Texas Rangers, in several reports, have been strongly connected to Garza. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Cubs are close to landing Garza in a trade. (There have since been conflicting reports.)

3. There will be a high asking price. The St. Petersburg Times writes that the Rays aren't budging from their stance on Garza: They would have to be blown away by an offer to trade him. That probably means either Jordan Zimmermann or Ian Desmond would be included, and the Nats don't want to go there.

So it's a very much a possibility that the Nationals will head into spring training with roughly the same starters as they had at the end of the last season. Looking back, you can see why Rizzo was so hopeful to upgrade. Nationals starters threw 889.1 innings last year, second-fewest in the league and about 5.5 innings per start. Those starters had a 4.61 ERA, which ranked 26th in the majors. That, of course, is not good enough.

Even without any additions, though, it would be a reasonable expectation for the Nationals' rotation to improve and pitch more innings. Jordan Zimmermann will have a full season. John Lannan, one assumes, will not spend six weeks in Class AA Harrisburg. Jason Marquis, one assumes, will not have an ERA above 20 and three starts into August. Ross Detwiler shouldn't have hip surgery in February. Yunesky Maya won't have to pitch while dealing with the transition to a new country, culture and language. Chien-Ming Wang might actually pitch.

Now, it's easy to skew optimistic in January. And even those improvements would not lift the Nationals' rotation into the upper-tier, or maybe even the upper-half, of the majors. And it also must be noted that Livan Hernandez, at age 36, is more likely to regress than to improve upon his outstanding 2010 season.

Still, the Nationals seem to have enough starting depth to choose from and a strong enough bullpen to cobble together an adequate pitching staff. These are the 10 starters, ranked roughly in order of how likely they are to fit into the opening day rotation, who will compete in spring training:

1. Livan Hernandez
2. Jordan Zimmermann
3. John Lannan
4. Jason Marquis
5. Yunesky Maya
6. Ross Detwiler
7. J.D. Martin
8. Luis Atilano
9. Chien-Ming Wang
10. Brian Broderick (the Nats picked him up in the Rule 5 draft.)

Even last year, the Nationals allowed 742 runs, which was better than nine teams, including the 89-win Boston Red Sox. Their bullpen should be strong again, and defensive improvements should help that total.

The Nationals will get Stephen Strasburg (and maybe his new beard) back in 2012, and they'll have another whole season and offseason to land another elite starter to pair with him and Zimmermann. The rotation come this opening day probably won't look how the Nationals hoped it would. But if the Nationals went into spring training without adding a significant starter, it would be a disappointment, not a disaster.

By Adam Kilgore  | January 5, 2011; 1:16 PM ET
 
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Next: Nationals begin arbitration process with John Lannan, Michael Morse and Doug Slaten

Comments

It appears that young Master Strasburg may be traveling to the ballpark by horse and buggy in the future. Let us hope he doesn't re-injure his elbow during any barn raisings this winter.

Posted by: mojo6 | January 5, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

From Mr. Toten "leather" Hose @Brue (could be JimBo's alter ego?)

"If it takes three or four singles to score, the pitcher may not have made three or four mistakes, but the ones he did make might have been hit out of the park with different hitters. In other words, if a pitcher throws one down the middle, and he will - if you can't turn that into a homer, you're operating at a deficit. There are power positions because power hitters have certain body types - in other words, someone 6'4" and 240 lbs. usually can't play a middle infield position as well as a smaller guy 'generally' can. "

Okay, please explain the 2010 Padre's who's top power hitter was Adrian Gonzalez. The Rays? Yeah they had Pena as a corollary to Gonzalez. But who else? It's kind of like saying Ted Williams was ineffective or for that matter Ty Cobb?

Bottom line its a NINE INNING GAME. Its why relievers have become so prevalent in the modern game. Pitchers tend to make more mistakes with men on base. Even after getting out of a jam that jam still tends to effect them.

What makes Morgan so effective when he has his game on? He gets on base, has blazing speed and distracts the pitchers from every single base while he is on.

Gap power, doubles can be more effective than homers. They tend to clear the bases IF YOU HAVE TEAM SPEED on the base paths. If you have the two highest OBP guys on base in Dunn and Willingham that is far less likely but it still happens if you happen to have a guy hitting behind them who has gap power and is hitting for a decent BA and OPS or OPS+. Pitchers tend to walk the big power guys to avoid getting hammered. Thus their high OBP's.

So, in the end its more about speed, decent gap power and the ability to hit to all fields and not just pull everything looking for a homer. (See JMax superstar in his own mind.)

Sorry @Brue, again "toten hosen" dude.

BTW, if Riggleman can get 350-400+ PA's to Morse? You will probably have at least four guys hitting more than 20+ homers. At least two close to or over 30 homers. That's 100 dude. Zim, Werth, LaRoche, and Morse seem able to replace Dunn and the Hammer. If Corey Brown fixes his plate discipline and batting approach you might just have a fifth. Now wouldn't you?

Posted by: periculum | January 5, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

>>The state of the Nationals' starting rotation

Somewhere north of Dakota I'm afraid.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 5, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Looking at that list of SP's, yeesh! At best we are something between a disappointment and a disaster -- and I'm thinking that we're a lot closer to disaster.

Unless he's a ton better than last year, we are pretty well off a cliff starting with #5, Maya. And the first 4, we'll have to count on J-Zim finally coming into his own, Marquis getting back to form, and good-Lannan showing up, not that other guy. Oh, and Livan's got to replicate his miraculous '10 season -- or at least not fall too far off.

C'mon Rizzo! Overpay for Pavano, if you must (you just did for LaRoche, apparently). Show the fans, show Werth and R-Zim how committed you are, not what a canny businessman you are!

Posted by: JefComment | January 5, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that the Nats have PLENTY of salary to try and land Pavano. Just DO it. Given that Rizzo's stated top need was SP, I cannot agree with Adam K that a failure to land it would not be a disaster.

I am pleased with the LaRoche signing though, and even more so Werth. I think if the team would pay up for Pavano, we might actually field a very watchable team.

I also think the Slows owe that to their fan base after so badly screwing up by cheaping out since the bought the team. Maybe nobody ever explained to them that having a recidivist 100+ loss team in a new stadium is like having a brand new mall with a leaking leaking roof and constantly overflowing toilets. Ain't nobody gonna wanna shop there!

Posted by: NatsFly | January 5, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Cole Kimball at some point this season?

Posted by: Kev29 | January 5, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Cole Kimball at some point this season?

Posted by: Kev29 | January 5, 2011 1:57 PM

Sorry, forgot he switched to the pen

Posted by: Kev29 | January 5, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the premise of this post.

But I don't think the list is complete. Rizzo has actually been busy collecting starting pitching. Unfortunately, some coming back from injury like Ryan Mattheus.

I think you need to add:
[power pitchers first]

Garrett Mock (another attempt, coming back from back surgery)
Ryan Tatusko (a lefty who led Harrisburg to the playoffs)
Jimmy Barthmeier ( a top power pitching prospect with a mid 90's fast ball returning from TJ)
Brad Peacock (flame thrower but might be headed for the pen?)
Tanner Roark (might be headed for the pen as well)

Tom Milone (lefty soft tosser but pitcher of the year.)
Matt Chico (you just never know til the fat lady sings.)
Erik Arneson
Jeff Mandel

Unlike the past here's going to be a lot of competition for the starting pitching slots in this Spring Training. Nothing is guaranteed unless your name is Strasburg.


Shairon Martis (still young, may be ready?)

Posted by: periculum | January 5, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

First, the Boswell column missed "excellent" by a wide margin.
Also, Jordan Zimmermann will be inning restricted in 2011, probably in the ballpark of 145 innings, so we don't really have him for a full season.

I'm torn on Pavano. The only thing I'm certain of is that it stinks that our rotation is so bad that Pavano seems necessary.

The upside of a Pavano signing is that should take pressure off our bullpen. Nats bullpen lead the league in innings pitched last year. If that happens again, no way we're close to sniffing .500.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 5, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Blyleven to Cooperstown. It's about time.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 5, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Blyleven to Cooperstown. It's about time.

Posted by: JohninMpls

Second that.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 5, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

In 2010, the Nats BP won 29 games. The starters won 40.

In 2011, the team will have to improve by 12 wins to reach .500.

How plausible is it? Among the SPs, Livan won 10 games. Questionable but not impossible that he could do that again. He's a crafty veteran.

Lannan won 8. If he doesn't go into a funk again and get sent down, can he improve by 3 wins?

Zimmermann won only 1 game; he's got to do better in 2011. Let's say he's the Ace-2 that Rizzo wants him to be. Can he win 8 games?

Jason Marquis won only 2 games. Can he "come back" and win 5 games?

Maya did not win a game. Better luck this year? Let's say he wins 4.

That's 17 additional wins. Subtract the 5 wins that Strasburg gave us last year. Now we're at 12 additional wins, and .500 ball.

Hey, if you can't fantasize a little in January, what good is the Hot Stove, anyway?

Posted by: eyestreet | January 5, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@eyestreet: That's a fair assumption about the Starter's win totals, but will the BP win 29 again in 2011? I hope not, if it means that Clippard 'blows' 10 Saves, like he did in 2010.

Posted by: BinM | January 5, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

PANTS, pay Pavano the money!!!!!

"If you build it, he will come."

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | January 5, 2011 2:40 PM | Report abuse

It appears that young Master Strasburg may be traveling to the ballpark by horse and buggy in the future. Let us hope he doesn't re-injure his elbow during any barn raisings this winter.

Posted by: mojo6 | January 5, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I was waiting for someone else to comment on the Stras-beard. My first thought had been "Just say No", but I think your Amish spin was much more on target. I actually yelped a little when I first saw the beard. I was calling it the "scary beard".

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | January 5, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Pavano at 35 had a 17 win season. But for the most part his career has been a disappointment marred by injuries.

It isn't worth overpaying for him.

Greinke or Garza are guys that can help you win for a number of years, which is why they have been in demand in the offseason.

If the Nationals aren't going to be able to deal for these kinds of difference-makers, it's better to sit tight and see if the club can trade for a veteran that costs less and can help the team bridge to 2012.

Then you can be in play for Garza or another pitcher that is worth the price.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | January 5, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Forget Pavano. I would rather give Maya and Detwiler a chance before I overpaid for him.
Instead, how about we sign R. Soriano instead and give ourselves one of the best bullpens in the MLB. And if we have to upgrade starting pitching I would rather trade for Garza since his contract is long enough to justify giving away some prospects (excluding Zimmerman of course).


Posted by: helmthehammer | January 5, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"John Lannan, one assumes, will not spend six weeks in Class AA Harrisburg."

I don't know why anyone would assume that.

"BTW, if Riggleman can get 350-400+ PA's to Morse?"

If that happens, the Nots will probably lose 100+ games. Incidentally, that's far more plate appearances than he's ever had in a season.

"What makes Morgan so effective when he has his game on? He gets on base, has blazing speed and distracts the pitchers from every single base while he is on."

Morgan is a terrible baserunner. He gets thrown out/picked off far too often. As to having his game on, when has he done that? He was a huge disappointment last season.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | January 5, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

By the way, rough few weeks for MASN:
- Jenn Royle reports o's offered 3 yr deal to laroche; o's say no way
- Phil wood says nats are close to deal with D. Lee; oops
- MASN reports Nats still in mix for Pavano; Rizzo tells Bos
he hasn't even talked to Pavano or his agent in over a month.

Posted by: swanni | January 5, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

What do you mean? We have Lee, Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels.

Oops. I was looking at the wrong team :)

Posted by: fearturtle44 | January 5, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, Phil Wood also speculated that Nats would move Werth to 1B in 2012, a ludicrious suggestion then and even more so now.

Posted by: swanni | January 5, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The Nats' rotation is already ahead of where it was this time last year. These were the starters as the 2010 season opened: John Lannan, an injured Jason Marquis, Craig Stammen, Garrett Mock and Livan Hernandez. In 2011, the most likely scenario is Lannan, Hernandez, a healthy Marquis, Jordan Zimmermann and Yunesky Maya. Zimmermann will be better now that he's acclimated to his repaired elbow. And Maya, who was recently named the Dominican Winter League Pitcher of the Year, has already been through the life-changing transition he experienced last year (defection to the U.S., promotion to MLB, new language, strange surroundings, no family, etc.).

Posted by: gibson0 | January 5, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

WOW! The Nats are not doing what they promised for yet another off-season. What a shock. Maybe the sub 8K season ticket holders for the 2011 season will be heard.

Posted by: Batboy05 | January 5, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

The sad thing is that Rizzo is trying to keep his promises but can't because of the Lerners' past neglience.

Posted by: swanni | January 5, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm still confused as to why people think Lannan will revert back to his horrific 6-week stretch last season. He was hurt and he himself said at the start of the season that he was trying a new approach (which admittedly failed). He came back from AA and pitched very well. And look at his two seasons prior to last year and all the guy did was give 6+ innings of near 4.00 ERA (which for the Nats is really, really good).

So in 81 starts (2008-2009 plus Aug-Oct 2010), Lannan pitches 491.1 IP with a 3.85 ERA, yet you want to focus on the 2+ months in early 2010. Whatever.

And it doesn't matter who the Nats have as their starters because Riggleman will pull them after 90 pitches or sometime in the 5th or 6th inning. Riggs HAS to let some of his starters go a little further into the game.

Posted by: erocks33 | January 5, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Of course, one might argue that Rizzo did slightly upgrade the rotation by signing Werth so they won't have to face him 30 times a year.

Posted by: thelonghaul | January 5, 2011 4:27 PM | Report abuse

The Nats certainly have the ability to overpay players and apparently the willingness. Overpaying for Pavano might send a message, but would it be a good baseball move? He's not THAT kind of a pitcher now and is definitely not slated to be in a couple of years, so I think Rizzo is being smart for not going overboard. In a year or two when the Nats are competitive he is probably a bottom of the rotation starter. If he were 30 rather than 35 then it would be a different story. Invest in parts that make sense.

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | January 5, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

>>C'mon Pants! Overpay for Pavano, if you must (you just did for LaRoche, apparently). Show the fans, show Werth and R-Zim how committed you are, not what a canny businessman you are!

Posted by: JefComment

You heard it right here, Pants. If you trot that crew out there, you can kiss 2011 goodbye, and you can probably bank on a new consultant being hired after the season. Do you really want that, Pants? You think Marky Jr. and Ted Sr. will have the same amount of patience as you do? The old man is 85!!!!! Make a trade for an arm, and buy another bat. Do it Pants ~~~ you have our permission. It's ok. I'm ok, you're ok. Ok? Nike, Pants, Nike!!!!!!!

Posted by: Brue | January 5, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

AK -- can we stop the chatter about what the club is likely to have in 2012? We are only 5 days inot 2011. This year is the one that matters most.

They need to either improve on the top 5 in the list by adding some kind of swing and miss innings cruncher, a 15 game winner type, OR they need to add to the bull pen to make it a lock down if the club can get to the 6th. (They should do both, but I will take what I can get from this group.) The latter is easier and cheaper.

They could trade and take on some salary for Carlos Zambrano or Derek Lowe, or they could sign an inings eater FA in Kevin Millwood. Maybe even take a flyer on the big upside of Chris Young. Hell, maybe add John Rauch and Chris Young, almost 13 feet of pitching in 2 guys might be good.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 5, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I do have some optimism that the rotation will be better this year with the aforementioned list of starters, but I would not want the Nationals to hesitate to sign another of their ilk. There will be a loud and exasperating cry of dumpster diving and bad decision making etc.. if they sign a Franics, or Bonderman, or Young but when you have a bad aim its good to have more bullets.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 5, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@Brue: I'm really not with the whole "Pants" deal... Seems like a Letterman thing? IMO, this comment section should be "de-Pantsed" and remain so.

Otherwise, it's nice to know that some others, above, see the rotation as a bit more half full (or "a disappointment") than half empty (i.e., "a disaster").

But I am definitely with you on this: show them the dang money, Mr. GM, and show it for what was supposed to be your #1 need.

Posted by: JefComment | January 5, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

They could make Drew Storen a starter - let's face it, the one strength they have is the bullpen, right? Everybody agree that they're a much better than average bullpen? Consensus? Done. The guy has all the tools. Mentally tough above it all. You'd have to give up prime prospects to get a starter with his filth, right? I mean, all you have is 35 year old Pavano on the market anyway. Look at it that way - if you make him a starter, how much would his trade value increase? Even if the experiment fails - and it couldn't be any less successful than what they've been doing, he throws much harder and sharper than ANYONE ON THAT LIST. Even if it fails, you still have tape of him as a starter, and if you don't think he can develop, I guarantee someone else will think they can fix him and get a bunch of innings out of him. Nothing to lose, everything to gain. It really is that simple imo. All this crapping around with FAs who are traditionally burnt out anyway. C'mon Pants~~~~~

Posted by: Brue | January 5, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"They could make Drew Storen a starter - let's face it, the one strength they have is the bullpen, right? Everybody agree that they're a much better than average bullpen? Consensus? Done. The guy has all the tools. Mentally tough above it all. "

Finally, this might actually make sense except from what I am told and understand he would have to spend time developing in the minors. Minors for instruction. Majors for performance. But, yes, he does have the requisite make up, quality and number of pitches to start. With the addition of up 3 - 5 95-100mph relievers who look liked they to could close it might just be worth an extended look. They need top of the rotation starters and he has the look of a one.

Posted by: periculum | January 5, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

What the hell is wrong with me? I agree with fairfax's last post. And more amazing, what Brue said in his last post makes total sense.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 5, 2011 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Finally, this might actually make sense except from what I am told and understand he would have to spend time developing in the minors.

Posted by: periculum

Just more long tossing and distance running. That's the difference between a starter and reliever when it comes to preparation, and it would all be physical imo. I used to pitch, and I used to coach pitching, and the stronger the legs, the better the wind, the longer the outing. The long tossing stretches the arm out because relievers' arms are invariably tighter because they have to focus on throwing strikes immediately, and if they don't, they're out of the game. I believe he has all the stuff to win by just rolling out of bed. He doesn't need any honing on his pitches, but a changeup is probably the only necessary when it comes to being a starter, it makes the fastball and hard slider work even better.

Posted by: Brue | January 5, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I think that Dunn leaving as a FA hurts a lot more in the signing of potential FA's than Bos will say in the article. Both Derek Lee and Kevin Gregg signed with th O's who having a longer and worse losing culture under Angelos. They must see some Baltimore as a better option over the Nats and it probably wasn't just over money. The O's have made aggressive moves and trades to become more competitive while the Nats have essentially signed Werth and LaRoche (for far over market) while losing Dunn in FA and trading Willingham.

This made us a better fielding team at 1B and in the OF, but are the Nats a better team? I don't think so and neither do any of the starting pitchers who were on the FA or trade market. Obviously, Greinke didn't wan't to come here and saw Milwaukee as a contender. I'm still in the camp that the Lerners are more concerned about making a buck than fielding a competitive team.

Posted by: wizfan89 | January 5, 2011 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"I think that Dunn leaving as a FA hurts a lot more in the signing of potential FA's than Bos will say in the article. Both Derek Lee and Kevin Gregg signed with th O's who having a longer and worse losing culture under Angelos."

Like most astute baseball observers they are likely looking at the starting pitching. Right now, the low budge TB Rays have SIX above average starters. The Phillies, Marlins have excellent starting staffs. The O's is young but has made vast improvements last season.

The Nats lead off with Livan Hernandez.

Its not about Dunn. That just the majority of Nats fans. Its about the pitching ... thus Rizzo's attempt to sell the store for Grienke. Often these moves are interrelated. So, let's say he gets Grienke before the winter meetings. Now, perhaps he gets Cliff Lee to join Jayson Werth? Just with Zimmermann and Detwiler perhaps you might have enough to compete. Along with a stellar bullpen.

Moves can fulfill dependencies required to make other moves. Just being in competition for the playoffs could open a team to previously blocked moves that might have improved them.

Posted by: periculum | January 5, 2011 6:02 PM | Report abuse

So, at this point Brue's notion of converting Storen (something I got hammered for suggesting it when he was still in the minors) to a starter becomes far more interesting and seductive.

If Storen could manage it he could make over .500 less a remote possibility and more a probability if even a couple of the 15 or so starting pitchers get it together.

I don't know why everyone is so hyper focused on Lannan. The guy has been at top of the rotation starter on 3 years of 90+ loss seasons. 2 at over 100. He is not getting the job done because he should be a #5 and should be slotted there.

Drew Storen and his command of five pitches is a horse of another color.

Posted by: periculum | January 5, 2011 6:07 PM | Report abuse

>>Drew Storen and his command of five pitches is a horse of another color.
Posted by: periculum

I was just thinking
two-seam
four-seam
hard slider
slow curve
changeup

All for strikes. The fact that he can get both of his breaking balls over at such different speeds is exceptional. His slow curve is unreal when he drops it in there on the corner. A HALF-DECENT change-up would fry people's brains.

Posted by: Brue | January 5, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

The sad thing is that Rizzo is trying to keep his promises but can't because of the Lerners' past neglience.
Posted by: swanni | January 5, 2011 4:05 PM
-------------------
True words, swanni.

Posted by: BinM | January 5, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

@Brue: Interesting thought regarding Storen as a SP. The question would be, how many of his 5-pitch repitoire are sustainable ML 'plus' pitches? The 4-seam FB is good in relief (94-96), and both the 2-seam & curve have shown bite, but only in one-inning spurts, where he's able to throw at 100%.

He converted to a reliever in College because he felt that was his 'fast-track' to the Majors, and he was right. Getting solid control of a third, or even a fourth pitch while throwing at 80-90% on a regular basis could send him back to the minors for at least a year, if not more. Why would he take that step backward now, unless the Nationals continue to use him in setup roles?

Posted by: BinM | January 5, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand passing on Pavano. Even if they sign him they will still need to sign one more high dollar free agent next year if they are to contend in 2012. Strasburg, Zimmermann and the other 3 are not enough to contend.

Posted by: cr8oncsu | January 5, 2011 7:33 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

I noticed that Riggleman wasn't at all afraid to let Storen go three innings. And that would be because of his pitch repertoire.

I suspect Storen could start and make it past six more times than any of the other pre-2010 starting contingent other than Livo. And that's the question I would ask. I suspect Storen would do better than the others ... even while adjusting to starting.

Posted by: periculum | January 5, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Pavano adds little...... Don't waste the time and money on him....

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | January 5, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

"Both Derek Lee and Kevin Gregg signed with th O's who having a longer and worse losing culture under Angelos. They must see some Baltimore as a better option over the Nats and it probably wasn't just over money."

This baffles me.

We never made Gregg an offer. We didn't want him. Get it? It's that simple.
And Rizzo was fine losing Lee, he knew he had LaRoche. He certainly never tried to counter-offer Lee after he had a firm offer from the Orioles.

Boswell is a dope, and people are putting way to much stock into his self-serving article of this morning.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 5, 2011 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Looks bad, if Lannan is at #3.

I say:

Welease Bwian Bwodewick!!

Posted by: fischy | January 5, 2011 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Outside of Strausberg, the SP is an absolute joke. Why we didn't pick up several SP's this off-season is beyond me.

We will NOT COMPETE until we upgrade

Posted by: Bious | January 5, 2011 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Why not trade Desmond? Is he really destined for anything more than "above average"?

Posted by: 202character | January 6, 2011 12:36 AM | Report abuse

If the choice is spend the money on Pavano or keep it in their pocket I say spend it on Pavano.

Posted by: markfromark | January 6, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

>>Getting solid control of a third, or even a fourth pitch while throwing at 80-90% on a regular basis could send him back to the minors for at least a year, if not more. Why would he take that step backward now, unless the Nationals continue to use him in setup roles?

Posted by: BinM

You should embrace a good idea instead of trying to punish someone for thinking of something that's beyond your scope. He's got four pitches, probably five that he can throw for strikes, and he throws harder than anyone else they have as a starter. You seem to get lost when talent comes into the equation - you try to parse things out and make things seem more difficult than they actually are. You can find a lot of guys who throw fairly hard, but very few with breaking stuff like he has. All he needs to do is command the changeup. It's not that hard. For him.
Lighten up Binm, put the big boy pants on!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Brue | January 6, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

What ever happen to Shairon Martis?

Posted by: JohnWWW | January 8, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

It is likely a good thing that not much optimism exists in Natstown these days. I do have hope for a small step up this year. With Marquis recovered and Lannan seemingly able to fix last years mechanics, Zimmermann that much further along in his TJ recovery along with Detweilers hip problems behind him, these things alone bode for a better outcome for the staff. If Livan can give something closer to last years effort and Maya show improvement...it might not be so bad. Nats and ifs seem to go hand in hand.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 8, 2011 4:22 PM | Report abuse

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