Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Living on the Edge: Nationals Starting Rotation

C.J. Wilson is the top FA pitcher this year.
 With The Nationals on the edge of being a .500 team, I am doing a series called Living on the Edge. This series will look at the different things the Nats can do to improve their record next year. Part one of the series is the starting rotation.

One of the nationals priorities this off-season, is to bolster their starting rotation. As it stands now, it will be 1. Stephen Strasburg, 2. Jordan Zimmermann,  3. John Lannan, and 4. Ross Detwiler. Chein Ming Wang would be a logical addition, since the team wants him and he wants to come back.

There are problems with this rotation though.Strasburg will be on an innings limit, just as Zimmermann was this year. Also Lannan is the only one who has won 10 games in a season. They could sign Wang who won 19 games twice in his career, but he hasn't come close to staying healthy for a whole season since 2007.

We know CC Sabathia stayed with the Yankees. So there is no use in talking about how he could have helped this team. There are two other pitchers on the Free Agent market that could help the Nationals. They are CJ Wilson and Mark Buehrle.

C.J. Wilson was a relief pitcher as he started out his career. In 2010 he became a starter and won 15 games. This year, he won 16 games. If the Nationals could sign him, they would have a proven top of the order pitcher to go along with Strasburg and Zimmermann. The problem is, it looks like he will be going back with The Rangers.

Mark Buehrle has only once had a ten win season as a starter. Every other season he has exceeded that number. He once had 19 wins, but seems to win 13 to 16 games per year. The last three years he has won 13 games per season. He would be 33 next season, and could be the veteran leader this staff needs.

Roy Oswalt is an option, but he has some issues with his back. Edwin Jackson is available also but he has issues with consistency.

"Jackson has had a wild streak throughout his career. He walked eight in his third major league start, at San Francisco in 2003. He then matched that on June 25 last year, when he finished one shy of the record for walks in a no-hitter as he pitched Arizona over Tampa Bay 1-0."  WashingtonPost

The Nationals have made no secret about their interest in Yu Darvish. “We scout every player that we have interest in,” Rizzo said. “Yu Darvish specifically is a player that has a great talent level." But it might take $100 million to sign him and the track record for Japanese pitchers isn't wonderful.

If the Free Agent market doesn't lead to good results, trades are also available.
"Milwaukee could move either Shaun Marcum or Randy Wolf this off-season -- as both are in the final years of team control -- in their search for a first baseman, shortstop, or third baseman. Any potential move surrounding Marcum, however, would have nothing to do with him being a below-average pitcher. He had a 3.73 FIP last year and has a career 3.77 ERA." Jim Breen

The Oakland A's may be in rebuild mode and looking to trade Gio Gonzalez.
"Trade from A's maybe. Gonzalez won 16 games this year, and has 31 wins over the past two seasons. He’s a strikeout pitcher with the potential to be an ace, but walks are always a concern with Gonzalez. He was ranked 1st in baseball with 91 walks issued, not a great thing. He was also ranked 9th in the AL in strikeouts with 197 over 202.0 innings." Joseph Lopez

There may be some other options out there like Wandy Rodriguez or Matt Cain. The Nationals have a chance to improve their rotation. Some options are better than others, but it is up to Mike Rizzo to decide what option is best and make it happen.

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