With one of the best starting rotations in baseball, the Washington Nationals want another starting pitcher. Here is why they feel they need one.
The Washington Nationals are in search of starting pitching.
Sure, you can say every team wants another arm or two to go into next season. With the free agent class being slightly better than the factory rejects closeout aisle at T.J. Maxx this winter, chances are Washington will get their needed starter via a trade.
Now, we know from earlier the Nats have around $20 million in salary wiggle room. They sit at $140 million and do not want to exceed, by much, the $160 million mark they had on the books this year. Within that limit, the Nationals want a catcher, centerfielder and a closer.
As rumors run rampant over Chris Sale and Chris Archer, and others not leaked, the tea leaves tell us this is more than just a check to see who might be available. Somehow, even with nine pitchers fighting for five spots already next spring in West Palm Beach, the Nationals are telling baseball they are not complacent.
If you look at who is on the team right now, it is hard to believe they do not have one of the best all-around rotations in the game. Max Scherzer earned his second Cy Young. Stephen Strasburg, when healthy, is an ace. Tanner Roark’s 2016 changed his career. Even Gio Gonzalez posted a FIP of 3.76. The whole team posted an Adjusted ERA+ of 119.
Pitching, you would think, is not a major issue heading into 2017. A closer is. Moving Trea Turner back to short is. Who will catch come next June is something general manager Mike Rizzo thinks about getting coffee.
Of all the areas where the Nationals are needing improvement, starters do not come to mind. Yet, the rumor mill says otherwise.
Why? Let’s take a closer look.