Washington Nationals: Six free agent starting pitchers to pursue

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 20: Starting pitcher Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals talks the mound for the start of the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on June 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Scherzer threw a no hitter during the Nationals 6-0 win. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 20: Starting pitcher Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals talks the mound for the start of the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on June 20, 2015 in Washington, DC. Scherzer threw a no hitter during the Nationals 6-0 win. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Washington Nationals Matt Harvey
CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 18: Matt Harvey #32 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the 1st inning against the San Francisco Giants at Great American Ball Park on August 18, 2018, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Matt Harvey

We’ll finish off our list with a potentially unpopular choice after his exploits for the division rival New York Mets. But when you look into it, Matt Harvey and the Washington Nationals could be a nice fit.

After the Mets finally got tired of his recent ineffectiveness on the mound, they shipped him to the Cincinnati Reds mid-season. The change of scenery appeared to do Harvey the world of good and gives potential suitors hope for a rebound.

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After a disastrous eight appearances with the Mets that resulted in a 7.00 ERA, he was able to make 24 starts with the Reds to the tune of a 4.50 ERA including eight quality starts after not having a single one in New York. It’s not great, but all the signs of a rebound were there.

The main issue with Harvey towards the end of his Mets career was that his velocity seemed to fall off a cliff. In 2017, his fastball averaged just 93.8 mph, his slider 88.6 mph, curveball 80.9 mph, and his changeup at just 85.9 mph. But then in Cincinnati, his fastball sat at 94.4 mph, his slider at 88.8 mph, curveball 83.1 mph and the changeup at 87.4 mph. Not quite back to his 2013 and 2015 levels, but a step in the right direction.

Again, we turn to the MLBTradeRumors predictions to gauge the possible cost of the former Mets ace. They have the Reds re-signing him on a two-year $22 million deal, which would make a lot of sense. Teams asking after Harvey will only want a short-term pact in order to see whether he can continue to get back to his old self.

At $11 million per season, it’s hard to imagine the Nationals getting involved. But, it’s worth remembering that Harvey is a Scott Boras client, and if interest in the right-hander is thin, the two sides could work out an agreement, perhaps with a player option for the second year, similar to Matt Wieters.

As was the case with Garrett Richards, the team wouldn’t be paying for him to be their number three. Instead, it would be a low-cost flier with high-upside to try and be their fourth or fifth starter.

Next. A Week as Nats GM. dark

There are several different options for the Washington Nationals in the starting pitching market. Expect Mike Rizzo to explore each and every avenue to get this team back into the postseason.

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