Washington Nationals: Aggressive approach expected to fill rotation need

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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 06: Spencer Kieboom #64 visits Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Washington Nationals on the mound during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on July 06, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 06: Spencer Kieboom #64 visits Gio Gonzalez #47 of the Washington Nationals on the mound during the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on July 06, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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The Washington Nationals have been getting plenty of business done early this offseason. Expect that to continue as they attempt to fill their rotation.

You may have guessed already from the several articles on the subject, but the Washington Nationals are in the market for one or more starting pitchers. Expect the team’s front office to go all guns blazing in their quest to upgrade the rotation.

The starting rotation was arguably one of the biggest reasons the Nationals fell well short of their expectations in 2019. Gio Gonzalez struggled before he was traded, Tanner Roark was too inconsistent to trust, while Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson couldn’t stay healthy.

Based on Mike Rizzo’s approach to the offseason already, he doesn’t seem to be in a mood to hang around and see what develops. With the early additions of Kyle Barraclough, Trevor Rosenthal, and Kurt Suzuki, he wants to get his business done as early as possible.

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The rotation is no different, as earlier in November, rumors emerged about the team’s pursuit of Patrick Corbin but this seemingly escalated on Wednesday. Buster Olney of ESPN reported that the Nats had the lefty in for a visit, which comes after news of his visit to Philadelphia on Tuesday.

But the former Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher isn’t the only pitcher that the Nationals are contemplating luring to the nation’s capital. Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post noted on Wednesday that “Washington has reached out to representatives of all the big-name [free agent] starters, including Corbin, lefty Dallas Keuchel and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.”

While Janes doesn’t mention other pitchers by name, it would be surprising if the likes of J.A. Happ and Charlie Morton weren’t included and would also be good additions to the team. Picking up one or two of those free agent names could arguably give the Nats one of the best rotations in the entire league.

Keuchel and Corbin are likely to be the two pitchers that are above and beyond the rest of the field though and would slot in perfectly as a third starter. Signing either would also give the team an intimidating left-handed presence in the rotation too after Gonzalez’s departure via trade left a rotation full of right-handers.

The pursuit of free agent options also won’t stop the team from exploring trade options for starters. The likes of Madison Bumgarner, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Zack Greinke could make a lot of sense if Rizzo is prepared to part with some valuable prospects to get more financially affordable options.

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Rizzo is a man on a mission this winter as he aims to get the Washington Nationals back in the postseason. This extremely aggressive approach is exactly what Nats fans want to see, so long may it continue.

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