Nationals: Emphasis needs to be on starting rotation

Pitching coach Paul Menhart #55 of the Washington Nationals speaks with Erick Fedde #23 during the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on June 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Pitching coach Paul Menhart #55 of the Washington Nationals speaks with Erick Fedde #23 during the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park on June 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /
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Of the glaring needs the Nationals have to address, finding a reliable starting pitcher should be at the forefront.

There are needs, then there are wants. The Washington Nationals needed to acquire a power bat heading into the 2021 season. They did just that when they traded for slugging first baseman Josh Bell. The Nationals want another power bat before the season begins, and though they have been interested in several players, nothing substantial has materialized.

In his latest piece for The Athletic (subscription required), Ken Rosenthal touched on the Nationals situation briefly.

"The Nationals, after trading for first baseman Josh Bell, want to add a corner outfielder, ideally someone from the free-agent tier that includes Michael Brantley, Joc Pederson and Kyle Schwarber.Marcell Ozuna figures to be too expensive for the Nats, and like Brantley was more of a DH last season. Pederson or perhaps Adam Duvall would be a more logical fit, considering Washington ranked last in the majors with -45 defensive runs saved."

There is that word again. Want. Yes, it would be ideal for the Nationals to grab a corner outfielder with some pop in their bat. If that doesn’t happen, so be it. The Nationals can fill that spot with someone who hits for a better average, even if they have less power. Kevin Pillar or Jose Martinez could fit into this role. Someone on a one year contract. Worst case scenario sees Yadiel Hernandez or Andrew Stevenson step into the role as third and fourth outfielders. Josh Harrison is also on the roster and can serve in the outfield off the bench as well.

Related Story. A reunion with Jordan Zimmermann may be in the works. light

Point being, the Nationals have built in options in the outfield. What they don’t have is someone on the 40-man roster who can slide into the fifth spot of the rotation. This is an area of need.

Erick Fedde and Austin Voth were both given long looks in the rotation last year, and showed they may be better suited for the bullpen. Aside from the four names penciled into the starting rotation already, there is no-one on the 40-man roster aside from Fedde and Voth with substantial starting experience at the big league level.

Earlier in the offseason I was keen on bringing in a second power bat. My focus has now shifted to bringing in a starter pitcher with some experience. We have already made our case for Jordan Zimmermann and could see a pairing with Jake Odorizzi. Jon Lester is aging, yet left handed and an innings eater. Who could be a replacement for Anibal Sanchez. You know who, Anibal Sanchez.

The Nationals will not be in play for Masahiro Tanaka or Trevor Bauer, and while they are sending someone to watch Corey Kluber throw a bullpen session, a lot of questions still remain there.

Buyer Beware with Corey Kluber. dark. Next

High time a few veteran pitchers were signed to fill out the pitching staff, as that may be the biggest need on the roster right now.

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