Nationals Seek Top Starting Pitcher

The Nationals would like to add a leadoff hitter and re-sign Adam Dunn this offseason, but their main priority is starting pitching. GM Mike Rizzo told reporters, including's Bill Ladson, that the team will be monitoring the pitching market this winter (Twitter link).

"We need a front-of-the-rotation guy to put everybody in their proper place in the rotation," Rizzo said. "That's the number one priority going into the offseason. We definitely have depth – prospect wise – to pull off a deal for a pitcher."

James Shields, Matt Garza, Zack GreinkeKenshin KawakamiDerek Lowe and Carlos Zambrano are among the starters who could become available on the trade market this winter. Lowe and Kawakami can't be considered top-of-the-rotation pitchers at this point, but Shields, Garza and Greinke are hard to beat.

The Nationals seem likely to have some interest in Cliff Lee this offseason. Lee will be a free agent, along with Ted LillyHiroki Kuroda and others.

The Nationals will start next season with some combination of Livan HernandezJason Marquis, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Chien-Ming Wang, Craig Stammen, Luis Atilano, J.D. Martin, and Ross Detwiler in their rotation depending on trades and non-tenders. Stephen Strasburg, who wowed fans and opponents alike in his brief big league debut, will miss most or all of the 2011 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

27 Responses to Nationals Seek Top Starting Pitcher Leave a Reply

  1. BravesRed 5 years ago

    Not many “top starting pitchers” on the FA market. Got maybe one #2, but bottom half of the rotation on the others. I checked the market. 1 – #1. 1 – #1-#2.

  2. Tko11 5 years ago

    Zach Greinke?

    • Expected to be shopped around because he made some harsh comments about the Royals ‘Rebuilding Plan’.

      • j6takish 5 years ago

        Well, they have been rebuilding for 20 something years…you would think something would be built by now

        • Sniderlover 5 years ago

          They’ve built Grienke lol.

        • strikethree 5 years ago

          Except he’s the one who signed the extension with the team.

          He gets paid millions to play baseball and yet he complains that the team isn’t good enough?

          • Sniderlover 5 years ago

            He doesn’t like the team’s direction. I mean seriously, they have been re-building for like ever so you can understand the he is ticked and I doubt he is the only one in the locker room.

            Despite getting paid millions, all these athletes want to win more than anything.

          • No, they want the money more than anything. If they wanted to win more than anything, every free agent would sign for the minimum to play for the Yankees. They all want to win, but they want the money. Some will take slight discounts to win, but that’s it.

          • Sniderlover 5 years ago

            They still have to do what’s best for them, their families and their future but they all want to win but you’re right, they want money as well… and why shouldn’t they?

          • NL_East_Rivalry 5 years ago

            The players want to play well and be respected. The best way to show respect is by getting paid. Players want to win and will sign for less to play for those types of teams, but only if they are guaranteed respect. Only way to guarantee respect is to pay big bucks.

          • hoagiebuchanan 5 years ago

            What kind of cosmic ramble was that?

  3. myname_989 5 years ago

    James Shields seems like the best fit. The Rays are going to need to deal one of he and Matt Garza to make room on the payroll, and he could be a very good pitcher in the NL, without costing the Nats too many prospects.

    • souldrummer 5 years ago

      Really hope not. How is James Shields a No. 1 starter?

      • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

        On a young developing team like the Nats, he’d be their best pitcher. Obviously he’s not a number 1 on the Yanks, RedSox, or similar teams.

    • johnsilver 5 years ago

      Shields self implodes and loses his confidence when a couple of base runners get on, or in places where large fan bases are against his team. The guy does not have the grit. If the Nats want a Rays starter who might be available and cheaper salary wise, go with Garza who has much better stuff anyway.

      Unfortunately the Rays are probably going to be looking long and hard to move Shields. Sure, his 4M for next year isn’t too bad, but those option years are awfully high at 7/9/12m from 2012-14 if he continues to regress like he has the last 2 seasons.

  4. cookmeister 5 years ago

    Take Kazmir please. I know he isnt a top pitcher but he could be. maybe.

    • penpaper 5 years ago

      Where do I sign up?

      /sad angels fan

    • wickedkevin 5 years ago

      Maybe a change to the NL would work for Kazmir. Everyone knows he has the talent.

  5. ckdelan 5 years ago

    How are you going to say that Shields is hard to beat? Please read before posting to the front page!

    • vtadave 5 years ago

      Shields has an 8.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. He’s also been hurt by a .349 BABIP that compares to a career mark of .315. So I’d say Ben was right including him in group.

  6. souldrummer 5 years ago

    I don’t really get this kind of talk from Rizzo. On the free agent side, the Nats are not going to be a destination of choice. Didn’t Garland pass over them and they had to settle for Marquis? On the trade side, I have no idea who the magical prospects are that could attract value to the tune of a No. 1 starter. Derek Norris as a catcher and Jordan Zimmermann as a starting pitcher would seem to me the big chips that they would have to deal. I don’t see how dealing those chips for a front line starter makes sense now, though. Nats still seem too far away from contention.

    Here’s what I would do if I were the Nats:
    Set a goal of 78-83 wins for next year.
    1) Plan on Strasburg is your No. 1 starter in 2012. Look for a credible No. 2 or No. 3 starter via trade or free agency.
    2) If you’re willing to go large on salary, sign Adam Dunn because you lack the prospects at first base and you pretty much committed yourself to that path by not moving him for Hudson or Jackson or something of value at the deadline. Picks stink.
    3) Find a right handed platoon partner for Nyjer Morgan.
    4) Trust your position player kids as much as possible. High end projections for the Nats would depend on a large combination of Espinosa at 2B, Ramos at catcher, Desmond at shortstop, and a young outfielder to step up with Willingham playing a full season.
    5) Have a plan to flip Josh Willingham at this trade deadline or move him during the offseason for value.
    6) Develop your minor leaguers well.
    Be interested if anyone else have thoughts on what to do with the Nats.

    • The_Porcupine 5 years ago

      I agree that its kind of rushing things for the Nats to go hard after a true number 1 pitcher. I think a guy like Shields would be a good addition though. No he isn’t an ace, but he’s a solid 2-3 that is more than rotation filler. I also think he’s under contract for a few years, thus he’d stick around. Greinke would fit that bill, but I doubt that the Nats have the prospects to pry him away.

      I agree that they need to sign Dunn. I think the Nats offense played really well when he was hitting in the lineup and that they’ve performed really poorly recently when he hasn’t hit. Unless they can replace him with someone more consistent, I think they’d struggle offensively.

      I’m not sure Nyjer has a place on the team. But if they do keep him, T. Crowe from Clev. might be a decent platoon partner since they offer similar skill sets. I’m not sure Bernadina is an everyday player though, so you might have to look for an everyday outfielder too.

      I also agree that they should just play Espinosa, Ramos, and Desmond full time and see what they have with them. Maybe Bernadina too if you think he’s for real. Offensively the Nats don’t have much coming up anytime soon from the minors, so you have to emphasize developing what you already have.

      Basically any decision they make, needs to be based on its impact in 2 years as well (since that is the earliest the Nats will contend).

  7. Steve_in_MA 5 years ago

    I don’t really see Garza as a legit No. 1 starter. He’s a high-quality competitor, no doubt (someone I’d love in a BoSox uniform), but definitely NOT the top-o-the-rotation, like Greinke. Shields had a bad year by his own standards, so I think he could still be a THAT GUY. But that’s a maybe. Assuming the Reds don’t want to pick up his fairly expensive option, what about Bronson Arroyo? He’s a seasoned and very solid vet that might well be able to lead (as #1 starter) an NL rotation.

  8. Garza would be a number 1 on many teams that are close but not yet contending teams.but i hope he is a ray for awhile.i think they should get someone of the free agent market instead of trading there valuable minor league players they do have bryce harper who i read is the lebron james of baseball whatever that means but he will be good on a team like washington.i want to see them spend cuz there not far off i dont see atlanta or phili as strong next season the mets i think will be same with florida.but you dont trade away your future catcher and a future top starter for someone like garza grienke shilelds zambrano lowe ect its just not worth is pretty dry with the same teams winning we need more teams to compete congrats on the rangers and reds i hope they both get more respect cuz there both really tough well managed teams

    • TaylorNYC 5 years ago

      The whole “Bryce Harper” is the new “Lebron James of baseball” is a slight bit on the exaggeration side. Obviously the kid has some talent and by all means I’m excited to see what he can do WHEN he does hit the Majors, The keyword in that statement being “WHEN”. The kid is only 17 or 18 years old and hasn’t even played 1 game in the Minor Leagues yet. He still has quite a decent amount of time seasoning in the Minor Leagues before hes even a thought as far as being an impact for the Nationals Major League squad. It just gets a bit old when people pull the “Bryce Harper is going to be the best hitter in years.” comments out when the kid hasn’t even played in the low level Minor Leagues yet. I’m sure Bryce Harper is going to end up being quite the talented Major Leaguer but geez lets let the kid grow up a little bit first ok?

  9. With Stephen Strasburg getting hurt it has set us back another year until we are true contenders.

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