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.

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