Thursday, January 31, 2008

CHEAP!!!!Watch: City Under Seige, Part IXVCLIII

There are several free agent starting pitchers still on the market, but the Nationals are unlikely to pursue those targets, preferring to let a group of pitchers, most of whom are in their twenties, battle for five spots in the rotation.

Note: Mike Bacsik is 30.

(how the hell is he only 30? Doesn't he look like he's about 45?)

Tim Redding turns 30 in a few weeks.

  • Here's what I figure the starting pitcher depth chart looks like. There's not point in picking a 5-man rotation because teams don't use just 5 starters. You need, typically 10 or so to get through a season. The Nats used 13 last year, 12 in 06 and 15 in 07.

    Colon Battlestar
    En. Gonzalez
    Walter Johnson's Corpse

  • While the list is a bit younger than last year's set, it certainly doesn't seem as deep, especially as former unknowns such as Hanrahan (whose future surely has to lie in the pen) became knowns. The team hasn't yet dug up the Simontacchi/Jerome Williams-type warm bodies who, even if they both ended up sucking, ate up some innings, and at least deluded us into imagining a scenario with a sub-5 ERA.

    With the move from RFK to a park that even if it's neutral is going to represent a dramatic increase in runs allowed (my quick and dirty look, which I might expand on later shows that a neutral park would yield, on average, almost 2 more runs per game, split between the offense and defense), the soft underbelly of the pitching staff is going to be exposed like an armadillo after a spinal fusion.

    The idea that the team can't find a spot for one of the scrapheap pitchers left on the wire, someone whose sole purpose is to be cannon fodder, eating those innings when Hill breaks down before the team's forced to turn to The Big Train's corpse or (worse) Bacsik, is pretty silly. I've held my tongue on the lack of movement because I know the team's a strong believer in trying to wait the market out, but if they're not going to make a movement towards any of them??

    Here's a list (probably not exhaustive) of who's left. Yes, they all suck. But they should be cheap. I'm not expecting them to give Kyle Lohse the 4-year deal he wants. That'd be stupid. But it'd make sense to throw a 1-year deal to Jeff Weaver or Kris Benson. See if you can get the aging, soft-stool-tossing Livan Hernandez on a cheap deal, two years, maybe... Freddy Garcia's injured for a while, but see if he'll come on a 1+ an option deal. There are options, if they choose to explore them. Someone's going to take a 1/$5 MM or less contract. Someone's going to get desperate and sign the Tony Armas 1-year, $2 million contract (note to Bowden: don't sign Armas to the Armas contract).

    Signing a vet isn't going to deprive the kids of their opportunities to pitch in the majors. It's just going to ensure that when we get to the bottom of that depth chart that we're not going to have to rush someone who really or add someone to the 40-man who doesn't quite have to be added yet. And if the vet flames out, who cares? Cut 'em and move on to the next stiff on the list. Anything to keep us away from the corpse... and Bacsik.


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