The Nationals continue to make no moves while the baseball world writhes around them. The biggest news recently, at least Nats-related, was the signing of Aroldis Chapman to a deal with the Reds. Apparently the Nats were big time in the negotiations, but couldn’t bring themselves to add another year and another $5 M. He’s a 22 year old lefty that the scouts love, but it is unclear just how he’ll do in the majors, it’s pretty well agreed-upon that he needs some work still, and since he’s a Cuban defector, nobody can be positive that he’s actually 22. All that being said, the Nats can be patient with him, it would seem to make sense to bring him in. If he ends up being as good as people think he might be, this will be a big miss for a relatively small commitment.
If the Nats still want a free agent pitcher, there are a few guys available, here’s a quick run down of the ones I can remember today:
Chien-Ming Wang – Still my first choice, of the remainder. He’s only 29 right now, he was great until hurt. Assuming they can confirm he is totally healthy, and with a sinkerballer this may be more than a workout, it may include watching him pitch to actual batters and see what they can do with his pitches, he could still be very very good.
Jon Garland – A ho hum pitcher who had a few big win season, but nothing great. However, he usually lets hitters put the ball in play and is a guy who may do well pitching in the NL East parks (other than Philly) for the majority of his season. He doesn’t strike out many, and walks too many guys to be anything special, but in the right conditions he isn’t bad.
Joel Piniero – Coming of a phenomenal year, Pineiro had fewer walks than starts last season. It wasn’t totally out of the blue, however at 30 years old, the last time he was so good was back in 2002-2003. He is probably the best guy available, and is going to get a nice contract, but his numbers last year may be illusory. Nobody will know until later this year, and by then he’ll be a rich man.
Ben Sheets – A great pitcher when healthy, but he’s never healthy. He’s the kind of guy that should be penciled in as a sometimes ace who may pitch 20 games on a contender and keep your fingers crossed he’s there for the playoffs. But on a rebuilding team looking for someone to carry a load? No, not this guy.
Erik Bedard – Like Ben Sheets only probably not as good and doesn’t have the same track record of being healthy.
Pedro Martinez – He was surprisingly effective last year, but you can’t expect alot of innings out of him. He doesn’t help the team get younger, either. I just don’t think he’s a fit here.
Doug Davis – An interesting idea, and there has been some talk that he is interested. Which probably means he doesn’t have other offers. He is 34 now, and doesn’t really have a good fastball, so he tries to avoid bats. It leads to lots of Ks, but way way too many walks. However, if the Nats want someone to pitch 200 innings, he’s probably a good bet to do it at a better than league average rate. He’s not a bad fit, although they have a guy like this already and may just want to run some kids out there instead.
Jarrod Washburn – Remember last year when everyone marveled at how good he was, in a huge ballpark in Seattle with a great defense behind him? Then he got traded and started to pitch terribly. Keith Law wonders if he’s actually undervalued because he blew up so bad last August and September. He could be a quiet signing that ends up doing better than everyone expects. He is 35 though – maybe they could sign him with the intention of flipping him before the deadline?
Then There’s Some Other News
Meanwhile, apparently some baseball player with giant arms and a million home runs did steroids in the 90s. Shocking, really. I’m pretty convinced that so did everyone else. In fact, my lack of steroid use probably explains why I never made the high school team. Heck, even some of those guys in pee wee baseball were probably juicing. My take on this admission is a shoulder shrug. I think everyone is a suspect, kinda like everyone popped amphetamines in the 70s. The help that amphetamines added may have been bigger than the help that steroids added. I have no idea. I just want baseball to keep this stuff out of the game from now on, and maybe do a better job keeping away the next thing. Meanwhile, it gives me a chance to once again link to the Pud Galvin story. Whatever McGwire did it wasn’t as ridiculous as Galvin, the first 300 game winner.