Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Nationals are one of two teams interested in former Oakland Athletics pitcher Justin Duchscherer.
Duchscherer, AKA “The Duke,” is a two-time all-star whose biggest challenge is staying healthy long enough to be an impact player on a major league club. The track record is there, when Duchsherer is fit to take the mound he produces. In 454.2 career innings pitched he has produced an ERA of 3.13 with a 6.87 K/BB ratio as both a starter and a leading bullpen arm.
His best season came in 2008 when he went 10-8 in 22 starts with a 2.54 ERA.
Unfortunately, over the past several seasons the right handed starter has spent more time on the disabled list than not. In 2007 he missed almost the entirety of the season after getting surgery on his right hip. In 2009 he missed the entire season due to shoulder and back injuries, as well as a reported bout with clinical depression and in 2010 Duchscherer returned to make just five starts for Oakland before missing the rest of the season with a second hip surgery. Talk about a rough go.
However with his past strong performances, he clearly qualifies as the “take a chance on me” type of arm that the Nationals have been all to familiar with over the past several seasons. But with the recent commitment to starting pitching the Nationals have had over the past two seasons, it’s really hard to see how he fits in.
Consider this list of candidates for the starting rotation that will be competing in Spring Training alone:
1. Livan Hernandez – Best pitcher on the club last year, probable opening day starter.
2. Jason Marquis – Struggled tremendously in 2010 but making $7.5 million in 2011, will pitch if healthy.
3. John Lannan – Making $2.75 million in 2011 and loved by the fans.
4. Jordan Zimmermann – Top pitching prospect not named Strasburg, has to get MLB starts this season.
5. Tom Gorzelanny – Just traded away potential outfielder of the future for him.
6. Ross Detwiler – First round pick, only 24-years-old. Too early to give up on him, needs an opportunity to pitch at the MLB level this season.
7. Yunesky Maya – Signed a four-year $8 million contract last year…Nationals would like to get some value out of it.
8. Garret Mock - After a strong spring, Mock had to have season ending neck surgery…will at least be a player this spring.