Nationals Today – 1/20

Untitled-2THIS MORNING…

The Nationals front office continued a very busy week yesterday as they signed free-agent Jerry Hariston Jr., released starting pitcher J.D. Martin, and officially acquired Todd Coffey and Tom Gorzelanny. While these deals are certainly minor additions overall, the difference between this year and past years is that in late January the Nationals not adding players that every other team had given up on. Instead the club is spending money to stock up at positions that the club considers their weaknesses.

Now instead of picking the lesser of two evils, the club has created a very important factor that will become a major part of spring training, competition.

There will be between six and eight starters competing for five spots in the clubs starting rotation. The bullpen will be full of actual relievers, so starting the season in the pen will no longer be an option for those who do not perform in camp. There are three utility infielders likely vying for one spot. The man who is best for the job will get it.

This competition preaches to the organizational depth that Mike Rizzo has spoken about since he took over in 2009.

Twins Sign Carl Pavano
One pitcher who the Nationals were reportedly courting was the well-groomed Carl Pavano. After what seemed like weeks of rumors where we heard the two sides were close to a deal, the Twins and Pavano finally made it official today, agreeing to a two-year $16.5 million deal.

The Nationals likely dodged a bullet here by missing out on Pavano. His biggest selling points were his strong 2010 season and his great reliability, which he had established after years of being injury prone.

However, $16.5 million is a large investment for a 35-year-old starter who has a penchant for not living up to contracts. Is a starter who goes 17-11 with a  3.75 ERA worth $8 million a year in the majors today? Probably, but do am I confident that Pavano will replicate those numbers again the next two years, not quite.

You Should Check Out…

Beyond The Box Score looks at the top WAR getters from the 2005 draft…guess who is number two overall?

FanGraphs announced their version of the Nationals top 10 prospects…guess who was number one?

Condolences to former National Alfonso Soriano…his mother has passed away at the age of 63.

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