Monday, December 21, 2009
Since the conclusion of the 2009 Major League Baseball Season, Mike Rizzo has claimed veteran left-handed reliever Doug Slaten off waivers from The Arizona Diamondbacks; traded his Rule V Number One Pick to The New York Yankees for right-handed reliever Brian Bruney; signed Pudge Rodriguez to a two-year contract to catch; and today--reportedly--signed right-handed hurler Jason Marquis to a two-year deal worth $15 Million to start for Our Washington Nationals every five days. Four veteran players added to the 40-Man Roster by Our General Manager that improves D.C.'s Major League Club immediately--while not hindering young talent developing in our future.
Clearly, Mr. Rizzo is working his plan. Not only is he implementing Big League improvements, but Our GM is not stopping and standing pat. Reportedly, Our Washington Nationals still have an interest in Jon Garland (maybe even Ben Sheets or someone else), among a host of veteran starters still available via free agency to fill out next season's starting rotation here. The recently non-tendered Matt Capps considers Washington on his short list of teams to bring his bullpen talents. And even Aroldis Chapman, the 21-year old Cuban--considered by some scouts as The Number 1 pick in the first round of any draft not including Stephen Strasburg (if Aroldis were eligible and not a free agent)--is shopping his immensely talented left throwing arm around Major League Baseball. And Washington is apparently in pursuit. There is even talk of adding a veteran middle infielder for 2010.
The signing of Slaten and Bruney gives Washington the ability to not rush Drew Storen to the closer role. Signing Matt Capps would nearly complete a much needed overhaul of Our Bullpen. The addition of Jason Marquis gives Rizzo better options when considering his 2010 Starting Rotation while not pushing Stephen Strasburg. And instead of wondering whether Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen, Garrett Mock and Scott Olsen can all be relied on to make major contributions when given the ball by Our Manager Jim Riggleman this coming spring--Our GM can sit back, pencil in Marquis, John Lannan, maybe another veteran starter that signs with Washington--and then have a legitimate competition for those final two spots. A fight to the finish for The Opening Day Roster--that always makes everyone better. All the while, allowing Stephen Strasburg to find his own comfort zone in the professional game.
Advancement without surrendering Our Future. None of these added players over the past few weeks are signed for more than two years. No one is locked in long term. So, if Washington could find the right amount of money to add Chapman over the next month to our system--then we are looking at a ballclub that could be competitive in 2010 and on the verge of something special beginning in 2011--all because of pitching. A starting rotation of Strasburg, Chapman, Lannan & Jordan Zimmermann is conceivable here in two seasons. A young foursome that would rival any team in the game.
If baseball really is about pitching, pitching and more pitching--then there you have it--ripe for the taking. It would be hard for any team in baseball to match a youthful starting rotation any better than what Our Washington Nationals, potentially, have on their horizon.
Can we please sign Aroldis Chapman?
He is better than any free agent possibility out there and he is controllable for years to come. His addition would give Washington, basically, a Free Number 1 Overall Pick for the second time in five months. And three First Round Talented Prospects over the same period of time (including Storen). That type of young pitching depth doesn't come around too often.
The Future of Our Washington Nationals is not here yet, but Our Team finds itself today better positioned for the short term. And thanks to some low-key yet effective moves by Our General Manager--on the doorstep now of a long-term future built upon a solid foundation of quality pitching--without the debt of a high payroll. Remember, with excess pitching in hand, Mr. Rizzo can then play his trump cards--an oversupply of hurlers--and find the future offensive and defensive production needed to fill out a championship roster.
The potential signing of Aroldis Chapman is a crucial building block that should not be passed upon by Our Washington Nationals. Coming off two consecutive 100-loss seasons, has any Major League Club ever been in such an advantageous position to come out on top? Two Number 1 Picks inked in 2009, another top talent looking to be signed in the Cuban Southpaw. And the Number 1 Pick Overall in the 2010 Entry Draft, as well, waiting to be chosen by Washington. Yeah, Our Washington Nationals Future may not be right now--but it sure could become ever so closer--with just a few more key moves.