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The rotation minus Strasburg

Aug 30, 2010, 2:47 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jordan Zimmermann will be counted on to anchor the 2011 rotation.

MIAMI — Good morning from South Florida, where the Nationals open a three-game series tonight against the Marlins, hoping to sustain the positive momentum they created over the weekend.

That momentum — three wins in four days against the Cardinals — came just as everyone learned Stephen Strasburg would need Tommy John surgery and miss the next 12-to-18 months. The common reaction to the Strasburg news, of course, was that the 2011 season has probably been flushed down the toilet before the 2010 season has even concluded.

Obviously, the lack of Strasburg atop the Nationals' 2011 rotation will be damaging. But maybe it won't be completely crushing for a club that is starting to realize it has some rotation depth for the first time in a long time.

Four significant developments not involving Strasburg happened in the Nats' rotation last week, and each was a positive development.

1. Jason Marquis authored his best performance of the season, allowing one run to the Cubs over 7 1/3 innings. This came on the heels of a solid start in Philadelphia.

2. Jordan Zimmermann made his return from Tommy John surgery, and while the results five runs in four innings weren't so great, the mere fact he was back on the mound throwing 94 mph without painRead more »

  1. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    I've all but written off Olsen in a Nats uniform. No way they will tender him, and I don't think they can repeat the same cheapo el-switcheroo they did this year. There will be a greater fool out there somewhere. Hello, Pittsburgh!

  2. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    None of the guys listed with the possible exception of Jordan Zimmermann are top of the rotation starters. And may feel he is at best a #3? Livo, Marquis and Lannan are all innings eaters at the back-endMaya may likely be their best bet for finding that at this point. Unless Detwiler finally steps up. It sure seems like they should go outside looking for help.

  3. Dave Nichols - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Everyone is pitching "up" a spot with Strasburg gone. Dunn situation, CF, RF, 2B are all huge question marks as well. Rizzo has plenty to work on this off-season.

  4. WFY - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Has Chein-Ming Wong been written off the by the organization?

  5. joemktg - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    It's a positive look Mark, but it's not a playoff-calibur rotation, even with Stephen in the mix. To get to the playoffs, you need a league leader and two other strong supporters (guys with 15-18 wins). And to get through the playoffs, you need two top-line pitchers. At best, it's a .500 rotation (repeat: at best) without SS. Put SS in the rotation, and you may be competitive but not over the hump.

  6. TimDz - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    Strasburg's injury, while clearly a sucky thing, should not be looked at as a death knell to the team. As a pitcher, he starts about 32 games. That leaves 130 games that he would not play. A bigger key for next year will be the eight OTHER guys on the field:1) Can Desmond reduce his errors by half, if not more than half?2) Will Espinosa be the answer at second or short stop (with Desmond taking one or the other)?3) Will the FO go after a big bat in right field (Werth) or center field (Crawford) or something that at least is viewed as an upgrade?4) Will the team cut Morgan loose (one more bonehead play and this may happen sooner than later)?5) Does Wil Nieves (who?) get resigned or does the team go with Pudge and Wilson Ramos?I'm sure I missed some, help me out here…

  7. sjm105 - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    I am guessing Rizzo will not go after a top of the rotation guy but it would be nice to see him add more "inventory". I think Bernadina has answered one of the outfield situations that Dave Nichols listed but I am not sure which. My thoughts are his arm is so much better than Morgan's that he stay in center and use Nyjer as next years Willie Harris. Hopefully they sign Dunn, Morse keeps playing well, and then all we are left with is 2nd (Espinoza?). Bottom line is we will not contend but wouldn't it be great to around .500 at this time next year?Go Nats!

  8. Doc - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    Morgan wouldn't care for the roll, but on a competitve team his only roll is the next Willie Harris–without any power.

  9. Positively Half St. - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    I hope by some miracle that Wang can pitch for us next year. I expect Wil Nieves to be released, and Scott Olsen to be non-tendered. I look for Rizzo to be more aggressive with free agents next fall.

  10. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Agree that barring injuries or incredibly horribly performances in September and/or Spring training Livo, Marquis, Zimmerman and Lannan are likely 4/5 of the 2011 rotation. That said, it's very unlikely that Livo has anything close to the year he had this year. Heading into this season Hernandez's ERA the past 2 years was:2008 – 6.052009 – 5.44Given the Nats desperate need for a starter that does not overwork the bullpen, it's uinderstandable for the Nats to bring Livo back, but it could get ugly for him next year.Marquis is Livo-light. When healthy, he eats innnings, but pitches to contact and very rarely strikes out anyone. He has had an ERA below 4 once in the last 9 years. He eats innings and gives up runs.Lannan is a left handed version of Livo and Marquis. He pitches to contact and does not overpower batters. He has to be on his game to be effective. That's 3 guys that will give up runs and need batters to hit into outs to be effective. With that staff, defense becomes even more important. As mentioned above, Desmond needs to tighten up defense, but I think this also means that Adam Dunn is not going to be back. Makes no sense to have 60% of the rotation dependent on defense and have a statue at 1st base.

  11. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    "Doc said…Morgan wouldn't care for the roll, but on a competitve team his only roll is the next Willie Harris–without any power."Hey Doc — I had to look back at the article to see what kind of "roll" you were talking about. Cinnamon roll? Crescent Roll? Next time, the word you'll want to use is "role," okay?

  12. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    I don't think anyone beilieves this is a playoff team anytime soon. But assuing that the level of play wesee today continues, next season's rotation looks to be solid and not the liability it has been most of the year. Also getting better defensive paly up the middle is a real possibility as desi matures and we bring up Espinosa. To me the big questiosn are what are the OF what do they do about Morgan and where do they play Bernadina?

  13. jcj5y - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Realistically, I fail to see how the four starters that seem to be "locks" for 2011 are an improvement on the rotation that started 2010. Lannan and Marquis are actually bigger question marks in my mind after their up and down years. Livo is less of a question mark than he was in April, but I think it's reasonable to expect some significant regression from what he's done this season. Zimmermann has more potential than any starter, but no track record. Those four could be the staff of a team that loses 95 just as easily (maybe more easily) than a team that finishes .500. They need to go all-in for Lee.

  14. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    2 observations: I don't see how Werth helps the Nats because of his age. There is no arguing with what he does for the Phillies. The issue involves his age and when that leads to a decline in his productivity. Second observation: I don't think Lee (or any other top-shelf free agent) is coming to Washington until they see a team that is competing and has a chance at post-season play. I'm not sure the Nats could even overpay and sign the Crawfords and Lees of this year's free agent class. Just a thought…

  15. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    jcj5y They are not getting Lee; he is going to get a contract from someone (Yankees) which will make him a long term liability (by that I mean he will get many more years than you can expect him to be effective); he is 32 years old so 4 years at 100 mil would be reasonable but I think he gets 6 or 7 for 160 – 175 from the Yankees. This make sense for the Yankees because they can 'eat' mistakes (Pavano, Kevin Brown etc) but not to any other club. I think that the rotation Mark proposes can bring us to .500 based on reasonably expected improvements from Marquis and Lannan; much better results from Maya and Zimmerman than we got from Atilano and Martin; improvements at catcher (Ramos vs Nieves)and the removal of toxic bats such as Morgan and Guzman. FA money should be spent on decent outfield and maybe 1st base (based on Dunn status) and and improved bench. I would not be opposed to bringing Kennedy back to support and back up Espinosa. They are also not getting Crawford (another crazy contract from the Yankees).

  16. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    @ Anon 11:39 "but I think this also means that Adam Dunn is not going to be back. Makes no sense to have 60% of the rotation dependent on defense and have a statue at 1st base. "You mean that statue that has better range than PUJOLS, TEIXEIRA Loney, Cabrera, Fielder, Glaus, Howard and many more? That statue?I swear… people just go off reputation and don't watch the games or check the stats. Dunn has been an average 1B this year… and at a position where defense matters the least, his bat is the best on the market.

  17. jcj5y - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    The Yankees already have $144 million committed to payroll in 2011, and $73 million in 2014. That's before they sign Jeter and Rivera, which will probably add at least $30 million to those totals. Yes, they'll probably make a run at Lee, but I can't see it being some over-the-top Sabathia-type contract. I'd hate to see the Nats take on an anchor contract too, but I don't think Lee is getting a 6-7 year deal.

  18. NatinBeantown - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    2009 – 59 wins2010 – 69 wins2011 – 80 wins2012 – 90 wins and contentionEveryone above is right when they say that combined, Marquis, Lannan and Livo are essentially .500 pitchers who will eat up 550 innings. Which would be huge for this team, and I like the odds of Z'nn, Maya, Detwiler, and Stammen combining in the other 2 slots to be above .500 pitchers, as well (including 5 starts from SS in September). .500 should be the goal for this team next year, which would be a 22-win improvement in two years. In 2012, we all stop using improvement as a metric and just talk about wins and contention.

  19. jcj5y - Aug 30, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    As for Marquis and Lannan, I don't consider it reasonable to expect significant improvements based on a month of pitching. I'm hoping for the best, but the team should be planning for the worst with those two. Same goes for Maya and Zimmermann. I hope they're both effective next season, but that's far from a guaranteed outcome.

  20. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    OK… Say this out loud and see if it sounds good to you… Halladay, Oswalt. Hamels…. Hudson, Juergens, Hanson…. Zimmerman, Marquis, Lannan…. Something just doesn't sounf quite right.

  21. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    typo… sound

  22. Raff - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    Good post, Mark.Injury and recovery questions hover over all of those guys — except Livo the Ageless Wonder, of course — but with good health, those four plus Strasburg are a playoff-caliber rotation.1. SS is a legitimate #1 starter.2. Zimmermann has the power (>9.0 K/9 ratio in MLB in 2009-2010 and in the minors in 2007-2009) to be a legitimate #2. He needs time to learn the craft, but I'm bullish on his prospects.3. Livo: of course he's not going to dominate batters anymore (his K/9 is low and declining), but he's not going to give out free passes either (his BB/9 is also low and holding steady. So he has to beat you with guile. So what we should be asking is whether his 2010 renaissance is the result of good luck (unsustainable) or something else that's sustainable (such as improved fitness, as Rizzo said)? On the good luck side, his BABIP is about 30 points lower than his career average. But that's balanced out by bad luck: he's only 7-2 with 7 NDs in his 17 starts with Game Scores at/above 50 (Bill James's measure of a quality start). If the Nats had scored enough in four games where allowed only 1 ER, he could've walked away with 4 Ws instead of 2 Ls and 2 NDs. A 13-7 Livo would look like a much better piece of the 2011 puzzle than a 9-9 Livo, no? I'm bullish on Livo, too. (That's probably because I'm a Livo fan, but intelligence and health are huge pieces of the pitching puzzle, and he has both.)4. Marquis might give you 200 innings at 4.50 ERA — about what you'd expect from a #4.5. Ditto Lannan at #5.The earlier commenter who said that, without SS, everyone will be pitching one slot too high is spot-on. But we can hope that 2011 will see good baseball from the home team. (Right?)

  23. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    The old saying is that you can never have enough pitching and based on his first year in the job it appears that Rizzo is always working on plans and back-up plans that include both free agent signings and AAAA pitchersWe are jawing over the obvious questions of just who the team can expect to be effective over a whole season, but some of it is just going to involve injuries and luckI agree with other commenters who look at the Nats and see other problems (lack of hitting and poor defense) that should keep us all cautious from hoping about a contending team yetMark in Arlington

  24. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    Aside from the obvious pitching issue…offensively speaking, I firmly believe a team needs power depth to win in this league as well. Think Phillies. (Braves unique this yr to say the least.) With that, Bernadina at CF could get you 20 homers in a yr. Espinosa looks like another Uggla with a glove. He strikes out a lot but has 28 homers! At CF and 2B, you could have 2 20/20 guys. Desmond, too, has pop. Easy 15 homers. Resign Dunn, and with Zimm, Willingham you have another 80+ homers in the middle of a lineup. The only non-homer position would be catcher. Of course, Ramos, would hit 10-15 in a full season as well. 2012—Harper…who knows. But I like the "pop" this lineup could see with a Bernadina and Espinosa hitting homeruns from postions that typically don't get much…save Utley/Uggla

  25. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    NatsJack, Clearly we are not in the Phillies league just yet but their core is aging and Amaro has traded a lot of their future for the present (which is not unreasonable considering their window of opportunity is now); I think that our team's fortunes will intersect with the Phills in the next 2 years; they will head down and we will head up. The Braves starters are excellent but their lineup – Chipper is not great and Hudson is aging and is having an exceptionally lucky year so they won't be invincible. The Mets have great potential to fail as long as Minaya is the captain of that ship; The Marlins can be scary because of great starting pitching; lots of youth and quality in the lineup and a very smart GM.

  26. md62red - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Yes, 2011 will start with pitching; which is what Mark's article is about. I'm counting on some significant contribution from Maya (hey, why not? He hasn't been injured yet!). My 2011 starting 5 would be: Zimmermann, Maya, Lannon, Detwiler and Marquis / Chien. I think it's reasonable to predict that Livo's performance may taper a bit (here's to hoping he proves me wrong!). I know most of those I've listed have been tapped with the injury bug, but hopefully the Nats can catch some breaks and stay healthier in '11. That being said, the overall performance of the Nats will also be determined by the defensive & offensive make-up of the remaining 8 players. I have more concerns over these areas than I do our 'transition rotation' while SS recovers. One glaring weakness in my opinion is the Nat's bench quality. It seems like with every injury or day off, the Nats are forced to play someone whose best chances can only realistically be described as 'hope'. The middle infield and CF need to be straightened out — offensively and defensively. Morgan has turned into a negative and the SS/2B tandem needs to be settled in on (counting on big things from Espi next year!). As for CA, like Livo, I think it only prudent to count on Pudge's overall numbers dropping. Therefore, Ramos needs to be groomed as Pudge's everyday replacement soon. If the Nats can shore up these areas and find a RF, I think this rotation can get them closer to .500 in '11 and when SS returns in '12 (and who knows, by then a certain RF named Harper just may be ready??), they should be in good shape to vie for a WC spot.

  27. NatsJak in Florida - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    Anonymous 1:37…. I agree with your assessment. The Mets are a mess and will be until they fix their front office, rid themselves of useless contracts and rebuild their minor league system…The Phillies have one more good run in them after this season then their depleted minor league system will bite them in the rear… and the Marlins are the Marlins…poor ownership will hurt them.By late 2012 season we will emerge as a rising team that will be battling the Braves and their excellent organization that builds from within for a playoff birth from 2013 on…My comment on the 3 starting pitchers was meant for next season only and intended to compare the Phillies and the Braves with us.

  28. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    jcj5y, You should know by now that for the Yankees 25 mil a year is a rounding error; if they decide they want Lee they will outbid everyone to get him; same on Crawford. Judging by what they are getting from Vazquez and Burnett and the fact that Pettite's arm will eventually fall off I guarantee that they will be in on Lee for whatever it takes.

  29. A DC Wonk - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    NatinBeantown . . . you make a good point. You can't turn around a team that just had two 100-loss seasons in a row overnight. Even more so in a case such as the Nats, where MLB decimated the team, and, even worse, the farm system. (And a disastrous Dominical Republic venture — thanks Bowden) Further, let's not just look at starting pitching — our relief corps is already vastly improved over last year, and compares fairly well to other teams in the division (even if our line of starters does not yet). If Storen develops into the pitcher we think he might be (and he's showed more promise than J-Zimm), we might be in decent shape to get to .500 next year, and starting to contend in the following year.

  30. Avar - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    Livo, Lannan and Marquis are all likely to make 30 starts and have 4-4.5 ERAs. If that happened it would be a massive improvement to our rotation. If Z'nn is that good or better, it's further improvement. If the #5 spot is even a 5 ERA consistently, that is a huge improvement.Granted, it's a long way from a playoff rotation but SS, Z'nn, and Maya/Detwiler/…give us a shot at one in the next 2-3 years. My point is, it's progress. Significant progress.But it's all with risk, except Livo whose only risks are whether he'll be average again or strong like this year.Still question marks in middle infield and outfield but with people like Bernie, Morse, Espinosa, Desmond showing enough promise that getting to .500 next year is a real possibility.Unfortunately, after 6 seasons of this, 90 losses and last place is easily in reach also. Bit discouraging but I'm still a big Rizzo fan and he hasn't been in charge very long. We floundered under Bowden, now we are progressing. I'll take it.

  31. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:32 PM

    2011 looks like another long season and a lock on last place in the NL east.

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    I believe that's the jist of the posters here. Next year is another one for baby steps with 2012 being the year positive growth with results come to fruition.I believe 70 wins is possible this year with 75-80 wins in 2011 and a spot above the Mets and or the Marlins.2012 should be the 85-89 win mark that pushes for a playoff spot and look out for 2013.

  33. P. Cole - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:54 PM

    Lannan has always been an August/September pitcher. I can't count the number of times he's thrown a gem late in the season (when the games don't matter) and said, "Where was this 2 months ago?"What can the coaching staff do to get this guy in mid-season form by May?

  34. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    "4. Marquis might give you 200 innings at 4.50 ERA — about what you'd expect from a #4.5. Ditto Lannan at #5."You do realize that a pitcher could pitch the definition of a quality start (6 IP, max of 3 ER) thirty three times in a row and achieve 200 innings of 4.50 ERA, don't you? It would only be on the most elite of teams that you'd find #4 and #5 starters capable of pitching 33 consecutive quality starts each. So it's not at all true that this is about what you'd expect from a normal team's #4 and #5 starters. There just aren't that many good pitchers around for that to be considered the norm.

  35. Steven J. Berke - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:01 PM

    Quite frankly, there isn't much in free agent starting pitching this year–less really than there was last year. Look, Cliff Lee is not coming here, any more than John Lackey was last year. If the Yanks don't make him a megabuck offer, the Red Sox or the White Sox or the Angels or the Tigers or the Giants or the Cards will– a team that either is a contender or has been one recently (and his current team can't be ruled out with the new ownership).After Lee the best available starters are Tim Hudson or Ted Lilly, both of whom will be 35 next year. Unless someone like Jeff Francis doesn't have his option picked up, after that you are dumpster diving or hoping someone who's been hurt for quite a while regains his form. We've done enough of both.

  36. Natman - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    Ok, I repeat, this rotation is lousy.Zimmermann is coming back from surgery and to expect him to be a power dominating #2 right now is INSANE. Most teams place a guy like Zimnn in the back of the rotation to ease him in. #3 is even a bit high although reasonable.The justification that Maya is an ace even though he is unproven makes no sense. Who knows what kind of pitcher he will be? Probably a #3 or #4 based on his positive and negative experience (big game but lack of experience and grind in the MLB level). Could be better, could be worse.The rest are back-enders or marginal #5 starters. Livo, by the way, is a marginal #5 and hasn't changed for a few years now. He's just luckier this year (his x-Fip has been stagnant the past few years). Livo was having a .054 BABIP with runners in scoring position for the first 7 starts for a bit there which is unheard of!Lannan too. He's gotten by on being crafty and lucky. His luck hasn't been that great this year. But to call this guy an Ace, which is what quite a few of you were doing is preposterous. (A 4.XX ERA is pretty much what to expect from him).Marquis is a consistent #5 innings eater and a step up from Livo. He is a 4.XX ERA and a 4.XX xFIP who had a bad year. I don't know about you, but an ERA of 4.XX is back-end to me.Olsen is a left-hander with a 4.XX ERA. As Dave Cameron said on 11/11/08 "Olsen’s turning into a pitch-to-contact flyball starter with bad command, and pitchers with that skillset struggle to be anything better than a marginal #5 starter." I think his assessment is apt.Who else? Stamen? Martis? Chico? Martin? It's not quite Mike Bascik, but everybody other than Stamen are probably going to be back-end journeymen in their careers at some point.Having one of the guys I talked about on the back end of the rotation is fine. Even two is ok, but the Nationals have all of them filling in slots that are pretty much above their abilities (because even a marginal #5 could be upgraded). With that in mind, the Nationals will need some offense to be competitive. Personally, I don't think they will spend the money this off-season to accommodate that need, so my expectation is regression next year, not improvement.

  37. lesatcsc - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:11 PM

    At what stage do the Nats decide it's time to get a manager with a winning track record? There is a reason Riggleman isn't fielding offers from the Yankees, Braves, Cardinals or other perennial winning teams. It's because he has no record as a winning manager. And that, quite simply, is because he isn't one. That rotation and the young players that are cutting their teeth now, plus a veteran FA or two might make the ingredients for a good team, but not with the lousy chef they have now. Riggs may be fine for a 95-105 loss team, but at some point you have to get serious and bring in a guy that isn't going to be content with "playing them good" while getting swept.

  38. jcj5y - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:41 PM

    I don't see the point in ruling out a run at Lee on the assumption that the Yankees or another big market team will simply offer him more money/a better chance at competing. If we're talking about a 4-5 year deal, the Nats may well be competitive for all of those years but 2011. And there should be no doubt that the team can offer as much or more money than anyone.Besides, the question is whether the team should make an effort at signing Lee, not whether they will in fact sign him. To me, the Nats have as much reason to make their best effort at signing Lee as they did with Teixeira, maybe even more reason.

  39. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    How much better would the Nats be if Joe Torre or Bobby Cox managed them? Really. 5 or 6 games better? Put Cox or Torre in charge, and we're still a sub .500 team. It is a team sport, and for the most part it's about the players.fpcsteve

  40. NatsFan2005 - Aug 30, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    Natsman: You're on target. This team, under the best of circumstances, loses 90+ in 2011 with the projected rotation. These guys have never produced "up to expectations," and there is nothing on the horizon to give a fan hope that they ever will.Lesatcsc is also correct. Riggleman is 158 games under .500 for his managerial career at this writing, and is a fine manager only for little league, where everybody gets his at bats. Until we have a consistent day-to-day lineup devoid of the Wille Harrises and Nyjer Morgans of this world, the Nats will remain a 90-100 loss team.

  41. Natman - Aug 30, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    NatsFan2005, thats not entirely correct. Livo can have another lucky year, so could Lannan. Maya could be better than advertised. Zimmermann can exceed #3 pitcher expectations. Wang could come back from injury AND be the pitcher he was. Some pitcher not on the radar right now could contribute in a big way. The Nats could get some good bats or some of their hitters could improve. The defense could get better. Anything is possible but there are a lot of if's here at this stage of the "Plan." And relying on the averages of the performance of the players to date, the expected rotation is pretty lousy.

  42. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 8:46 PM

    I'm not so pessimistic about this rotation. As Mark wrote, its not championship caliber without Strasburg, but Lannan and Marquis have been better pitchers throughout their careers and both guys struggled due to injuries this year. I do agree in an ideal rotation Lannan is a 3 or 4 and Marquis is a 4 or 5. Hernandez will be OK. Even in 2009, he had his share of quality starts, but when he wasn't on he wasn't effective at all, hence the higher ERA. Hopefully, we get the Hernandez who has been pitching this year. Zimmermann definitely has top of the rotation stuff. He just needs the experience and Maya is the wildcard. I also hope Detwiler and Stammen are given opportunities for the rotation. Excluding Maya, because I haven't seen him pitch, I believe these 2 guys have the best stuff other than Zimmermann. In the case of Stammen, he hasn't developed the consistency yet, and in the case of Detwiler, he hasn't got the chance to prove himself because of injury, but I really like these 2 guys' potential.

  43. JamesFan - Aug 30, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    Znn, Marquis, Lannan, Livo…That's ok if everything works out but it could be very weak if someone gets hurt or can't step up–as happened this year. We need a solid free agent starter and a closer. I'm not ready to turn that over to Storen. We can't lose ground in the pen.

  44. Anonymous - Aug 30, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    Here is how I view it: We got nothing out of Marquis this year mainly due to an injury; it's not crazy to expect 8 extra wins from him next year; it's not crazy to expect 5 extra wins from Lannan.Zimermann will take some of the starts given to Martin and Atilano but also some pitched by SS so overall maybe he gives us 5 more wins. If Maya contributes something positive compared to what we got from Olsen we should be OK. I am not saying that we will win 20 extra games as the math above may indicate (Livo will regress) but I am saying that there is reasonable potential for a 10 game improvement.

  45. BQ - Aug 30, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. BQ - Aug 30, 2010 at 10:25 PM

    I don't understand what people have against groundball pitchers. I love Strasburg and his strikeouts but getting hitters out by contact is a better art than strikeout. I am completely fine with Lannan, Marquis and Livo as part of our rotation with Lannan as the opening day starter. Like I said in my other post @ Livo's extension, we should build our team around defense. Try to improve our infield defense this offseason.But then resigning Dunn doesn't make sense. I believe Dunn can improve his defense, simply by realizing when to come off the bag to get an errant throw. As far as my understanding goes, most errors we commit are throwing. Zimm and Desmond can work on hitting Adam on the head in the winter, while we get a good defensive 2B. Our infield is #2 – SS Desmond, #3 – 3B Ryan, #4 – 1B Dunn, and #8 – 2B FA. The second baseman has to be really good defensive for us to ignore his offensive production.Two of our OF positions should be anchored by Hammer (LF – #5) and Roger (RF – #6). As for CF, I hope we try to get BJ Upton from Rays as a lead off hitter. Someone can confirm but I think Upton is good defensively. He is also fast so we are not lacking speed on basepaths. I would say a better proven stealer than Morgan. I didn't mean to get into discussing everyday lineup but pitching lead to it.Our everyday lineup may look like, CF – Upton, SS – Desmond, 3B – Ryan, 1B – Dunn, LF – Josh, RF – Roger, C – Ramos, 2B – FA, Pitcher. Morgan and Morse are part of bench. Not sure who can be our infield backups, maybe kennedy and alberto. Bullpen is made of stammen, clippard, storen, burnett, etc.Anyways, I am totally against going after high price FA. There won't be any difference between us and yankees. Crawford, Werth, Lee, etc are all going to ask for 100 million and more. I don't see the point in wasting the money right now.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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