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Rank the rotation candidates

Sep 19, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Tom Milone earned his first career win last week in New York.

Perhaps the most interesting development around the Nationals this September has been the open tryout among a number of starting pitchers seeking to make their case for a spot in next season's rotation.

Davey Johnson is currently using a six-man rotation, with only two of those six names guaranteed of jobs in 2012: Stephen Strasburg and John Lannan. (Jordan Zimmermann, of course, already secured his spot before being shut down for the season a few weeks ago.)

The other four guys getting a chance to audition this month: Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Detwiler, Brad Peacock and Tommy Milone. Each has shown something to suggest he deserves a shot next year, though none has been consistent enough to lock down a spot.

Wang is the most-accomplished member of the group, a 31-year-old who has started 114 big-league games in his career, posting a 58-29 record and 4.17 ERA. He's also made the most progress over the last two months, all but eliminating any remaining questions about theRead more ยป

183 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Andrew - Sep 19, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    The 2012 rotation, on Opening Day:1. S. Strasburg2. J. Lannan l 3. J. Zimmermann4. W. Wang5. R. Detwiler lIn the bullpen: Y. MayaAAA: 1. B. Peacock 2. T. Milone l….

  2. Knoxville Nat - Sep 19, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Are we absolutely certain that Lannan will be here next season? I say that because I think he could possibly be offered in some sort of trade for a position(CF?)player. If that is the case my rotation, barring any FA signing or trade for a starting pitcher, is Strasburg, Zimmermann, Wang, Peacock & Milone with Detwiler in the bullpen or also used a trade piece leaving Gorzelanny as the LH long man along with Stammen as the RH long man. If Lannan stays here he steps in Milone's place who is sent back to Syracuse unless he just beats Peacock out of a job in FL next spring.Certainly is nice to have this sort of discussion after years of not having any pitching to talk about.

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 19, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    It makes it doubly hard to judge these guys when they never receive any run support. I'd like to see how Milhone and Detwiler pitch when staked to a 3-0 lead. I liked what I saw out of Wang yesterday when staked to a lead. The home run hit by the catcher was actually a pretty good pitch that was moving down and in on him but he was able to drop the bat head on it. I like what I see in both Peacock and Milhone and I really like the progress shown by Wang every start. And with even better potential coming up through the system, I like the problem facing the Nats management.No.. I think it's more important to work on the offensive side of the game this off season. The team definitely needs to improve the over all OBP and hitting with runners in scoring position. As stated by others, a couple of our own veteran bats could take some pointers from Marrero and his approach with men on base.

  4. dale - Sep 19, 2011 at 12:35 PM

    Sentimentally, I am rooting for Wang to be here next year. If what Davey observed as an improvement in each successive outing is true then we may have found the veteran for the staff. Of the troika of Detwiler, Milone and Peacock I see them as a toss up. Peacock was brilliant in the five inning start, Milone has the poise and the mind of a pitcher, and Detwiler might just have it all together at last. This September has been different from others in that I am truly looking forward to the start of each of the new pitchers (and Strasburg of course). Watching Milone, Peacock and Detwiler battle this September has been strangley riveting for me. So for grins here is my tentative ranking: 1) Detwiler 2)Milone 3)Peacock (ranked #3 only because he needs one more pitch in his arsenal). If Wang does not sign here then I would be happy to start with Strasburg, Zimmermann, Lannen, Detwiler and Milone in 2012.

  5. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    At the end of every season we all assume that Levo has thrown his last pitch for the Nats and every Spring he proves us wrong. I know that someday this run has to come to an end and I understand all the young talent on the list above him but I would still not count him out. There is something about having a great pitching philosopher who can still eat innings and lead by example. I think having him take the ball every fifth day makes the young pitchers better in ways that defy statistics.

  6. DFL - Sep 19, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    With Strasburg, Zimmerman and Lannan assured slots and Hernandez presumably to be discarded, it looks like Wang is also assured a slot while Peacock, Milone and Detwiler are set to compete for the last slot. Possibly either Milone or Peacock will get the fifth spot while Detwiler will pitch long relief/spot start and be part of the sixth-seventh inning relief brigade that Lannan and Wang require.

  7. dale - Sep 19, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    I echo Natsjack's comment about getting these guys run support. The dearth of offense has been the anchor on us all year. The bullpen should be even better next year (just by losing Slaten and Burnett finding his lost mojo). Switch Werth to center and find a right fielder not named Gomes or Nix or Bernardina. (Harper will not be a starter in 2012.) Davey said in Sheinen's piece that the Nats of last winter had about ten positions to fill, and now they are at the point where they only have about 3 positions open.

  8. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    I'd go with Wang as #4 with Milone or Peacock as #5 with the other as long man out of the bullpen. Detwiler is trade material IMO, if no interest I guess the bullpen is the only option. Frankly, I doubt it will play out this way because I do not think Rizzo will want to go into the year with a rookie starter. I doubt a few of the posters will want to either. If a front line guy is obtained and Lannan is part of that acquisition then maybe.Alexva

  9. Richard - Sep 19, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Very hard to rank them without more data, after Stras, JZimm and Lannan. Wang, Peacock, Milone and Detwiler show promise. (Sad to see Livo go but it looks forgone. Gorzelany too, but he'd be good in long relief, if he'd accept that role.) Again, good problem to have. Bullpen looks promising, too. Stammen has been good in addition to the usuals — Storen, Clip, Coffey, HRod (mostly), Matheus, Burnett, Severino and even Balester at times.

  10. Todd Boss - Sep 19, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the team roll into 2012 with this rotation: Lannan, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Detwiler, Milone. (not in that order).Gorzelanny and Livan as spot-starters/long men in the bullpen.Wang could feature in place of Milone, who I am not convinced is anything more than a JD Martin-esque 4-A starter. Peacock is a future reliever, unless he can develop his curveball more and get a 4th pitch. He may throw 95 but he's not going to survive in the majors as a 2-pitch hurler.my 2 cents.

  11. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    1. Strasburg2. Zimmermann3. Lannan4. Wang5. DetweilerDetweiler because he is a lefty in the NL East. Peacock can stay in the minors one more year.Milone can replace Detweiler if Det manages to pitch his way out of the rotation. Along with everyone else, I hope Livan can stay as long relief/spot starter.

  12. Tim the Enchanter - Sep 19, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    Who are the free agent starting pitchers available?

  13. Joey Flyntz - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    1. Peacock2. Wang3. Milone4. Detwiler

  14. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    Free Agent Starting Pitchers* – player whose current contract includes 2012 option Mark Buehrle CWS Chris Carpenter STL * Bruce Chen KC Aaron Cook COL * Kyle Davies KC Ryan Dempster CHC * Justin Duchscherer OAK Zach Duke ARI * Jeff Francis KC Freddy Garcia NYY Jon Garland LAD * Aaron Harang SD Rich Harden OAK Livan Hernandez WAS Edwin Jackson CWS Kenshin Kawakami ATL Scott Kazmir LAA Hiroki Kuroda LAD Rodrigo Lopez CHC Paul Maholm PIT John Maine COL Jason Marquis WAS Kevin Millwood NYY Scott Olsen PIT * Roy Oswalt PHI * Brad Penny DET Oliver Perez NYM Joel Pineiro LAA CC Sabathia NYY (may opt out) Carlos Silva NYY Javier Vazquez FLA Adam Wainwright STL * Tim Wakefield BOS Chien-Ming Wang WAS Brandon Webb ARI C.J. Wilson TEX Chris Young NYM –from Cot's Baseball contracts

  15. Harper_ROY_2012 - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Rotation Rankings:1 – Strasburg2 – JZimm3 – CMW4- FREE AGENT5 – Peacock6 – Milone7 – Lannan

  16. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    Lannan needs a change of scenery and Davey doesn't favor him. He's arbitration-eligible this year and next (FA in 2014), and at $2.75 million for 2011. I would not be at all surprised if he's traded.

  17. Steve M. - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    NatsLady, COTs hasn't updated in a while. Duchscherer OAK was taken by Balt in the off-season as well as Brandon Webb went to TEX.. Take Chris Carpenter off as he signed a new 2 year deal. The Cardinals may have excercised Wainwright's option. Oliver Perez isn't NYM, is WAS, Marquis is ARZ, etc. Hard to tell when they last updated it which is frustrating to rely on this.Certainly 3 or 4 decent FAs on there and then all the reclamation projects. CJ Wilson may be the bigest name on there besides CC Sabathia. Buehrle has dropped his own stock.I'm still hoping for a new veteran to be brought in as a #3, if not, roll the dice on Wang. Lannan has certainly faded to a #4 or #5:1. Zimmermann2. Strasburg3. #34. Lannan5. Peacock1. Zimmermann2. Strasburg3. Lannan4. Wang5. PeacockI move Detwiler to the bullpen and give Milone more time in the Minors. I also wouldn't be opposed to bringing back Jason Marquis on a 1 year deal + an option. No matter what anyone says about Jason, this team played better when he was a part of it and especially when he was on the mound.

  18. Mick - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    This is fun and after 7 seasons in DC, we as fans can now look ahead to an exciting future. Let ol Mick take a crack at 2012 pitching: I agree with Nats lady that perhaps Lannan could be part of a deal in 2012, short of that: 1. Strassburg2. J Zimm3. Wang4. Detweiler5 Lannan/Milonelong relief: Peacock, Livobullpen:ClipStorenBallestorStammenBrunet

  19. Mick - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    maybe trade Coffey and Mavaor (whi Phil Wood thinks we are showcasing) for a prime time CF lead off man

  20. N. Cognito - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    Other than possibly re-signing Wang, I do not believe the Nats will sign a free agent starting pitcher in the offseason. There's a lot of potential starting pitching in the Nats pipeline and although some of the free agents are decent-to-good, none of them are earth shattering. Picking up a top pitcher, if it were to happen, would most likely be accomplished via trade.I would fully expect Wang to test free agency, even if he does eventually re-sign with the Nats.

  21. Mick - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    God I cant type or spell, lol

  22. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Conspicuous by his absence in most of these comments, and thankfully so, is Yunesky Maya. He doesn't perform, he does it painfully slowly, and his body language is all negative. It's not my money, so this is easy to say, but I'd write him off as a failure and get him out of the system.

  23. Mick - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Anonymous: AGREED on Maya and please add H Rod to that list of GONE!

  24. Sec314 - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:37 PM

    Put me down in the "tired of Lannan" group too. Trade him.I'm still not sold on JZimm either. He seems to crack under pressure and make mental errors too often. I'd put him on a short leash.Wang, however, looks like a keeper to me.Too early to tell with Milone or Peacock, but having seen Milone pitch in person, I'm impressed. The notion of turning Detwiler into a long relief guy made sense to me… but nothing came of that.Let's see how they do these last few games and again next March. 1. Strasburg2. Wang3. Zimmermann4. 5.

  25. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    I would not use Peacock or Milone as long guys out of the pen. They both are too young to write off as starters if they don't make the MLB rotation out of spring training and they'd be better served continuing to start at Syracuse than working on their tans in our bullpen. For Detwiler, on the other hand, I wouldn't rule out the long-man role. He might be getting to the point where if he's not figured it out by now, it might not happen.

  26. Mick - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    hey gang, how about Marquis in 2012??

  27. Steve M. - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Mark Z. wrote…Detwiler is the most-hyped pitcher in the mix, the sixth overall pick in the 2007, a left-hander who can hit 95 mph with his fastball. But he remains something of an enigma, unable to sustain success deep into games and unable to help the Nats win as much as he'd like (his career record is a paltry 4-14).Thats the image I have also. The 95 mph he throws seems to be reserved for 1st inning apprearances and relief stints as he fades into the latter innings. He just isn't fooling anyone by the 4th and 5th inning. NatsJack brings up a good point about run support. These pitchers could pitch more to contact with larger leads as you saw with CMW yesterday. Still, I favor Component ERA (ERC) to really see how the pitcher is doing and the sample sizes are still too small on Peacock and Milone to make any determination. Wang is 4.26, Detwiler is 4.49, Lannan has dropped to 4.51. NatsLady, I ran ERC for all players at 60 innings of work or more to see how the Relievers are doing, and the new #1 is Tyler Clippard as he surpassed Venters.http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/pitching/_/league/nl/sort/ERC/type/sabermetric/order/false/minip/60

  28. Steve M. - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Mick said… hey gang, how about Marquis in 2012?? September 19, 2011 10:41 AM Read my comment at 10:26 on Marquis

  29. Drew8 - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Regarding Jason Marquis: In the words of that famed scout, Freddie Mercury –No, no, no, no, no, no no! Jason Marquis has a career ERA of 4.55! Awful.

  30. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Sorry, something went wrong with my previous comment, it was filled with blank lines. Reprising:Steve M– yeah, I saw Marquis still listed as with the Nats and knew COTS was not updated, but posted it to give some idea.Yup, Clip is #1. Also in WPA (Win Probability Added). I assume his DIPS (Defence Independent ERA) is higher because of the 10 homeruns?I can't figure Detwiler out either, but if you trade Lannan then you want Detwiler or Milone or a trade/FA lefty in the rotation. Sent a question to Klaw, would he still pick JZimm over Clip if the All-Star voting were held today? He blasted the choice in July. Don't know if he will answer…

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Steve M… not only does Detwiler fade strength wise as his pitch count increases…. his command fades as well. His last outing was a little bit better but he really needs to build strength if they are set on starting him.And I agree that any help veteran wise to the pitching staff will come via trade unless something really crazy happens with Sabathia.One thing to remember is C.C. really enjoyed being able to hit when he was in Milwaukee.

  33. A DC Wonk - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    My guess is Detwiler for that last spot, only because he's out of options, isn't he? And let Milone and Peacock start in AAA — and bring at least one of them up mid-season when/if one of our five isn't cutting it.(If Detwiler is not out of options, then throw my guess out!)

  34. Steve M. - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Harper_ROY_2012 said… Rotation Rankings:1 – Strasburg2 – JZimm3 – CMW4- FREE AGENT5 – Peacock6 – Milone7 – Lannan September 19, 2011 10:15 AM Remember, Lannan doesn't have options so if you don't play him you have to trade him so he won't be #7 in any scenario. Your rotation and mine are in the minority on Detwiler. I just can't see knowingly putting a starter in there who would burn out your bullpen. I think we all believe Wang can go deeper into games. Unfortunate what happened to Wang in the 7th inning with the 2 run HR but he got through it giving the Nats a chance to win.If the Nats brought in a FA as a #4 and annointed Wang the #3 and traded Lannan, that would be a decent scenario if they got good trade value for Lannan. For those who forgot John Lannan in June went 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA and batters combined for a .220 BA against him. Since August 13th, he has gone 1-6 and all the goodwill he built up is now called into question.

  35. Analytical Nat - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    The problem with Detwiler is between his ears. I don't see a game plan from him. There are four quadrants to the plate. Detwiler seems to only use two of them. And when he comes to the fifth and sixth innings, he's used up his quadrants. He never uses, never uses the other two. By the third time through the line-up he should be mixing all of the quadrants. He's still not a pitcher, just a thrower. Also, none of staff operated with any run support all year. That affects all of them.

  36. Wally - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    I would love to see them add a quality SP, but it is a weak FA crop, and I would not sign a FA unless he was confidently better than Milone/Detwiler/Peacock. To me, that means only CJ Wilson, Edwin Jackson or possibly Buehrle. Maybe Dempster, if he declines his option. I am assuming that CC and Oswalt don't make it that far.Trade market is always possible, and looking at some of the teams rumored to want to decrease salary, CWS, CHC and TAM have some guys of value. Depends on the cost. If they get one, I would put Lannan 5th and let the others fight it out for 5th. That is a pretty good rotation.We also need at least two bats, imo. RZim and Morse are the only two regulars that have acceptable rate stats, and asking/expecting improvement out of the other 6 just seems unrealistic (a few others have wRC+ around 100, which is average, but we need more plus guys).

  37. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Re: Marquis. Mixed feelings. He wasn't a good fit in Arizona, being a ground ball pitcher in a team with that unbelievable outfield (I mean, the players). Also, he seems to fade after July. And I didn't like him playing with a broken leg in his last game–totally unnecessary heroics and could have hurt that catcher he hit plus adding to his own injury. He certainly got the benefit of good run support here, but do you really attribute that to his personality, or just dumb luck that the Nats' meager offense woke up occasionally and he happened to be standing on the mound?Speaking of run support, although Riggs was clearly in the wrong in Baltimore, that scene–rank insubordination, and public at that–still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. OTOH, I doubt he could stir up much trouble with Davey, but who needs it from a marginal pitcher? So I guess it'll be a "no" from me.

  38. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    @Grandstander, I now see what you mean about fan behavior in the "good" seats (in which I never sat before except once in a rain delay). So I am midway in section 133. Wow, constant up and down the aisles for the first four innings, including the vendors. Tall guy in front of me stood up for a solid 3 minutes rearranging his wallet after paying for beer.Wang's fans, however, were not guilty. A clutch of them were in the next section and they only held up their flags and banners at the beginning when he left. They stayed for the rest of the game.

  39. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    …at the beginning AND when he left…

  40. Steve M. - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros may be a decent trade. He is a solid #3 and a lefty and the negatives is he has a big price tag and will be 33 years old.Gorzelanny and Lannan could both be traded so that may serve both teams well.DC Wonk, Detwiler has done great in the bullpen. Definitely could be your spot starter on an emergency basis, long man or 7th inning guy. The re-emergence of Burnett makes the bullpen's needs somewhat different than a month ago.NatsLady, Marquis is a 1st half pitcher and that hasn't changed, you can trade him again on July 31st. By then, Milone can come up and possibly someone else will emerge out of the Minors. I still hope they can do something with Shairon Martis. I hear they are going to let him walk. He really turned his career back around this year.

  41. Analytical Nat - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    NatLady said…Tall guy in front of me stood up for a solid 3 minutes rearranging his wallet after paying for beer.LOL.If you sit in the good seats the best seats are in the middle of the row. That way you can see over the people in the aisle. Also, the nuisance people with the the jumping beans in their pants taking 16 trips a piece to and fro from their seats have the options of using both aisles instead of climbing over you every time.

  42. ty - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    I am not so sure that Lannan is guaranteed a spot on the rotation. However, he had a good season this year and will be a very good no 5 starter anywhere else. Also, before you trade him, you have to be sure of what you have in young replacement (either milone or peacock) unless you are replacing him with one of the better FA available (Wilson, Buehrle or CC). You dont want to go into the season with a young starter only to realize that he is not ready yet and needs to be sent back down. Also I could see us going after Yu Darvish, but I guess he would first have to do some time in the minors if we land him so he may not be an option yet when the season begins.

  43. Big Cat - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Put me on the "trade Lannan" list. John is a hard working average to below average mlb pitcher. He has faded this Sept. I like John and his work ethic, but feel he is as good as he is ever gonna get here. On the flip side, you put John with a team like the Yankees or Phillies and he could win 15 gamesAm over Detwiler. Byei think Peacock is gonna be a stud. Barring a disaster in spring training, pencil him in as my #3 starter, with Wang at #4 and Milone at #5. Milone has earned his spot with 3 superior seasons in the minors. He has adjusted every year to his new surroundings and feel he will do the same in the bigs. His last start was very good. Velocity isn't everything. There is much to be said about hitting your spots and changing speeds

  44. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Steve M., agree on Wandy Rodriguez. If he could win 11 games for Houston–! (I know, I know, win/loss we don't look at, but if you count it for Marquis…).Age and price are a factor, but he seems durable, doesn't miss his turns. It's apples to oranges, but I'd much rather have him than Marquis.Don't know if the Astros will go for it, though, even on a 2 for 1. They've stripped their team pretty bare, not a lot left. Would have to see what the rest of their rotation looks like for 2012 and don't have time right now. Doubt they want to lose 100 again.

  45. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    ANat– I was in the middle of the row, but I am short and it didn't help. I carefully waited until the people on the end went for food/bathroom and then I did also. Would not like to be trapped in those seats in a sellout crowd. (26K yesterday, which is manageable.)

  46. Mike Hall - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    If you look at the history of this GM, they'll give the spots to veterans and call up guys with less experience when needed–a strategy I really like. Previously, we'd have a rotation rounded out with young maybes and potentials, and we'd have to then revert to bigger maybes from the minors when we needed to. This GM fills out the rotation with cheap guys with experience and then when we need to go to the minors, there's greater quality.So Strasburg, Zimmermann, Lannan, Wang and Detweiler (or a cheap veteran if Detweiler has options) would make sense to me.

  47. jd - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    Steve M. If you look at Lannan's career you will see that what you see is what you get. Overall he's the same pitcher year after year (if not month after month). He's definitely good enough as a bottom of the rotation type but as he gets a bit more expensive you wander if Milone can do the same things for less. There is absolutely no reason to anoint Peacock as anything other than a bottom of the rotation guy just yet. As far as Wandy, Marquis et al. they are not better than Wang but probably more expensive. So to me you go: 1)SS 2)JZ 3)Wang 4)Lannan or Milone 5)Peacock I am with you as far as Detwiler; set up guy.

  48. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    I use to be in the get rid of John Lannan camp. I use to always say that he's a number sixth pitcher in a five man rotation. Sure he's regressed a little the later third of the season, but he like all of the pitchers with the exception of Jason Marquis has suffered from a lack of run support. John could have easily had two or three more wins with a few more runs from this anemic hitting team. Without looking up the stats for the Nats' hitting I'd bet they average only 5.5 hits a game, a mean of 5.5, and the highest mode being 5 hits. Over the long haul, Johnson, Young, Koufax, Gibson, Clemens would struggle to win here…

  49. Steve M. - Sep 19, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    NatsLady, I am not a W/L guy as a primary determination; however, Wins are what gets you into the playoffs and our pitchers were so run support challenged this year that you have to disregard it. I start at ERC, ERA, and WHIP and jump into it and then intangibles.Marquis isn't great in any of those until you come to wins so he isn't at the top of my list but again could be a stop-gap so you aren't rushing Milone and Peacock. Keep in mind that Strasburg will be gone in mid-August so you will need help in the Minors anyway.Wandy Rodriguez is good in all those categories, wins, ERC, ERA, WHIP. My only criticism is he gives up too many HRs but of course that is accounted for in his ERA. I wanted Buehrle before and maybe his issues were over-use. He put in a lot of tough innings on a team with big internal problems much like the team Wandy plays on.Rizzo has to pick up a solid veteran in my opinion. The best case scenrio would be to allow Peacock and Milone get more time in the Minors and work more on their secondary pitches.Maybe it is more like this:1. Zimmermann2. Strasburg3. #34. Wang5. Lannan/Peacock/Milone

  50. Section 222 - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    If Wang signs with us, he'll almost certainly be the 4th starter in the rotation. Seems like Detwiler has an inside track to the #5 spot because he's out of options. That leaves Milone and Peacock back in AAA again, but ready to come up if Detwiler or Wang falters or injuries intervene. Milone probably gets the first call because he's a bit more seasoned, having spent all of this year in Syracuse.It seems pretty clear that we now have 9 MLB ready starters (including Gorzalanny and Livo), which to me means that one or more could be dealt in an effort to put together an offense that can actually score runs. I hope we do that. There was another time when we had a bunch of seemingly promising young pitchers — Stammen, J.D. Martin, Lannen, Martis, Mock, and we didn't do anything with them. A few years later, only one has panned out and we couldn't get a bag of balls for the others.I don't expect that any of the young starters who don't get the No. 5 spot will end up in long relief. Gorzo and Livo provide good options for that role, but can we really afford to keep both? That would mean only four other relievers (Clip, Storen, Burnett/HRod/Matheus/Coffey/Severino) in a 6-man pen, which Davey seems to want to go with so he can have that extra hairy-chested bat on the bench beside him. I think it's more likely that only one of them stays.All in all, a pretty promising 2012 pitching staff if injuries don't take too much of a toll.

  51. Another Andrew - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    JZim, Strasburg, Wang, Peacock and a Free Agent/Trade.Lannan needs to be traded and Detwiler will need to go to the bullpen.

  52. NatStat - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    The real issue with any of the options for the rotation, is jump-starting the Nats' offense. Yankee hitters have made a lot of average pitchers big winners for years.

  53. Theophilus - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Am pretty much in consensus w/ Nats Lady. No Lannan. Sick and tired of tuning in late and finding the Nats down three runs in the fourth. Just as much as y'all want to see how some of the Nats' pitchers do w/ some run support, it would be equally nice to see how some of the hitters do if they don't feel they have to hit a three-run homer to get back in the game. My guess is Lannan is no better than the #5 on any other team in the NL East. And those are the teams the Nats need to beat. Try to upgrade next year (but don't buy any mediocre FAs) or wait for help to arrive from the farm system. Trade Lannan; trade him now; do him a favor and trade him to San Diego, which is probably the only park he can pitch in.That opens up one spot for Peacock or Milone. Unless Milone repeats his last performance in his next start, I'm not impressed — he's no Greg Maddux (Mike Maddux, maybe). He's earned the opportunity to compete for a spot but he doesn't have enuf stuff to pitch anywhere but on the corners, every time out, every pitch.I don't think you want to start the season with a rotation with two raw rookies. So pencil in Wang for one spot and let Detweiler, Hernandez, Gorzellany, Stammen, etc., be a placeholder until help arrives.

  54. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    NatStat said… The real issue with any of the options for the rotation, is jump-starting the Nats' offense. Yankee hitters have made a lot of average pitchers big winners for years.Wang is one example. In his two 19 win seasons with the Yankees didn't he have an era of 4.00+ ?

  55. Steve M. - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    Section222 and others, I wouldn't worry so much about Detwiler being out of options because he can always be a reliever. I think this "tryout" has shown he is great for 3 to 4 innings. He hasn't been consistent and it is time to move on.With that said, put him in the bullpen. As he gets older maybe he can put on some size and increase his endurance. If he were a starter, he would put too much stress on the bullpen I believe, and I don't see him better than Peacock and Milone.

  56. Laddie_Blah_Blah - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Interesting comments. I think Rizzo has enough pitching talent on the 40 man and in the minors to use some of them for trade bait. The Cardinals, for example, really need pitching help if they are going to contend next year. My guess is that Rizzo holds onto Wang to start as the no. 3 behind SS and JZim next year. I hope he trades Lannan and/or Detwiler and goes with the younger guys at the 4 and 5 slots in the rotation. Livo will probably be available to resign as a starter if either of the young guys does not work out during ST.Don't leave out Matheus or Kimball for the pen next year, either. Rizzo could trade anyone from the pen not named Clippard, as we saw last year when Storen was in the trade mix.I don't think even Rizzo knows who will be here next year outside of SS, JZim and Clippard. He has the luxury of wheeling and dealing from pitching strength in the off-season knowing that Robbie Ray, AJ Cole, Mike Purke, Alex Mayer, Sammy Solis and, perhaps, even Jack McGeary are still in the pipeline and some are only a year or two away.

  57. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    It doesn't matter what the rotation is. without getting men on base and when they get on base, driving them in, this team will remain stuck where they are. I think it's critical for Rizzo to find some bats this off season…

  58. Mike Hall - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    In 3 of the 4 years that Lannan has been a full-time starter he's had an ERA south of 4. That's a valuable commodity in MLB, especially at $3 million or less. If he were a free agent with those numbers, he'd sign for more as Marquis did with worse career numbers. Keeping Lannan is a no brainer.

  59. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    1. Zimmermann2. Wang3. Strasburg4. Lannen5. Peacock

  60. David - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    I vote for Wang and Milone, with Peacock starting the year in AAA… I think Milone is mentally readysentimentally I want to see Lannan stick around long enough to be on a winning Nats team. But if he struggles to start 2012, I could see him getting a quick hook to the bullpen for Peacock.

  61. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    J Zimm should go to the Clipp school of get strikes when you have "bad luck." (BTW, NOT the Livo school, because when Livo doesn't get a call he throws batting practice.)One advantage of being at field level was seeing the look Clip gave Davey when Stanton tried to buy first base. (Clippard has hit three batters in his entire ML career, none this year). This was after the ump blew two strikes, and Stanton should have already struck out.Davey starts to come out and Clip says, "No, skip, I got this one," and Davey turns right back.So McKeon comes out, and the umps argue among themselves, and eventually, and I mean eventually, they send Stanton back. Clip doesn't like having his time wasted and he blows Stanton away on the next pitch. Stanton slams his bat down (apparently they don't eject people for that anymore). Goodbye. Inning over.

  62. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    NatsLady said…Stanton slams his bat down (apparently they don't eject people for that anymore). Goodbye. Inning over. Good sportsmanship.If all the Nationals slammed their bats, slammed their gloves down for every miss the umps have called this season, they wouldn't have a team. On average, they miss seven or eight strike calls every game right over the plate. Sometimes hitters have gotten two or three strikes not called strikes in an at bat, so golly gee Stanton get a grip…

  63. SpringfieldFan - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    I'm not ready to assume anything: Wang or Livo being re-signed, Gorzelanny being traded, everyone being healthy in ST. Can't do it, and can't rank without that info. Ask again in 4 months.

  64. Section 222 - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Steve M, you may be right about Detwiler. He's had a long time to prove himself. I just don't see Rizzo making the decision to turn a 1st round leftie into a reliever quite yet. One thing to keep in mind is that with Strasburg on an innings limit, there's definitely additional value in having a few guys in the pen who can go more than one inning. As I've said here before, I'd like to see Strasburg limited to 5 innings in order to have him available for longer in the season than JZnn was. With any luck we'll be fighting for a WC spot next September rather than auditioning starting pitchers for 2013.And now for a word from our sponsors — I'm looking for one more shareholder for our season ticket group for 2012. The seats are in section 314, row D, seats 13-16. Right behind home plate with no issues of people wandering the aisles and interfering with your view. $760 for 40 tickets. Lots of flexibility as to how you use those tickets — 4 games of 10, 20 of 2, etc., or any combination thereof. Very congenial group, and lots of other benefits. Email me at Section314not222@gmail.com if you want more info.End of commercial.

  65. Steve M. - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    UNTERP.NAT said… It doesn't matter what the rotation is. without getting men on base and when they get on base, driving them in, this team will remain stuck where they are. I think it's critical for Rizzo to find some bats this off season… September 19, 2011 12:16 PM For those concerned about the offense watch Rizzo on his interview over the weekend on the MLB Network. As he talks about LaRoche returning to form pre-injury, you can tell Rizzo is smart enough to see where the problems are.This team is a lot closer to contending with a few good moves in the off-season. My biggest concern is Danny Espinosa. While he is out of his deep slump, he still isn't hitting well in key spots. His swing and miss at fastballs and K/9 is not acceptable. I know the great WAR and the great 1st half he had, but the key word is "HAD". Can he get back to what he was in the 1st half? I think part of Danny's issues as well as Morse's issues is the lack of days off. 162 games is a marathon. Still, the need is to add clutch to this lineup. Do you add a new CF for leadoff or leave Desmond and get a high OBP corner OF and move Werth to CF. If the team can put together a .340 OBP guy at the top of the lineup, Werth in the #2 with his high OBP, there will be many opportunities there for Zim, LaRoche and Morse. If not, Desmond since the All Star break is .281/.331 and that would actually work if he could continue that.It still comes down to clutch when you have RISP.

  66. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    I can't see Lannan, Milone or CMW making the 2012 rotation if a reasonably solid free agent starter is acquired in the offseason. There just isn't room. Detwiler may be an enigma but he is ahead of Lannan in Davey Johnson's mind and its why he asked for him from Syracuse. He was the best pitcher coming of ST 2012.I don't know where you get the idea that Lannan is guaranteed a spot. He's not. For one thing he is absolutely the worse pitcher against the Phillies of every pitcher the Nats have. Bar none. And who do they compete with in this division first and foremost? The Phillies. They need pitchers who ostensibly give the Nationals a chance to win against the Phillies, the Braves, the Marlins!!!, and the Mets. Lannan and MIlone do not appear able to fill that requirement. CMW is still borderline if he were somehow able to get back the 94plus on his sinker as in 2007 then you'd be talking about him rounding out the top 3. But I don't see it.Meanwhile, back at the ranch, there's a guy named Matt Purke who just happens to have a spot on the 40-man. There's a guy named Solis as well. Both are left handed power pitchers. There's no room for Lannan as he doesn't pitch relief. You've got Gorzelanny to act as the left-handed long man? I'm not sure where the polished Milone fits then? Stammen looks to be a guy they want as the right handed stand by and long relief. Rizzo has to take some of what he has in his collection and make some canny trades in the offseason and be less reluctant about it. In the past the cupboard was pretty bare. Now, it is brimming but it still needs that ubiquitous TOP top-of-the-rotation starter that Rizzo and Ted Lerner pursued last year. (See Grienke.) They must make that deal this year somehow, someway because John Lannan is just the ticket to a last place to third place finish especially if he pitches against the Phillies.

  67. JaneB - Sep 19, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I still want Livan, and I think he still adds value somewhere in OUR club. Not someone else's. That's all I have to add. And, yeah, I'm in the tank for Livan. But he is still an innings eater, he is a better DH than we have had on the bench most of the year. And he is a true leader. Okay. Now THAT's all I have to add.

  68. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    222, thanks for the offer but, as noted in a previous post, it's hard for me to plan on season tickets or buy single games in advance because1) I only like to go to ballgames if the weather is warm (rain is ok).(Also, due to work, can only go on Sundays, Saturday nights or holidays, which is probably when everyone else wants to go…)

  69. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    It still comes down to clutch when you have RISP.It comes down to BEATING the Phillies as well as the Braves and Lannan has proven over 3 years that he is completely unable to do that.

  70. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    Who does Livan replace Jane? He has already blocked too many top prospects? He has blocked Craig Stammen. He has blocked Bradley Meyers. Thank god for Riggleman's idiotic pique else we likely would not get to see Peacock!!! And we finally got to see Severino who doesn't look half bad. You need to stop thinking like JIm Riggleman, its why this franchise was not making progress in the majors while making huge progress in the minors. Riggleman would have started Livan and played Pudge and that would most definitely have further crippled this franchise.

  71. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Actually, they've done reasonably well against the Phillies so far, considering the disparity in talent–it's the Marlins who keep taking their lunch money. And any given starter is going to see the Phillies maybe, what, 3 games a year, maybe four? You don't build a roster based on four games.

  72. John C. - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    There are too many variables to figure out the rotation for next season yet. But finally they are good variables for the Nationals. Given that he's been so good this year, and that Stras is on an innings limit, I'd have JZim start Opening Day. This may also let them line up Stras to pitch the home opener. :) Beyond that, it's all a muddle. Too many variables – for example:1. The Nationals may trade from their positions of depth in the organization (pitcher, catcher, middle infield) for a CF/leadoff type. Potential targets are Grady Sizemore (if the Indians don't pick up his option), Denard Span and Michael Bourn (in the unlikely event that the Braves don't offer him arbitration). Both Sizemore and Span are risks since they have to prove they are healthy. A kudo from me to Rizzo for walking away from the Span deal before the deadline.2. If the Nationals decide they really need thump in their lineup, they may go all-in for Prince Fielder. Think Adam Dunn, but 5 years younger. It will probably take more than 5 years to get him though. If the Nats do sign Fielder, add Morse to the trade chip file unless the Nationals can get a top defensive CF to cover up for Morse's lack of range.3. Having left handed starters in a division with lefty-heavy teams in Philly and Atlanta is a good thing, which argues for keeping at least 1 and possibly 2 of the Lannan/Detwiler/Milone troika. Forget Sabathia, he's likely to opt out because he knows the Yankees have to pay whatever it takes to keep him – but that means the Yankees are keeping him. Buerhle is a possibility, but he's been shaky lately and there is a general assumption that he's staying in Chicago, going to his hometown in St. Louis, or retiring. C.J. Wilson is a possibility, but has his own risks – would you be getting the guy from 2010-2011, or would you get the guy with the undistinguished career up until then? 4. Whither Wang? He's saying all the right things about wanting to stay, but that probably just gets the Nats a right of first refusal. How much would you really want to invest in a guy as an veteran innings eater when he's only had 8-10 starts over 3 seasons?5. How ready are Harper, Rendon and Purke? They are the big stories to watch for the Nationals in the AFL. None are likely to start 2012 in DC, however. Not for Super 2 reasons, because they all are already on ML contracts. But how close (or far away) they look ripples through other decisions.6. The ultimate wild card for the rotation is Yu Darvish. He's young (just turned 25), throws hard, and is dominating Nippon baseball like no one ever has. Unlike signing a free agent, there's no draft pick cost – just money. And it's not clear how much money either. There's a lot of hype, but the record of Japanese pitchers in MLB is checkered at best.So Rizzo & the Nats will navigate through the possibilities. Remember for any trade, the other team has to think that they are getting good value. It amuses me when I see posts about getting Brett Gardner from the Yankees or Felix Hernandez from the Mariners for a pile of mediocre players and unproven prospects. Not going to happen. The same is true for free agents – every other team in MLB will be looking at the same market. That's why so many teams have been locking down their starters.So my take is – play through the offseason variables, bring the rest to camp and let them fight it out there. The team will probably need at least 8-10 starters over the season anyway.Of course, it's fun to talk about :D

  73. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    a kudos. Kudos is singular. Means laurel wreath.

  74. someguy - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    I'm considering going to the game on the 25th and buying a pair of tickets from the guys reslling them outside. Is this a good idea, or is there too much risk of getting ripped off? Also, do they typically have decent seats available, or justupper level stuff?

  75. baseballswami - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Still think JZ needs to be number one – SS probably has better stuff, but it will be his first full season ( and even then, not a full season). I think his control of his emotions is better than it was last year, but will always be a challenge for him. Combine the first (almost) full season with the pressure and hype of being the number one and I think maybe it needs to be the guy with experience. After that they can compete head to head ala Halladay and Lee. I like how that sounds!!

  76. rogieshan - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    1. Strasburg2. Zimmermann3. WANDY RODRIGUEZ* (trade w/Hou – for Detwiler, Bernadina & Norris)4. Wang5. Lannan*Bullpen -1. Storen2. Burnett*3. Clippard4. Gorzelanny*5. Mattheus6. Hernandez7. Peacock (swingman)

  77. Section 222 - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    NatsLady — If you think you'll end up going to 15-20 games next year, we should talk. Lots of flexibility in our group. Choose games at beginning of each homestand.

  78. Steve M. - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Anonymous said… Detwiler may be an enigma but he is ahead of Lannan in Davey Johnson's mind and its why he asked for him from Syracuse. He was the best pitcher coming of ST 2012.September 19, 2011 12:58 PM Of course he was great in ST. He got to throw lights out for 3 innings generally in innings 4-6 when he was facing bench guys and AAA types. Keep in perspective, it was 3 inning stints.That is why this "tryout" is a better indicator of what you have with Detwiler. A solid 5 inning starter is what he is until he can show the consistency and endurance which you see when he has extra rest.I predicted before his last outing he would throw a gem as I figured the extra rest would do him well. Then as he got into the 2nd and 3rd time thru the order Detwiler fell apart and it really had to do with endurance and his ball flattening out.

  79. Steve M. - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    rogieshan said… 1. Strasburg2. Zimmermann3. WANDY RODRIGUEZ* (trade w/Hou – for Detwiler, Bernadina & Norris)4. Wang5. Lannan*Bullpen -1. Storen2. Burnett*3. Clippard4. Gorzelanny*5. Mattheus6. Hernandez7. Peacock (swingman) September 19, 2011 1:34 PM Peacock won't be going to the bullpen but I like your rotation. I wouldn't trade Detwiler as I would give them Lannan. Rizzo should get that trade done sooner than later if he can. Bernandina and Lannan would probably do better with a fresh start somewhere else. Hopefully you don't have to throw in Norris.

  80. Astros, if the sale ever goes through - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    3. WANDY RODRIGUEZ* (trade w/Hou – for Detwiler, Bernadina & Norris)We don't want those guys, but we'll take Peacock and Espinosa.

  81. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    someguy–you pays your money and you takes your chances, but as a rule, they don't sell cheap seats.

  82. Wally - Sep 19, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Wandy is better than what we have, so I would be ok with him, depending on prospect cost. Still, when it comes to a SP or a CF, I hope that they shoot higher.Some guys on my wish list, just speculating about trade possibilities from teams that the media suggests might be looking to unload salaries:Jeff NiemannJames Shields (big cost in prospects)Matt GarzaRyan Dempster (player option)John DanksGavin FloydI would favor the AL guys; often there is a boost to a guy switching leagues, especially going AL-NL. Shields would be ideal, but I doubt that I would be willing to pay Tampa's price for him, and there will be a lot of competition.John C – Super 2 can still be a consideration for guys on MLB contracts. (Many speculated that Stras was called up last June to get beyond Super 2 status). That just means they are on the 40 man,and you have to start burning options. If they actually have salaries spelled out for all of those years, then you are right. I don't think any of our guys do.

  83. whatsanattau - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    It seems traitorous to suggest Livo or Lannan not be part of the rotation. I've always been a big Livo fan. Lannan could be a 13-14 game winner if the team could score runs. I love the promise of young players so I want to root for Peacock and Milone – heck I want to root for Solis, Purke, and Meyer too. But here's my top five and starting rotation: Zimmermann, Wang, Strasburg, Peacock, and Hernandez. On the trade block: Lannan, Detwiler, Gorzelany, and Milone. When teams call to trade this winter I would guess Detwiler, Milone, and Solis names will come up a lot. As always the question is what do you get in return. At the end of the winter they need to have another starting outfielder, a lead off hitter with high on base average, a hairy chested (and productive) bat off the bench, and a utility infielder that can hit. Use the rotation surplus to get that and you can plug almost any of the candidates into the fifth starter role. You just don't want to have 4 fifth starters….

  84. JamesFan - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    Quality starting pitching has been the greatest surprise of 2011. Had we had a lineup with some guys who put the ball in play instead of wiffing or a leadoff hitter, this team would have easily been .500 or better.The Nats cannot stand pat with pitching, however. Stras will still be recovering and will have limits next year. Zmn-OK; Wang-resign for two years; add Malone, Peacock; move Lannan; put the rest in the pen.We still need a high quality starter from outside to be a contender, and I expect the Nats to contend next year. So, Mr. Rizzo, there's your task: find a .300 hitting leadoff man, find a top quality starter. With that we will contend with the Phils and Atlanta.

  85. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    I would trade Lannon.

  86. JamesFan - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    The reasons I like Peacock and Malone for the starting rotation are (1) they throw strikes and have good control of their pitches, (2) they've already dominated in the minors (3) they don't seem to blow up when things get rough. This contrasts to both Lannan and Detwiler who have constant struggle with strikes, run out of gas early and blow up when things get rough. From what I've seen so far, we have a couple of jewels in P&M>

  87. N. Cognito - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Anonymous said… "I would trade Lannon."We'd have to acquire him first.

  88. David - Sep 19, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Totally agree with James Fan. What I don't understand is people not taking Milone seriously as a candidate for the rotation. With his AAA and AA numbers, he really projects to be a #3 starter, not a #5. Forget about how hard he throws. He gets people out, and has terrific command.

  89. Arms And The Man - Sep 19, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Here's a comparison of Milone's and Lannan's minor-league stats ( http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=milone001tom vs.http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=lannan001joh ). The year Lannan turned in as a 22-year-old should serve as a reminder of the gulf that separates even AAA from the Majors for finesse pitchers.Peacock and Wang are, in my opinion, the two from the list with the high ceiling.I very much doubt whether Detwiler will ever move beyond his "unrealized potential" status, unless it is within a relief role.

  90. Nats Outsider - Sep 19, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Strasburg will be in his first year back from TJ surgery. Just like JZimm, he will have his innings limited. In fact, given how protective the team is of Stras, he will probably have an even tighter leash than normal. That means the Nats need to plan for *six* starters rather than the normal five. Perhaps they will begin someone (Detweiler? Milone? Lannan?) in long relief, planning to ease them into the rotation. Or they may continue to do what they are doing now, which is to have a six-man rotation. Either way, I believe that any list of five starters is probably wrong. Think instead in terms of five plus one or plus two.

  91. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    someguy– from the guys selling outside: you will get a valid ticket (not counterfeit). They either sell extras they buy right there (which could be good seats) or resell "giveaway" seats (nosebleed seats that the club uses for promotions like the food/toy collections).

  92. Tim - Sep 19, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    I know Rizzo has wanted to add a frontline starter, but this offseason, IMO, should be different. The rotation looks pretty solid, albeit will struggle again with consistency, because of youth and coming back from injuries. It looks like (assuming 12 pitchers):1. Strasburg2. J. Zimm3. Lannan4. Wang5. MiloneLong relief – StammenMid – SeverinoMid – MPHRodSet-up – BurnettSet-up – Coffey or FASet-up – ClipCloser – n' StorI think Detwiler is good trade bait. He's young with potential. Couple him with Flores and someone on the farm, and I think we could get a decent return.Our FA market focus needs to be on a leadoff bat… and there's not much of a market out there for that. I'd still love Bourne, but it would take a pry bar to loosen him from Atlanta. Other than that, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bourjos of the Angels on the Nats next year. BTW, just say 'no' to Reyes.

  93. Gonat - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    Astros, if the sale ever goes through said…3. WANDY RODRIGUEZ* (trade w/Hou – for Detwiler, Bernadina & Norris)We don't want those guys, but we'll take Peacock and Espinosa.____________________________No trade then. LOL

  94. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    I know that the team is building to contend in 2013, but it is at least possible that next year's squad will be able to make a run at the playoffs. (Of course, almost everyone will have to play to his potential, which is certainly unlikely. But the fact remains that, for the first time since 2005, next year's Nationals have a legitimate shot at making a playoff run.)That gets me thinking . . . With Strasburg on a strict innings limit, the last thing we would want to do is shut him down at the beginning of September right when we're locked in a dog fight for the wild card. Perhaps, instead, the team would want to try to spread out his innings over the course of the season, to keep him available down the stretch and into the playoffs. So maybe, what they could do is have Stras make his first five starts or so, just to see how the team looks a month into the season. If the playoffs look like a real goal, maybe you go to a six man rotation — not each starter going every six games, but rather four starters each going every fifth day, and the final rotation spot alternating between Strasburg and whoever is our sixth best starter. Keep that up over the long stretch of season, abandoning it only (a) if the Nats fall out of contention, or (b) when we get to the final stretch run. If my math is right, that would allow Stras to move into the full time rotation late in the season and be able to make some starts in the playoffs if all of the stars align and we actually get that far.Is that crazy?

  95. Gonat - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    The team to the North made a big mistake by rushing 5 youngsters to the big leagues.Rizzo can't rush the young pitchers and can probably take Peacock or Milone as the #5 or neitherbif they keep Wang and Lannan and sign a quality Free Agent preferably a lefty.Buehrle or Wandy sound like an upgrade.

  96. Gonat - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    Anon, very tough to ration innings for Strasburg. The Nats have a favorable April schedule so they should start well. What they did with JZim made the most sense.

  97. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    I am one of those who will be please if John Lannan is trade.Milone has more composure than Lannan.Detwiller has more stuff than Lannan.Gorzelany is as good as Lannan.BUT Lannan is a better trade bait. So, trade him for good and we'll not lose on the mount with three lefties that can give us more than he could.

  98. baseballswami - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Re: the Clippard story — I am surprised at how little we know about this guy. He was our all-star, he is awesome – anything else? Why does he not get attention? Losing team? Not that I mind him flying under the radar, though – don't get me wrong. His mental make-up has to be tough as nails – this story shows it. Often posters will say that someone on our team needs to throw something, have a fit, show some emotion – I kind of get that, but, I have noticed that our team is very well behaved. Is that because Rizzo looks for even-keeled guys? Even though you might want to see that occasionally, I am proud of the way our guys conduct themselves. Jayson got hosed on a call yesterday and then just walked away. Do teams get reputations? I know the Cards are big whiny, combative babies. Maybe in the long run the umps give you a longer leash if you are known for being good sports? Or is our team too nice?

  99. Knoxville Nat - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    whatasnattau,Your rotation has five right handers and no lefties. Are you really okay with that in this division? I'm thinking we need at least one LH pitcher in the rotation for some sort of balance.

  100. Theophilus - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    People who see Livan doin' long relief are smokin' a rastafarian sacrament. The guy — bless his heart, but he's run his course in DC — takes 80-85 warmup pitches before he starts. What's Johnson supposed to do? Get him up in the bullpen in the bottom of the first (home games)?

  101. Section 222 - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Anon 4:12 — I'm with you on the goal, but not the plan. Znn started 26 games this year, and pitched 161 1/3 innings. That's an average of just under 6 1/3 innings per start. If Strasburg instead averages 5 innings per start, he could start 32 games. That would let him pitch deep into September. (Lannan leads the team in starts so far with 31.) Every game he starts and pitches 5 innings is a game we have a decent chance to win. Unfortunately, it's just not workable to have a 6-man rotation until the September callups. For one thing, you don't want to deprive the team of having its best starters pitch every fifth day. For another, you need that slot for a bench player. Davey has said he admires the Phillies' 11 man pitching staff, but it's alot easier to have a small bullpen when you have four stud starting pitchers who on any given day can go 8 or 9 innings. I think our best bet is to have 5 starters and 7 in the bullpen, but include at least two guys (Gorzo, Stammen, Livo?) who can regularly pitch more than an inning in order to team up with Strasburg when he pitches and make sure you don't use up his innings too quickly.

  102. rogieshan - Sep 19, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    David said, "What I don't understand is people not taking Milone seriously as a candidate for the rotation."I would be pleased to see Milone in the rotation. However, I have a hard time believing the team will go with more than three young (two full seasons or less) starters if it is hoping to contend next season.

  103. Theophilus - Sep 19, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    Addendum: When people talk about "improved" and/or "quality" starting pitching this year, they're talking only about the ERA — important but not everything. Zimmermann is the only starter (Marquis having left) averaging more than six innings per start. In the meantime, Burnett's arm is falling off, Storen is running out of gas, and Clippard is probably setting himself up for a bum arm next year. "Quality starting pitching" means getting more than fifteen outs. If Strasburg, Peacock and Milone are in the rotation next year, they are setting themselves up for more of the same if not worse. I would prefer the Rangers model where Nolan Ryan doesn't baby his pitchers and has five guys with more than 165 innings.

  104. baseballswami - Sep 19, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    Where is Clip in relation to other relievers around mlb as far as innings this year? Is he way up there? One thing about Clip – closers don't pitch much when we are losing, Clip is in there no matter what the score says. He and Drew didn't look out of gas their last time up. Drew got a very long rest recently where he only pitched 3 times in two weeks. Clip is older. I think the 2 Braves phenoms have a ton of innings this year. I feel like we are the only team that frets about that kind of thing.

  105. SilverSpring8 - Sep 19, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    1. Jason Bergmann2. Tim Redding3. Garrett Mock4. Odalis Perez5. Shawn HillWha?!? … sorry, I was having flashbacks there. Let's try that again.1. Strasburg2. Zimmermann3. Detwiler4. Wang5. PeacockBullpen: Livo, Gorzelanny, Coffey, Clippard, Storen, plus one or two more from the following: Mattheus (if healthy), Burnett, Slaten, Rodriguez or free agent.Trade Lannan for whatever you can get.Start Milone in Syracuse, where he can be ready to come back to the bigs and take over for Detwiler if needed. I'm still waiting for Det to put it all together for a full season.DFA Balester and Maya.

  106. A DC Wonk - Sep 19, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    baseballswami said… Re: the Clippard story — I am surprised at how little we know about this guy. He was our all-star, he is awesome – anything else? Why does he not get attention?I think in part because attention goes to the guys who get the saves, the "closers". But the fact that he made the all-star team points to the idea that those "in the know" do indeed understand his value.Theophilus said… Addendum: When people talk about "improved" and/or "quality" starting pitching this year, they're talking only about the ERA — important but not everything. Zimmermann is the only starter (Marquis having left) averaging more than six innings per start.I don't know whether we should re-sign Livo, but this is the strongest argument for him (besides his cheap price). Never misses a start, can eat up innings, etc. He had nine starts of 7 or more innings (and also averaged 6+). Innings he throws are fewer innings the bullpen throws.Yeah, yeah, I know all the arguments against him. And they may outweigh these points. But I'm just pointing out a factor on the other side.

  107. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 19, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Just coming to this many-hours-old threat, but a few quick thoughts:– Put me firmly in the camp of those who wrote some variation of "what the Nats' rotation needs most is more run support"; any combination of Strasburg, JZimm, Lannen, Wang, Peacock, Milone, and/or Detwiler will probably work IF — and it's a very big IF — the Nats can provide the pitching staff with just the MLB average level of runs per game (which has been hovering around 4.8 over the past decade).– Say 'no' to Livo. Seems like a great guy, but the Nats have outgrown him (I hope) as they prepare to contend. Let him return to Miami and start for the Marlins in their nice new stadium; that would have the added advantage of making the Nats more competitive against the Fish.– Please don't even think about bringing Marquis back. Please.– Given the number (7) of potentially decent starters we have, look to trade one or two of them for hitting. I would rather have a less effective fifth starter than continuing to have an ineffective offense virtually every single game.

  108. baseballswami - Sep 19, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    I wish we could see ALL of our pitchers pitch in a game where the team had a comfortable lead from the beginning. Criticize Lannan all you want, but you could see the same strain on JZ at the end of his year — it's not the pitch counts or number of innings pitched – it's the stressful innings. Our pitchers this year had MOSTLY stressful innings. How can they even be evaluated in those conditions? I think they should be give "extra credit" for doing as well as they have. They almost always have to try to be perfect. I agree with some of the above posters that it won't matter a fig what our rotation looks like if our offense stays this bad. It will be a waste of good pitching and more of the same.

  109. Slidell - Sep 19, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    baseballswami: my sentiments exactly.

  110. NatsLady - Sep 19, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    Riggs blew Clipp's arm out last summer. Davey is trying to be careful with him so that doesn't happen this year and especially next year. Clip is among the top of relievers in game appearances and innings pitched, and he also pitches in high leverage situations which takes an additional toll.Don't worry about Clipp's publicity. He's had several articles written about him, and the knowlegable are aware of his "star" quality.

  111. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 19, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    An overworked Clippard or Storen won't necessarily show this year–it's next year you should be worried about.

  112. carolync - Sep 19, 2011 at 10:44 PM

    baseballswami: Yours is the best post of the day. Says it all.

  113. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 19, 2011 at 10:59 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  114. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    I can imagine them standing pat and starting 2012 with Znn SS CMW Longball Livountil the inevitable injuries and flameouts. Which might happen in December, for all we know. At which point they bring up Peacock, Milone, etc.Detwiler and Gorzelanny as long men/spot starters. Stammen Burnett Coffey Clippard Storenuntil the inevitable injuries and flameouts.I think it's more likely they trade somebody off/onto that list, or sign a free agent starter, but we'll see.Easier to predict: Home Opening Day weather.Partly cloudy, high temp 58, 60% chance of rain.Powerball numbers: 2, 5, 23, 28, 47; PB: 16.Captcha: hiphoozewhich must be those socks that come up to the knee. Or pantyhooze. Not sure.

  115. BinM - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:31 PM

    Every MLB team should plan their rotation based on at least 10 pitchers each year, taking Free Agency, injuries, in-season stumbles and trades into consideration. That being noted, and bringing everyone with starting experience on the current 2011 roster into the pool, here's my two-cents worth on the starting pitchers for 2012 (with footnotes). On current roster (7RH, 5LH]: #1/#2: J.Zimmermann, S.Strasburg. #3/#4: J.Lannan[L](1), C-M.Wang(2).#5: L.Hernandez(3), T.Milone[L](4), Bd.Peacock(5), R.Detwiler[L](6), M.Purke[L](7), T.Gorzelanny[L](8), C.Stammen(9), Y.Maya(10). Footnotes: 1)- John Lannan is entering his 2nd arbitration year ($2.75M in 2011). 2)- Chein-Ming Wang will be a free agent at the end of 2011, but has expressed an interest in returning ($2.0M+/- in 2011). 3)- Livan Hernandez will also be a free agent at the end of 2011, but stated a willingness to return in a lesser role as Long Relief/spot starter ($1.0M plus in 2011). 4)- Tommy Milone, a 24y.o. LH with three options remaining. 5)- Brad Peacock, only 23y.o, has three options remaining & lacks a 3rd 'plus' pitch. 6)- Ross Detwiler is apparently out of options, but has been effective in a Long Relief / Middle Relief role in the past. 7)- Matt Purke: No prior professional experience, but scheduled to pitch in the AFL this fall; Could still be a year (or more) away. 8)- Tom Gorzelanny: Wants to start, but more effective as a LH-LR/MR in 2011; Under Arbitration control for 2012 ($2.1M in 2011), but could become non-tender candidate. 9)- Craig Stammen: Effective as 3A starter & in Long Relief for WSH in 2011. 10)- Yunesky Maya: Ineffective as SP in both WSH & SYR in 2011, is a longshot at best for 2012. I suppose that anyone on this list outside of JZimm & Strasburg (untouchable), Purke (ineligible for trade), or the pending Free agents (Wang & Livo) is 'in play' for off-season trade talk. So we will see what develops as the "Hot Stove" heats up.

  116. Another_Sam - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    Why is Lannan a gimmie for the rotation?

  117. Another_Sam - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    And, you guys above who were speculating about a trade involving Lannan — what kind of dire situation would a club be in to give up anything for him? Get real. [Reminds me of how Baltimore fans once proposed silly trades on Ken Beatrice's show. You're next!]

  118. Anonymous - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:40 PM

    Before we get too carried away here, let's note a pretty good team that had on paper the best starting rotation in the league. As of today, one of their starters is still great, two are gone for the season and the two others have been huge disappointments. Who it is doesn't matter. It can happen to any team–so before we start trading guys away, let's remember not to count our chickens–they may lay eggs.

  119. BinM - Sep 19, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    Another_Sam: Because he's 1)left-handed, 2)reasonably effective in the long run, and 3)under contract control for another two years. I really don't get a lot of the hate for Lannan; He's been an effective SP since 2006, but there seem to be a lot of voices who would rather see him gone. He's not a #1/#2 SP, but if you compare him to the rest of the League, I think you'll find that he bears up under the weight of a #3/#4 SP quite well.

  120. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    1a, your into these thing's, so this ones for you:http://theoatmeal.com/comics/apostrophe

  121. Lannan's Mom - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    BinM is exactly right about John. He's a somewhat better than average MLB starting pitcher. He doesn't have a great W-L record because he's played for some pretty bad teams that haven't scored runs for him (or anyone else in the Nats' rotation). If you were a GM and were looking at his stats (which I just did) while needing to fill a LH spot in your rotation, I could see trading for him. Give him some run support and the number in the win column is going to go up.

  122. Drew8 - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    The encouraging thing about the 7 plausible contenders for the rotation is that five more are coming — Purke, Solis, Meyer, Cole, Ray — not to mention Rosenbaum, Jordan, Arnesen, Martis.John Lannan might open 2012 in the rotation, but I don't think Mr. June is here for good.

  123. gonatsgo - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    Wondering what tomorrow afternoon is going to look like. Apparently Charlie Manuel has made the statement that he is going to play his "A" line- up against contending teams to preserve the integrity of the process.Their "A" team and Doc don't look especially great tonight and tomorrow will be a day game after a night game, plus a doubleheader. Can we possibly catch the Phils on an off-day? They have already clinched. I suppose their fans will still have enough energy to boo Jayson for some reason. The Fish and the Mets have been raining on the Braves parade. Even with only 10 days left, there is still intrigue. I hope we do some annoying in the next week and a half.

  124. Anonymous8 - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    This is just my opinion on Livo. I think he won't be back in any capacity. With those legal issues in Florida and Puerto Rico, they may want to not have that hanging over the team.

  125. BinM - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    Drew8: If the current crop of projected SP's progress without problems or setbacks, then yes, pitchers like Lannan, Livo & most of the 2011 crop of possible 2012 #5's will become either trade or DFA fodder at some point. It's just that the survival rate isn't all that good when it comes to advancing through the system to the majors and sticking. Chances are that only one of the nine you mention will become a MLB SP (and Martis has already been there, done that), and that possibly two others will see time in the bigs as relievers. Sorry to be a downer, but those are the rough odds these kids face.

  126. Drew8 - Sep 20, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    BinM…I'm a bit more optimistic — hey, there's always Kylin Turnbull — but of course you have a valid point. Here are a dozen fine reasons for pitching depth:Jack SpradlinColten WillemsSean BlackCory Van AllenJosh SmokerJack McGearyP.J. DeanAdrian AlanizAaron CrowGraham HicksPaul DemnyTrevor Holder

  127. Gonat - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    Braves were beating the Marlins 5-4 in the bottom of the 9th. Chipper Jones lost Bonifacio's chopper in the lights for a 2 out single. Next batter Infante smashed a 2 run upper decker off of Kimbrel.

  128. Dave - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    Cards beat the Phils 4-3. Do the Phillies bounce back, or do they field their B team?The Nats have not done all that badly against Philly this year. 6-8 for the season so far. Maybe it won't be a bad week.

  129. natsfan1a - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    Disclaimer: I'm not a GM (fantasy or real) nor have I ever played one on tv. That said, I'll go with SS, Z'nn, LannEn, Wang and, um, TBD.Oh, and thank's, sec3. Thats great. Your the best.

  130. Dave - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    As to the topic at hand, I think Lannan is maybe trade bait. I'm thinking as follows:1. JZimm2. Strasburg3. Wang4. Milone5. PeacockI don't think Detwiler is a starter. Been seeing him start for several years, now, and it hasn't really come together yet.

  131. Dave - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    Oh yeah, and Sec. 3, I also appreciate that link. Lynne Truss is one of my heroines, and my Twitter handle is @davewordnerd, so go figure. (Follow me! I never tweet, but whatever…)

  132. Anonymous - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    I'm a bit more optimistic — hey, there's always Kylin Turnbull — but of course you have a valid point. Here are a dozen fine reasons for pitching depth:Jack SpradlinColten WillemsSean BlackCory Van AllenJosh SmokerJack McGearyP.J. DeanAdrian AlanizAaron CrowGraham HicksPaul DemnyTrevor HolderIn a few cases you give up too soon … yet you're ready to jump on the Lannan bandwagon given his inconsistency against the NL East and especially the Phillies? Livo? Livo? C'mon! Holder could yet end up as a decent middle reliever … in the bullpen.Smoker and McGeary are two lefties who are still possibilities and stillyoung enough to be so. They aren't 28 like Garret Mock.Van Allen is another lefty who has had some decent outings in relief.Livo? You really believe the Nats could contend with Livo in their starting rotation along with CMW? What baseball channel are you watching again?

  133. Anonymous - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:57 AM

    Give him some run support and the number in the win column is going to go up.OR he could regress again and look more like a #5 BARELY on the cusp. Milone has better control and is younger. If you are going to take this risk it should be with Milone not Lannan. He has shown what he has these past 3 years and its come up short too many times. But, as BinM points out so have many others. He's just been better at fighting to keep the DFA/Option Ogre away.

  134. Tim - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:15 AM

    I agree with the person who said, it looks like Stras, Jzimm, for sure and everyone else is probably on the table for trades.The offense needs to be better. LaRoche is back so that helps. But, they need at least one more good bat. I think they still need a CF (of a RF if werth is in CF). Its nto that dires perhaps since you have to guess that at least 1 and perhaps 2 of 3 of Desi, Espi and Ramos will progress offensively as well. As for the rotation. 1. Stras2. JZimm3. Wang4. Lannan5. Detwiler. If they sign wang and he can play, I don't see him not starting.Lannan is a proven MLB pitcher. He is good enough to win games and his stuff looks better this season for the most part. Maybe he gets traded, maybe not, if not he is starting. Detwiler has been hurt and I think this season was his first full year pitching in 2 or 3 seasons. Frankly I can't imagine that if conditioning is his "BIG PROBLEM" that this is not something that will be difficult to remedy.

  135. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:51 AM

    So many educated folks here, somebody must know: is there a formal name for the logical fallacy of insults and name-calling as counter-argument?

  136. Copy Editor - Sep 20, 2011 at 5:12 AM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said…So many educated folks here, somebody must know: is there a formal name for the logical fallacy of insults and name-calling as counter-argument?—————————-Immaturity?

  137. Drew8 - Sep 20, 2011 at 5:14 AM

    Sec 3: I can think of plenty of terms for it, but they aren't formal.Anon 10:53 said: "Livo? You really believe the Nats could contend with Livo in their starting rotation along with CMW? What baseball channel are you watching again?"Dear Anon: What are you talking about? I never mentioned Livan Hernandez. As for your "bandwagon" assertion, I weighed in on this topic Sunday night before this thread began.So I don't know about your bold argument, but your bold type is impressive.

  138. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2011 at 5:15 AM

    Sofa– I am shocked, shocked. Ad hominems in a blog? On the internet?

  139. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    This is off-topic, but–I just was browsing the Braves' blogs, and their fans have TOTALLY given up.If the Nats are EVER EVER 2.5 games up in the wildcard and they lose a couple of games, just GO GO GO for the team. That is the moment the fans should most be behind our guys!!!!!!!!!

  140. NATSONE - Sep 20, 2011 at 8:33 AM

    You heard it here first:John Lannan (as much as I like him)to the Yankees (he's a New Yorker after all, and the Yanks will be looking for rotation help, and the Nats and Yanks have made plenty of deals in the past [see JMax and Clipp as two examples]) for:Brett Gardner (the LO CF we seek)

  141. N. Cognito - Sep 20, 2011 at 9:51 AM

    NATSONE said… "You heard it here first:John Lannan (as much as I like him)to the Yankees for:Brett Gardner (the LO CF we seek)"You are on drugs. :)

  142. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 20, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    Anybody posting at 4:33 AM and says that the TWO transactions he lists comprise "plenty of deals" probably is either on something or seriously sleep deprived. Oh yes… and thinks the Yankees will trade Gardner for Lannan straight up.

  143. A DC Wonk - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    I don't get the Lannan hate either. An ERA of under 4 in three of the past four years is not something to sneeze at.Unterp asked: Wang is one example. In his two 19 win seasons with the Yankees didn't he have an era of 4.00+ ? No. In fact, his ERA was 3.70 or lower for both seasons; and he led the league in fewest HR's/inn. Both seasons he had 30 or more starts, and 199 or more innings pitched.

  144. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    FYI: If the Nationals scored just about .333 more runs per game, they probably have ten more wins. That's just 54 more runs for the year, which would make them 17th in the ML instead of 24th. So it's not the pitching. It's a lack of runs that makes Johnny win…

  145. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    For me it's not "Lannan hate." I just think he needs a change of scenery (see Hanrahan, Joel), maybe to the AL or at least not the NL East. Other teams will see that he is a solid rotation lefty and we should get his equivalent in return.

  146. UNTERP.NAT - Sep 20, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    A DC Wonk said… Thanks for correcting me, I think. But you still make my point. I was on the Hate Lannen bandwagon up until last year. The fact is and I was thinking about JaneB, Livo has suffered as much as anyone on the staff from a lack of run support. These guys can't go out there pitching from behind every night and hope to pull out wins. I'm not so sure giving up on Livo or Lannen is a good idea. The question is, how many more wins would the Nationals have if Lee, Halladay, Coles were pitching here? Unless Lee, Halladay, and Coles were the ones driving in the extra runs probably just a couple.Listen, to be perfectly frank, I think Lannen is a damn good pitcher. The everyday players stink…

  147. David - Sep 20, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    More runs. What about Goodwin… don't they think his bat is close to Major League ready? We need someone like him with that kind of CF/Leadoff potential. And I've said this all along…we need to trade Desmond. I'm not buying his September stats. We cant sit around and have a leadoff hitter with .290 obp for 3/4 of the season. No way. If we start with Desmond in leadoff next year, I'd give him until May 1st to prove he can stay at .325 obp, and not a day further. We need to start winning next year! No more patience and "developing" at the major league level. More baserunners = more runs = more wins.

  148. jd - Sep 20, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    David, Goodwin is nowhere close to major league ready. Dustin Ackley was considered the most MLB ready hitting prospect to come out of college in the past few years and it took him a little over a year to make it up. Ideally; Rendon can follow a similar path. Goodwin is considered a level below that. You are analyzing Desmond by results only but I am more interested in the fact that he has improved his approach over the past month. He consistently goes deeper in the count, spoils more pitches and overall has better at bats. The talent is there; if the approach sticks he can definitely be part of the solution.

  149. Steve M. - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    UNTERP.NAT said… FYI: If the Nationals scored just about .333 more runs per game, they probably have ten more wins. That's just 54 more runs for the year, which would make them 17th in the ML instead of 24th. So it's not the pitching. It's a lack of runs that makes Johnny win… September 20, 2011 8:50 AM That is correct in theory, 9 to 10 more wins for 54 runs but depends more on blowout wins vs. close losses. Again, the problem is balance between offense and defense. If I take the season average and project out for the rest of the season, the overall runs given up by the defense/pitching is BETTER by 78.98 runs compared to last year. Offensive runs are off by 30.60 from last year. So the team is better by +48 which means they should by pythagorean have a 77 win season +/- 3 for luck factor.

  150. jd - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    In analyzing our starters and prospects I put them in 3 different categories. As usual this is just my opinion.Top of the rotation starters:SS,JZ,Cole and maybe Purke and Meyer.Mid rotation starters:Wang and maybe Peacock.Bottom of the rotation starters: Lannan,Milone,Solis,Rosenbaum,Martis, Gorzelany and maybe Ray. I am leaving out Livo who I think should be brought back in the miss Iowa role and Detwiler who should go to the bullpen. That's really not a bad list of starters all in all.

  151. jd - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Steve M. And guess what? this is just about what they will have.

  152. Bowdenball - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    If anyone can offer a reasonable argument for why Wang is a better option than Peacock without resorting to mostly meaningless concepts like "experience" and "wins" and other things he hasn't done in almost half a decade, I'll eat my Nats hat.If you want to roll the dice on an unknown for 2012- and make no mistake, Wang is a complete unknown, possibly even more so than Peacock- at roll the dice on the guy who pitched far better in limited 2011 appearances, is considered to have better stuff by all the scouts, and is still young enough to have upside. .

  153. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Nats swap: Milone for first game, Detwiler tonight. Rain, rain, go away, wanna see my Natties play.

  154. Steve M. - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    David said… More baserunners = more runs = more wins. September 20, 2011 9:31 AM In theory, that makes sense, just add in clutch because you will see with the Astros, higher OBP isn't working. More baserunners = more opportunities x above ave. clutch hits = more runs = more winsFor the Nats to get on league average, they have to get 1 more hit every 2 games and 1 more walk every 6 games to get on the league average. When you think that the addition of a healthy LaRoche and healthy Zim all year, that should be doable. So the 2012 goal is to get to above a .320 team OBP. The interesting part about OBP is it includes HBP which has helped Espinosa with a team high 18 plunkings. The only others above the .320 is Morse, Zimmerman, Werth, and Ramos.The worst figure is the Nats are last in K% at 21.7%. The Nats are 8th in team clutch at a +.23The Mets are the top team in Walks and 2nd in batting average yet are 6th in runs and are 5th from the bottom in ERA.Again, it comes down to balance.

  155. Anonymous - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    I agree with many here, in that I continue to be surprised by the assumption (even by Mark Z.) that Lannan is a given in next year's rotation…I don't believe he is mentally tough enough to be anything more than a 4 or (more likely) a 5 pitcher in a rotation. He has proven his consistency in that he ALWAYS comes up small vs. the Phils (i.e. in a game the Nats might consider to be a big game).His ERA is pretty good, true, and he could use better run support, but does it strike any of the rest of you that he always seems to give up 4 runs when our team scores 3, gives up 5 runs when our team scores 4 and gives up 2 runs when our team scores 1? You may say, "that doesn't take into account what happens when he leaves the game" and that is true, but I've never thought "that guy is a bulldog" when I've watched him pitch.He seems to shrink from situations… with consistency. All of that said, if he DOES make the rotation in 2012, I'll be there cheering, hoping that he proves me wrong.My 2012 rotation:1. SS2. JZimm3. (If we want to compete with the Phils) An acquired by trade or FA pitcher that might be considered to be a #2 caliber)4. Wang5. Milone/Peacock/Detwiler/Purke —whoever

  156. Steve M. - Sep 20, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    jd said… In analyzing our starters and prospects I put them in 3 different categories. As usual this is just my opinion.Top of the rotation starters:SS,JZ,Cole and maybe Purke and Meyer.Mid rotation starters:Wang and maybe Peacock.Bottom of the rotation starters:Lannan,Milone,Solis,Rosenbaum,Martis, Gorzelany and maybe Ray.I am leaving out Livo who I think should be brought back in the miss Iowa role and Detwiler who should go to the bullpen.That's really not a bad list of starters all in all. September 20, 2011 10:02 AM Nice list and I basically concur except on Wang. Too early to call him a #3 from what we have seen as he has shown signs of a #3,#4 #5 and #6. Meyer will be the real work in progress as a front-line starter as the scouting reports saw his issue as hitting his spots. Read my point yesterday on Martis. My sources tell me the Nats may cut him loose. I guess it has to do with adding him back to the 40 man. I wrote a while ago about what Martis is now throwing (can't remember what it was) which now gives him 3+ pitches and could be a potential #4. He isn't young any more although he may be on the way up. I think worse case protect him and trade him.

  157. Wally - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    SteveM – there are a bunch of folks that don't think 'hitting in the clutch' is a discrete skill different from just 'hitting'. I think that there is something to that, although my emotions suggest otherwise. On offense, I like Fangraphs wRC+ as a measure (stands for weighted runs created). It is supposed to take into account all offensive factors, with a score of 100 as the league average offensive player. It shows the obvious, that we have a lot of holes in our lineup. There are eight position players, and we have two above average guys in Morse (143) and Zim (120), and a few right at the league average of 100 – Werth, Espy, Ramos. So we have three spots that are well below average.*OK, Laroche has a career 109 wRC+, so let's say he bounces back and out produces the Nix/Bernie LF contingent. Let's also say Werth gets back to 125 or so. Still leaves a SS and CF hole. Ankiel (89) and Desmond (75) have substantially underperformed, and we do not have enough star power elsewhere to overcome that.*We fans have a tendency to see the potential for improvement in our players – I do it a lot too. But when you have so many that you need to improve, the odds go way down, I think. Let's say the chance that Ramos improves is 50%, but the chance that Ramos, Espy, Desi, Werth, Laroche ALL improve is something like 5%. So, I get back to, what is the approach to next year? Do we really want to compete, or just continue the upward movement with an eye towards competing in 2013? Either is ok, but if we are serious about competing next year, we need two bats and they probably have to be CF and MI.And pitching falls out similarly, imo, in that Lannan, Wang, Milone, Peacock, Detwiler, … at best can collectively take two spots, not three in the rotation if we really expect to contend. If we go to play the Phillies or Braves in Sep, and the rotation is Milone, Wang, Lannan – we might win a game, or even two, but I find it hard to believe that we will feel confident about it.

  158. ty - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    does no one else see us going after Yu Darvish? and if so where will he fit with our rotation

  159. jd - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Steve M. I haven't seen Martis in a long time so I can only judge his results. He has taken 2 steps back and was finally effective at AA. He probably should have been in AA in 2008 and 2009 when he was rushed to the majors and this may have in fact cost him a shot to move up and graduate when he's ready. He is only 24 so I guess he still has a shot at an MLB career but I think that we have too many better options in our pipeline. I disagree with Bowdenball on Wang; Wang was an extremely effective pitcher for the Yankees when he got hurt in 2008; that's not nearly half a decade ago.He's been out for 2.5 years and has been surprisingly good in his come back and getting better. I am with Nats Jack on this. I have seen enough to offer CMW a 1 + 1 deal for about $5 mil a year with a mutual option. I do agree that if someone is ready to give him much more than that I would step away.

  160. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Anon @10:45 Re: Lannan's character and future as best we can judge it.He was pretty tough earlier in the season, determined not to get sent back down, and he toughed it out when he got hit in the nose by that comebacker. I don't want to say he's a total loser. But he's gotten psyched out by Filly. He's not a particularly good fielder–or hitter, despite his mini-streak. And he's "tired of battling." His manager–who has been known to call six innings a masterpiece–says Lannan is "a competitor" and "can be very good." When those are the best things your manager can say about you, you are being traded. In the NL ranking of qualified starting pitchers Lannan ranks 40th out of 51, according to fangraphs "value."http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=sta&lg=nl&qual=y&type=6&season=2011&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0(Qualified means the pitcher has pitched as many innings as games the team has played, so JZimm will qualify with 161 innings because the Nats will only play 161 games)

  161. jd - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    ty, None of the Japanese pitchers since Hideo Nomo have been successful. I think that Matuszaka really hurt their market value and no one will shell out that kind of money again.

  162. jd - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    NatsLady, I think Lannan is good enough to be a bottom of the rotation guy. There is nothing wrong with that unless you have 3 more bottom of the rotation guys. I just don't think he has the weapons to be anything more. For now his salary is reasonable for a bottom of the rotation pitcher but when arbitration or FA makes him more expensive than his value the we should let someone else pay him. The other question for me is: Can Milone do the same thing as Lannan for a fraction of the price? (I don't have the answer yet).

  163. jd - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Wally, That's a great analysis and I concur almost entirely; I do feel that we need to give Desmond another half a year to see if his new hitting approach sticks. We definitely need one more solid major league at bat in the outfield.

  164. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    jd, yeah, I think that's about right on Lannan. He's simply not "Ace" material, even though he "can be good," he's not consistently good.He's arb eligible this year, don't know enough about it to know what he will be offered, whether he would take it, etc. If Milone can do the same thing, it's not only that he's a fraction of the price, and unter team control for longer, it's that Lannan could be dealt to meet another need.

  165. Steve M. - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    So the late vote tally seems to favor trading Lannan and keeping Wang. I think to get that PTBNL (Wandy) they can trade Lannan.1) JZim2) Stras3) PTBNL4) Wang5) Milone or PeacockI expect Rizzo to go after a Matt Kemp, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Gardner in off-season trades. If Rizzo does any trades, he needs to hold firm and not give away the farm for the sake of making a trade. The Dodgers and Astros need to get rid of salary. Wandy Rodriguez should be there for the taking. Players Rizzo can trade: Lannan, Detwiler, Martis, Stammen, JD Martin (LOL), Bernadina, Marrero, Lombo, NorrisI would think you can get Wandy + his salary for Lannan and Bernadina. That gives Houston 2 MLB players.Matt Kemp is on a 1 year deal as he is a Free Agent after next year. Can't give up too much for a 1 year rental.Brett Gardner could be interesting. Top defender. Good OBP. Top hustle guy.

  166. Bowdenball - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    jd-You and I have different definitions of "extremely effective" and "surprisingly good." I don't consider 5.12 K/9, 3.32 BB/9, an ERA of 4.07 and an xFIP of 4.17 to be "extremely effective." That's a competent back-end starter who wasn't terrible because he was really good at limiting HRs, but nothing more.More importantly, I don't consider 3.35 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, a HR rate of 1.12/9 for a "ground ball specialist," and ERA of 4.31 or an xFIP of 4.30 to be "surprisingly good." I think that's poor performance for a starter, and Wang's not getting any younger.I've made the case in more detail before, but one decent start against a watered down September lineup doesn't change things. Re-signing Wang and giving him a rotation spot would be an obvious mistake. I'm not too concerned about his impact on the 2012 season since it will be tough to contend, but I am worried about the team stunting the growth of someone like Peacock or opting not to pursue a good #3 starter in free agency because they're chasing fool's gold.

  167. A DC Wonk - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Bowdenball said… jd- You and I have different definitions of "extremely effective" and "surprisingly good." I don't consider 5.12 K/9, 3.32 BB/9, an ERA of 4.07 and an xFIP of 4.17 to be "extremely effective."I hear what you're saying . . . but we also need to look at his trajectory, don't you think? I don't think a season average reveals the truth for any pitcher who had obvious rust and who is steadily improving.

  168. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Bowdenball– If you pursue a good (and expensive) #3 FA starter, wouldn't that "stunt the growth of someone like Peacock" just as much as keeping CMW? There are only so many slots. My opinion on CMW is known, so I won't rehash it here except to say I'm with NatsJack on this one. Also, I think the HR's will decrease as his stamina improves in the later innings (he seems to have conquered the first inning).

  169. Theophilus - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    No reason to worry at this point about a squeeze on the 40-man roster. I. Rodriguez, Ramirez, Hernandez, Slaten, Coffey, Cora, Bixler, Bernadina, Balester . . . it's hard to imagine more than four of those being around next April. Rizzo probably can't wait to trade Gorzelany and H. Rodriguez. Martis — contrary to Steve M. — is only 24. That makes him "young" — with an inexplicably good Double A year behind him. That doesn't make him a prospect with the Nats, but some pitching-poor team (LAA? Seattle?) could certainly use him.

  170. Steve M. - Sep 20, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    jd said… NatsLady,I think Lannan is good enough to be a bottom of the rotation guy. There is nothing wrong with that unless you have 3 more bottom of the rotation guys. I just don't think he has the weapons to be anything more. For now his salary is reasonable for a bottom of the rotation pitcher but when arbitration or FA makes him more expensive than his value the we should let someone else pay him.The other question for me is: Can Milone do the same thing as Lannan for a fraction of the price? (I don't have the answer yet). September 20, 2011 11:22 AM Lannan this off-season worked with Ron Villone. Lannan's velocity was up and you could see through July that he was improved and putting up #3 numbers. I think it is arm fatigue as he just threw so much harder then previous seasons. Maybe he comes back stronger next year, in year over year progress. Still, I have to question Lannan's decision making and blowups. He has hurt himself with his own fielding errors, inability to bunt and recently not getting the lefties out.Can Lannan be what he was in June or is he destined to be a back of the rotation guy? I want to know who the real John Lannan is. I do think this was his best season as a Nat. Throw out the W/L record and the last 6 starts.With that said, if he can be packaged in a trade to get Wandy Rodriguez here, do it!

  171. Theophilus - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Problem w/ B. Gardner is that you are buying a player for, perhaps, a half a year. Assuming Harper arrives around the All-Star break. That leaves the Nats with the less-than-ideal outfield of Morse, Werth and Harper but, what else are you gonna do? To get Gardner, you would have to give up something of value for a player that, in the end, isn't going to be an everyday player. Better to put Ankiel in that slot for 3-4 months and let him slide into the 4th outfielder role. Whatever you were going to spend on Gardner, go buy a reliever somewhere.

  172. Steve M. - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Theophilus said… Martis — contrary to Steve M. — is only 24. That makes him "young" — with an inexplicably good Double A year behind him. That doesn't make him a prospect with the Nats, but some pitching-poor team (LAA? Seattle?) could certainly use him. September 20, 2011 11:53 AM He will be 25 in March, certainly much younger than Craig Stammen who will be 28 in March. I would take Martis over Stammen if I had to choose from the 40 man based on possible potential although I don't think Rizzo will see it that way. Martis has progressed and had 2 bad outings in the 2nd half of the season, otherwise was the top pitcher 2nd half in AA. My point was I hear the Nats are cutting ties with him and I hope they don't, not yet anyway.

  173. Wally - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    NatsLady said…If Milone can do the same thing, it's not only that he's a fraction of the price, and under team control for longer, it's that Lannan could be dealt to meet another need.This captures my view on Lannan. He is effective, and I think that he has a rotation spot on probably 20 teams. He isn't above average (I see him as a 4/5 and won't get higher unless he cuts his walk rate in half), you don't build a rotation around him and it depends on how much he costs (I am guessing $5m next year). Milone's ceiling is Lannan's present, imo, and if he is close to reaching that ceiling now, it makes sense to swap them out.

  174. Steve M. - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Theophilus said… Problem w/ B. Gardner is that you are buying a player for, perhaps, a half a year. Assuming Harper arrives around the All-Star break. That leaves the Nats with the less-than-ideal outfield of Morse, Werth and Harper but, what else are you gonna do? To get Gardner, you would have to give up something of value for a player that, in the end, isn't going to be an everyday player. Better to put Ankiel in that slot for 3-4 months and let him slide into the 4th outfielder role. Whatever you were going to spend on Gardner, go buy a reliever somewhere. September 20, 2011 12:04 PM If Bryce Harper is ready by the All Star break 2012, I would be surprised. Can't go 3 seasons in a row unprepared for all 3 starters in the Outfield plus counting on LaRoche being healthy at 1st.I doubt they get Gardner but I would take him any day over some of the other leadoff names mentioned as far as trades go. In Free Agency, I still think Coco Crisp makes good sense as a stop-gay in a starter type of platoon role. Just don't see him as a 7 day a week player as he has never played more than 145 games in a season his entire career.Ankiel's offensive numbers aren't helping. No way can he be a starter. He is a bench player. His power is gone and his OBP of .307 is part of the problem. His being .13 points under .320 means 45 times he didn't get on base so far this season. This team has to have a .320+ OBP guy in CF so the other thought is moving Werth there and leave Desi at leadoff and find a RF. Unfortunately Nix couldn't stay healthy and has been on a 2 month slump.Rizzo has 5 things to do in this off-season for top priorities.1) Extend Zim long-term2) Extend Morse long-term3) Find a legit #3 veteran4) Find a .320 to .340 OBP clutch Outfielder5) Fill in the roster with good role players

  175. John C. - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Two posters today (Natsone and Steve M.) have talked about the Rizzo going after Brett Gardner. The Nationals are not going to get Brett Gardner. It's simply not going to happen.First of all, the Yankees have no reason to move him. He's the most (only?) cost effective player they have, and with Granderson and Swisher they get a lot of energy and speed. Even with Posada coming off the books, the Yankees have a lot of long term big money contracts in A-Rod, Jeter, Texeira, Rivera and Burnett. Another $23 million will go to picking up options for Cano and Swisher. With Sabathia likely voiding his deal (he'll stay in NY, but for more $$$) and the possibility of posting for Yu Darvish, and arbitration raises likely for Gardner, Hughes and Dave Robertson, even the Yankees at some point have to consider cash flows.More importantly, the Yankees don't have an obvious replacement in their system. And the final nail in the deal's coffin is that the Yankees and Nationals farm system strengths are in the same positions (pitching and catching). As good as the Nationals' catching depth is with Ramos, Flores, Norris, Solano, Freitas, etc – the Yankees is even better with Martin, Montero, Sanchez, Romine and Cervelli. Gardner would be a perfect fit for the Nationals. Unfortunately, he's already a perfect fit for the Yankees, and he's not going anywhere.

  176. PAY TO PLAY - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Your numbers on Ankiels OBP aren't correct. If Ankiel turned 5 of his outs into hits, his BA and OBP would go up and his OBP would then be .320. He is currently batting .246Problem is, Ankiel is lifetime .248/.311 slash. Chances are with his .682 OPS vs. a career average of .738 OPS, his numbers are in further decline.I agree that Ankiel is a bench role player and could be a nice late inning replacement type.

  177. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Doubt Ankiel's hitting numbers are "in decline." Remember, he's only been hitting for what, four years? Just as his outfield play has improved, so may (repeat MAY) his batter's eye. He's plenty fast, so if he didn't strike out so much, he'd have a good OBP.

  178. Steve M. - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    P2P, thanks. Yep should have read 4.5 instead of 45.John C. yes, slim and none on getting Brett Gardner. Still doesn't hurt for Rizzo to make a call.I think Coco crisp playing 130 to 140 games in CF makes the most sense and he comes via Free Agency. He quietly has been putting up good numbers and is below the radar. He is a 2.5 WAR and probably can be signed for a LaRoche type of deal. If you do that, Ankiel becomes the perfect compliment to play CF once to twice a week.

  179. PAY TO PLAY - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    NatsLady, could Ankiel's number bounce back? Sure, except they still aren't where they need to be for CF which is a high OBP position on the field. Centerfield and shortstop have been the 2 positions lacking most in OBP if LaRoche returns to form at 1st.I think you keep Ankiel as a bench role player.

  180. John C. - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Theophilus said… Problem w/ B. Gardner is that you are buying a player for, perhaps, a half a year. Assuming Harper arrives around the All-Star break. That leaves the Nats with the less-than-ideal outfield of Morse, Werth and Harper but, what else are you gonna do? To get Gardner, you would have to give up something of value for a player that, in the end, isn't going to be an everyday player. Better to put Ankiel in that slot for 3-4 months and let him slide into the 4th outfielder role. Whatever you were going to spend on Gardner, go buy a reliever somewhere.It's moot, of course, but Gardner would be the perfect fit for the Nationals for the next 2-4 years. His speed and glove would make up for some of Morse's deficiencies in LF, and when/if Harper comes up the answer is to trade LaRoche (if Harper comes up in 2012) or buy out his contract (if Harper comes up in 2013) and move Morse to 1b. Gardner would not be an everyday player? Gardner is a 4.9 WAR player this year (Fangraphs), and was a 6.2 WAR last year; no one on the Nationals is close. Espinosa leads the Nats at 3.3, Morse is a 2.7 this year; Zimmerman was a 7.2 WAR player last year and Dunn was second on the team at 3.3. Even if you are a WAR skeptic, suffice it to say that if someone were to go to the bench in that scenario, it wouldn't have been Gardner.But again, sadly for the Nationals, it's moot. Gardner isn't going anywhere.

  181. Bowdenball - Sep 20, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    NatsLady-Sure, but potentially stunting the growth of Peacock- which to be honest isn't really a huge concern of mine, but a minor issue- is worthwhile if it means we could add someone good and still in their prime, like CJ Wilson or Edwin Jackson, to the roster. It's less appealing if it's for someone like Wang.

  182. NatsLady - Sep 20, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Well, we are getting CMW back, so that's that. Davey said so on the radio today. ("Of course, it's an organizational decision.")JZimm, Stras, Wang (not necessarily in that order), and at least one lefty. Doesn't leave a lot of room for Peacock. He goes back to Syracuse and comes up if/when there is an injury.

  183. Anonymous - Sep 21, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    I'd love to see how this thread would have been different AFTER yesterday's performances by Milone and Detwiler. For the record, regardless of who was in the Philly lineup, Milone's command and savvy was astounding,, and Detwiler finally went late into a game. For the person here who suggested that Milone's ceiling was equal to Lannan's present, um no.if today was a glimpse of potential, you'd have to think his ceiling (even if you look at his K/BB ratio this year) is easily better than today's Lannan.

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