Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

Gorzelanny trade thoughts…


The Nats' newest #5 starter, Tom Gorzelanny. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Love the Trade to get Tom Gorzelanny.  The three guys we gave up were all marginal prospects in the grand scheme of things.  Burgess was a Bowden toolsy draft pick who has moved slowly through the farm system and now is completely blocked for the next 7 years or so by Werth and Harper.  I really liked AJ Morris when we drafted him (he was a 4th rounder but was fantastic in college, giving Mike Leake his only loss of the 2009 season) but he’s already lost his starter status and seems like a middle relief guy at best.  Lastly Graham Hicks was probably the 2nd or 3rd best pitcher in Hagerstown this year and has some promise.

Gorzelanny’s numbers are not fantastic, but you wouldn’t expect them to be for a 5th starter from a team that lost 90 games last  year.  He had a 106 era+ for the season pitching out of a hitters park in Chicago.  He probably has the inside track on the 5th starter spot here in DC by virtue of his acquisition.  If the season started tomorrow you have to think the rotation would be going Livan, Lannan, Zimmermann, Marquis and GorzelannyMaya and Detwiler are starting in AAA save an injury, and Wang has a bit more time to rehab.

Meanwhile, AAA is looking jammed.  We already had Atilano, Martin, Mock and Martis as returning rotation starters in AAA.  Chico is down there as well, having passed through waivers to be reassigned.  Maya and Detwiler are going to need places to pitch.  Plus we have some older prospects from last year’s AA team (Roark and Tatusko) who really need to be pitching in AAA to see if they’re MLB candidates.

All in all, a competent pitcher to compete for a spot in the rotation and who may help out the rotation in the short term.  And not for a lot of money (probably something close to Lannan’s $2.75M deal for 2011).

5 Responses to 'Gorzelanny trade thoughts…'

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  1. You’re not taking into account Morris’s injury status for the most of last year was the reason he was used mostly in relief. When finally healthy he was, by acclaim from all observers, the BEST pitcher in the instructional league.
    This is the one that might come back to bite.
    Give the Cubs credit for knowing all this.

    Mark L

    20 Jan 11 at 12:15 pm

  2. Hey, I liked the Morris pick when it happened and thought he was a steal in the 4th round, based on his college career. I didn’t realize he was that hurt this year.

    Still, he’s 24 and has never pitched above high A, which officially makes him “old for the level. If he doesn’t really dominate in AA this year he may officially be a bust. Understood he was injured, but coming out of school as a 22-yr old he needed to START in high A and move forward year by year. Using Solis as an example; you have to think he’s starting in high-A as a year younger junior eligible draft pick and will be in AA before the season is over.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jan 11 at 12:37 pm

  3. Good points, all. While there are definitive age points for hitters (peak years are 27 or 28), I’ve never thought that was very relevant for pitchers. Sometimes, the ‘light goes on’ much later for pitchers.
    Jamie Moyer wasn’t effective until past 30 years old!
    Solis is a good counterpoint to that, as he may need very little seasoning on the farm. Not to mention the rootable factor, as he and the family are building & running AIDS orphanages in South Africa.

    Mark L

    20 Jan 11 at 1:43 pm

  4. John Sickels listed his opinions on what ages were appropriate per level to be considered prospect status.

    AAA: 23-24. 25 depends. 26+ is old
    AA: 22-23. 24 depends. 25+ is old
    High-A: 20-22. 23 depends. 24+ is old
    Low-A: 19-21. 22 depends. 23+ is old
    Short-A: 19-20. 21/22 for draft year guys only. 22+ is old
    GCL: 17-19. 20 for draft year guys only. 21+ is old

    I kinda modified this to have some realism for newly drafted guys … if you’re drafted as a college graduate and get put into short-A (which is exactly where you’d expect to be put), it isn’t fair to immediately label you as “old for the level.”

    If Morris was a lefty like Moyer? No way we’d be cutting him loose so easily.

    Can’t wait to see what Solis can do. I know he’s not #1 projected starter but if he can be something between a Cole Hamels and a Joe Blanton, i’d be happy and he’ll fit in nicely to the future plans. I would really like to see a 2012 rotation of Strasburg, Zimmermann, Solis and two higher-end FA pitchers. There’s a gazillion B-B+ fa starters hitting the market after this year.

    Todd Boss

    20 Jan 11 at 2:06 pm

  5. I’m also a fan of Sickels, even though he’s notoriously consevative with his ratings. I strongly think these age appropriate are most useful for batters, far more than pitchers.
    I agree with you on what would have happened if Morris was a lefty.
    I’m also excited to see what Solis can do this year.

    Mark L

    20 Jan 11 at 3:11 pm

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