There’s at least one very good reason that Nationals GM Jim Bowden (above, right) is in no hurry to see the club’s ownership situation resolved — he’ll probably be cleaning out his office shortly after it happens. Until then, he’s happy to indulge the Examiner’s John Keim by (very) selectively replying to hate mail.(link taken from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
I™ve had plenty of e-mails from fans suggesting if we had an owner we could have kept Esteban Loaiza and signed A.J. Burnett, Kevin Millwood and/or Jarrod Washburn. So, for a mere $35 million for this year alone, you could have had a starting pitching rotation that is a combined 2-9.
In fact, two of our signings, Billy Traber and Tony Armas, have as many wins as those pitchers combined. Obviously, a few weeks of play is not a good barometer. And if healthy, those pitchers will improve. However, injuries to Burnett and Millwood have to concern the Blue Jays and Rangers, respectively, who have committed large dollars for the next five years.
Further, I have additional e-mails suggesting that if the organization had drafted better over the last seven years, our rotation would have been championship caliber by now. Certainly, this is possible and improvement is needed. However, here is an alarming reality: the Braves, Cardinals, Mets, Red Sox and Yankees have 25 pitchers combined in their starting rotations; of those 25, only two were drafted and developed by their organization — Brian Bannister, a seventh-round pick of the Mets and Kyle Davies, a fourth-round pick of the Braves.
Take a look at the pitching staffs of the division winners over the last decade and you™ll find that none of the 30 teams found the perfect blueprint.
Yeah, it’s very complicated stuff, as Bowden illustrates. Signing free agents is no sure thing. Developing your own talent? Likewise. Bowden advocates trading for proven pitching talent, scanning the waiver wire, looking for guys other clubs have given up on and trading for other clubs’ prospects. Though without taking issue with his general points, the following comes to mind ; after today’s shutout loss to the Reds, the Nationals are 7-14. Is now really the right time to be gloating about AJ Burnett being a waste of money? If Kevin Millwood is a bust for the Rangers, how is Ramon Ortiz (0-3, 6.75 ERA) working out at $3,750,000.00?