I was as surprised as anyone when the news started to break and while I might be a lunatic I wasn't loony enough to think the Nats were being used. You don't go out offering $180 or $200 million contracts if you don't want someone to sign it.
If you want to test this theory go out and put an offer on a house. Sure you might think your offer is low or that someone has a higher offer, but unless you want that house you don't put a contract on the table because the other party might accept it and then you've got yourself a house. People always have this idea that the Nats are being used, but coming in second multiple times doesn't mean they were used. Sometimes teams just lose out on players they really want. This time the Nats didn't lose out and now they have to figure out what to do with too much pitching talent.
What the hell did I just write? Too much pitching talent. That isn't a thing. Gio Gonzalez dealt with a shoulder injury for parts of last season and pitchers that have shown no signs of injury get hurt all the time. Some doctors have even said a pitcher pitching with a Tommy John's repaired elbow is a ticking time bomb for a second Tommy John's surgery. The Nats have two of those guys. Sure it seems like the Nats have six good starters, but too many can become too few in the blink of the eye. If Kerry Wood and Mark Prior are healthy 2015 could finally be the Cubs year or something like that.
Big contracts for pitchers have a way of not working out but for 2015 Max Scherzer should be Max Scherzer. This is a pitcher coming off a 5.6 fWAR season that was considered a down year and is projected to be worth 3.8 fWAR even though it will probably be more. The Nats currently have a super rotation, but that could change. The Nats recently traded for Yunel Escobar to play second, but Escobar is still Escobar and is only a minor upgrade. If the Nats can trade Zimmermann for one of the Cubs or Red Sox middle infield prospects why not do it? The Scherzer deal could be the only move of the offseason or the beginning of a chain of moves. Either way the Nats will have a good team in 2015.
But haven't we been saying the same thing all offseason? Offers have been made for Desmond and Zimmermann but nothing has met Mike Rizzo's desires yet. Perhaps now a team is willing to meet his price, but if they think the Nats want to trade Zimmermann now that they have Scherzer they'll be doing the opposite of increasing their offers. All I know is I don't know what happens next, but I do know that I want to watch the Nats play baseball in 2015 and I'd like to see the super rotation even if it is only for a year.
The Nationals now have three of the top 15 fWAR pitchers from 2014 and four of the top 30 in K/9 with at least 150 innings pitched. The Nats rotation as it stands right now is very good, but with Scherzer they could use one of the free agent pitchers to be to address other weaknesses in 2016 and beyond. If winning a World Series is the ultimate goal then maybe the Nationals consider this the go for it year and even losing free agents after 2015 it isn't like the 2016 team anchored by Strasburg, Scherzer, Harper, and Rendon is suddenly going to be bad. Just like we said when the offseason began there are a lot of ways the Nats can go and this should be an exciting build-up to Spring Training.
Anyway my favorite team won something and whenever that happens I have a hard time not being excited, but I'll be more excited to watch a pitcher that struck out 27.9% of the batters he faced in the AL in 2014 pitch in the NL in 2015.
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