Monday, June 21, 2010

Lannan Heads North; Detwiler Ready?; Zimmermann Ahead of Schedule

John Lannan's season wasn't quite what everyone expectedfrom the guy who was the Opening Day starter in 2010. No one expected a 10-0 start and a 0.73 ERA, but they expected a stable start every 5 days. In the end, Lannan went through some sort of elbow issues in the first half of the season, but all in all, he just was unable to locate his pitches. He simply couldn't get it done. It's something you just hate to see from a guy like Lannan, who showed lots of promise both on and off the field.

Unfortunately, Lannan's 2-5 record and 5.76 ERA just wasn't enough, and he was demoted to AA Harrisburg today. A move that 2 weeks ago, I would have told you would never ever happen. But failing to make it 5 innings in 2 consecutive starts and sporting almost a 6.00 ERA wouldn't have saved anyone in baseball halfway through the season. Joining the Nats will be RHP Joel Peralta, who has been a reliever for his entire career in Kansas City, Anaheim, and Colorado.

One last thing to encourage Nats fans, though, is that LHP Ross Detwiler has been taken from the 60-Day DL and is now in the rotation down in Harrisburg. With Peralta's promotion, that leaves the Nationals with two options as I can see it for the rotation.
  1. Go with a 4 man rotation for a little while. They have a day off on Thursday, so it's possible.
  2. Pull Miguel Batista from the bullpen and give him a spot start or two until you figure out who the 5th man is.
More than likely, option 1 is the answer in this situation. Detwiler's addition to the Harrisburg rotation probably means he'll be ready for the big soon, and after another start or two down there, he will probably join the rotation in DC. With Lannan in the minors, it'll be replacing a lefty with a lefty. Now is the time to see if Detwiler is the real deal, as he was the 6th overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft.

I was surprised that Peralta was promoted, considering Manager Jim Riggleman said this past week that Craig Stammen had a shot at making the bullpen in DC. But it wasn't to be, yet at least. There are still many huge decision to be made in DC over the next few weeks with one big pitcher coming off of the DL and 3 big starters (Wang, Zimmermann, Marquis) schedule to come off before the season ends.

Detwiler will be ready very soon, and so will Jordan Zimmermann. The question with Zimmermann will be whether he comes out of the bullpen or if he joins the rotation, and when. Even by Mike Rizzo's account, J. Zimm is way ahead of schedule, and by all accounts he will NOT be rushed back. It is encouraging, though that Zimmermann was in uniform throughout the weekend series with the White Sox and threw a simulated game of 35 pitches on Friday before the game. Maybe the organization knows something we don't.

The games haven't been very exciting lately, but one thing is for sure. The promotions and demotions will be fast and furious over the next few months, and with only about 40 days until the trade deadline, the Nationals front office may be more interesting to watch than the team over the next few weeks. Stay tuned...

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