So in a move that no one expected, the Nationals acquired LHP Tom Gorzelanny from the Chicago Cubs for 3 minor league prospects this afternoon (pending a physical). The details of the move are still a bit hazy, but one thing is for sure: a significant prospect will be sent to the Cubs, OF Michael Burgess. Burgess was a 1st round draft pick in 2007.
Here's a short bit about Gorzelanny: 28 years old, career 4.68 ERA, 1.60 strikeout/walk ratio. Gorzelanny has one outstanding season on his ledger in 2007 with the Pirates. He posted a 14-10 record, a 3.88 ERA, and threw more than 200 innings. Yes, with Pittsburgh. Besides that, he only has one other winning season in his career (2009), where he split time in Pittsburgh and Chicago and posted a 7-3 record and an outrageous 5.55 ERA.
Both Mac and Dave Nichols at Nats News Network have already pointed out that Gorzelanny is essentially John Lannan. Seems to be pretty accurate, though I think Gorzelanny's ceiling might be a bit higher despite his age. Though Lannan's career WAR is 6.4 while Gorzelanny's is just 4.1 over the course of a longer career. My problem isn't really that the Nats traded for Gorzelanny, it's that they gave up Michael Burgess and 2 other prospects for him. Would you have done that for John Lannan?
We'll have more on this "big" signing day (Gorzelanny and Cora) in the coming days, but I'll leave you with this. Is this the front line starter that Mike Rizzo was looking for? I know that Cliff Lee didn't happen, I know that Zack Grienke fell through, and I know that the Nationals starting rotation looks lackluster going into 2011. But I don't understand what was seemingly a forced move to get a 28 year old pitcher that has had one good season, when there are so many starters in the Nationals organization that need to be evaluated once and for all. Time will tell the results of this move, however.
At least Gorzelanny is a funny name to see on the back of a jersey...
[UPDATE - 4:55PM]
OF Michael Burgess inclusion in this trade has been confirmed, joining him will be RHP and 4th Round Draft Pick in 2009 A.J. Morris. Both of those players are included on Baseball America's Top 30 Nats prospects list, coming in at 19 and 18 respectively. There is reportedly another Nats player included in this deal, and according to Jim Callis at Baseball America this player is not on the Top 30 Nats Prospect list.
[UPDATE - 5:56PM]
The third player that the Nats are shipping off to Chicago has been confirmed by Bill Ladson of MLB.com; LHP Graham Hicks. This player appears to just be a filler player. A 4th round pick in 2008, Hicks has put up a 5.33 ERA and a 1.628 WHIP in his 3 minor league seasons. This past year he went 2-6 in 16 games between Vermont and Hagerstown (1G and 15G respectively).