Leave it to Mike Rizzo to sign a starter the day after we post our 2012 Pitching Predictions...
Check with us next time Mike. Yes. The Nats, already 7 or 8 starters deep, signed Edwin Jackson to a one-year deal yesterday, adding yet another arm to a crowded rotation. Now, 4 out of the 5 spots are basically locked down with Wang, Lannan, and Detwiler squeezed (squoze? squozen?) into the 5 spot, and with the rumors swirling about Lannan, it might come down to just Wang and Detwiler.
This move by Rizzo indicates to me that he wants to launch the Nats not only into relevancy, but into a deep playoff run this season; imagine the Nats new top 4 in a short series or even a 7 game series. That is a scary proposition for a potential playoff opponent. Most-importantly, he has done this without turning 2012 into an all-or-nothing year. Gio, Strasburg, and Zimmermann are all long-term pieces and should Detwiler step up, the Nats would have 4 young core starters. So, by signing EJax to a one year deal the Nats become serious contenders this year, without sacrificing the future.
Mike Rizzo called this signing and the Nats desire to add a centerfielder through the trade market "mutually exclusive". Methinks that a declaration of shenanigans is in order. Of course they are related, Rizzo can now shop Lannan, an eminently serviceable back of the rotation arm. Paired with several other pieces (Desmond, LaRoche, Bernandina, a rehabbing Chris Marerro, et al.), Rizzo may be able to swing a deal.
How likely is that? Lannan doesn't blow anyone's skirt up, but he is still young, he has shown the ability to pitch in the major leagues, and he is under team control for another 2 years. These are all things that have proven to be valued in the current baseball economy.
The saying "you can never have enough starting pitching" is true. Injuries happen and sometimes players just don't perform to the level their are capable, and in those instances, it's nice to have back-up. But the main reason this nugget is true is that a wealth of starting pitching gives you confidence. Today, Mike Rizzo paid $10 million dollars to Edwin Jackson. While it improved the on-field product, it also opened up 100 more options for the Nats in the trade market, bullpen make-up, and player development.
And that's why you can never have enough starting pitching.