Nationals Baseball: Wrapping up EJax

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wrapping up EJax

On a bit of a vacation so this will be brief.  I'm going to leave out any sort of deal talk involving some of the other pitchers because I didn't get a chance to grab all of them.  Thanks to Alan Fawcett, Alex Howard, Robert Schiff, Wally, Chaos, Chaz R, and John Doerr for the E Jax questions, which I've combined a bit here.

Outside of a FA acquisition or trade, who would fill the void? Lannan? Garcia? Duke? Who's in the minors?

Lannan is the obvious candidate.  He's a pitcher the Nats (or at least Rizzo) don't particularly like, who makes a lot of money (relatively), who will be a free agent after next year, but who is young enough that his value as a back of the rotation guy should be stable enough to attract attention. Therefore you pitch him, don't really hurt yourself (because he is a decent #5) and you try to deal him.

Outside of Lannan pickings get slim fast. Everyone likes what they saw of Garcia but the 64 innings he pitched this year were his most since 2005.  He needs to be stretched out and it'll take a year at least. On the older side the Nats had Zack Duke look ok in AAA this year.  Once a Pirate staple, now a baseball vagabond, he's likely to take a job that gives him a better shot at a major league rotation.  I'd expect to see Yunesky Maya, if only because Rizzo hates to admit a mistake, although he did have a decent AAA season.  As for younger pitchers, you might see a Jeff Mandel or a Trevor Holder depending on how their 2013s go, but neither are considered good prospects.

What is then promising for the future that we might see next year? Two names, Daniel Rosenbaum and Alex Meyer.  Rosenbaum is more likely to be seen first, having already pitched well in AA.  He's improved consistently in the minors, has excellent command, and is a ground ball type of guy.  He's not young per se but just young enough. Meyer is the true prospect, live arm type of guy who has been progressing ok for a year now, but he's only hit high-A so far so I really doubt you'd see him before September.

Should they give him a qualifying offer?

Yes.  Edwin is good enough that you wouldn't mind having him back next year at fair market value and you don't want to lose a potential draft pick you would get by making the offer.  There isn't a terrible downside here unless you think the Nats REALLY want to jettison EJax.

Without Edwin Jackson would the rotation worse than what he started last year with?

Well maybe technically, but it wouldn't be worse than what Rizzo thought he had when he opened 2012.  Strasburg is guaranteed the whole year. ZNN was great.  Gio blossomed into a Cy Young contender.  Detwiler looks better than Edwin.  In hindsight yes, losing Jackson will potentially make it worse, but the Nats will be opening with much higher expectations from the rotation with or without him


Froggy said...

I like what I saw from Garcia. I think it would be interesting to see him start a few games to see how he approached things. As to Ejax, offer him one year at $11mil with a performance option for a second.

*As predicted Zimmy had shoulder surgery to repair his AC joint. I guess that is better news than having to repair a rotator cuff/SLAP tear injury. Although he did look like he had the classic 'dead arm' throw consistent with a SLAP tear. Good luck with rehab Zimm and carrying your new bride across the threshold!*

Donald said...

I agree with Froggy about the 1 year deal. There aren't alot of better options than Ejax to start next year, but there probably will be come 2014, so we don't want to be tied to him for too long.

blovy8 said...

The rotation would certainly be worse. Since Garcia and Perry as starters in April 2013 are pipe dreams, and Lannan does not appear to be in their immediate or even recent past plans - right now Maya would be the fifth starter. Absent a trade, they are signing someone.

Miles Treacy said...

I've read a couple places suggesting the Nats going after Greinke in FA. Do you see this as an option/realistic possibilty?

Chaz R said...

Good insightful points Harper. I agree with Froggy as well... EJax gives me heartburn (maybe not as much as Lannan tho). I personally like EJax, and he really does have talent. When his head and stuff are right, he is as tough to hit as any MLB pitcher. If he just had more consistency, I would jump at offering him a multi-year deal.

I would imagine, we will likely lose him if just one year @ $11m is offered.

As much as I would like to see them get an FA like Lohse or Greinke, they just really dont need to spend that kind of money for a #5 starter.

Donald said...

Harper -- I have a question to add to your list for analysis. We always rank pitchers in the rotation as the #1 - #5 guy but I'm not sure how much that makes sense. What I mean is that to the extent that things line up so our #1 faces their #1, our #2 their #2, etc. it makes sense to want our #5 guy to be better than anybody else's #5 guy. That way we have a favorable match up most nights he pitches. But how often does that really happen? If our #5 faces the opponents #1,#2,#3, #4, #5 in equal amounts then he only has a favorable match up 20% of the time and our #1, even if he were an average #1 would have a favorable match up 80% of the time.

I guess what I'm asking is why is it better to have an ace through #5 guy than to have 5 "#3's"? And why actively look for a "#4" or "#5" starter if you know they are going to be worse than the opposition's pitcher more often than not. Or do the match ups actually end up lining up enough that it makes sense?

Theo Mackie said...

How about every 5th game we go 3-4 innings Garcia and 3-4 innings Duke? I know it would never happen but it seems like the best plan given the pitchers currently in the system.

Wally said...

I like EJax better than any FA starter except Greinke. He is in his prime, durable and has the stuff to shut down a quality line up. He has been amazing consistent the last three years (going by FIP/xFIP, not ERA). I wouldn't expect improvement, but this levelis pretty good and a level above anyone else within the organization over the next couple of years.

I'd go to 3 years for him, at $10-$12m per.

Harper said...

Froggy - agreed on Garcia but you can't just start a guy with 2 TJs behind him and a 65 IP high since Emmitt Smith was running.

Good for Zimm, let's hope the recovery is perfect

Donald - He'll get offered it... don't think he'll take it should have multi-year deals from good teams out there

blovy8 - you would think they'd sign SOMEONE. the question is if it's a good pitcher or another bargain 1yr deal.

Miles - It is an option, the Nats did try to trade for him before he got dealt to Miluakee but I just don't see it. He's going to get soemthing in the 5+yr 100+ mill range. I can't see Rizzo doing that for a pitcher.

ChazR - If he had more consistency though he'd probably be a #2 on a good team already...

Donald - Hmmm hmmmm. hmmm my guess is they match up more than you think, but I'm not sure that matters. I don't think you LOOK to get #1-#5 types. You look to get the best guys you can while keeping a budget. Like this year the Nats cheap Stras/ZNN/Gio allowed them to sign EJax for one year and the rotation was more of a #1 #1 #2 #3 #3 type.

Now would it make more sense financially to make a #3, #3, #3, #3, #3 rotation vs a #1,#2,#3,#4,#5?.. Completely on the FA guess is no. I think a #3 type is full of overpriced veteran talent and where the cost really jump up. But it's a guess. Something to look at this offseason

Theo - I like it (well maybe not Duke necessarily but the 3/3 inning thing) and yes it will never happen. Also if this were 2015 I'd say just go with a 4-man.

Wally - I like Anibal better but that's just me.Both will get more than you are offering. Not much more, but more.

Froggy said...

Hey man, I tried the DC Brau 'The Corruption india pale' and 'The Public pale' this weekend. mmmmm,mmmmm, good!

Which one you want?

Zimmerman11 said...

White Sox declined 13M option on Youkilis... what do you think about picking up the Youkster if we miss out on LaRoche? He can fill in at third base when Zimmerman spends his mandatory time on the DL and his numbers in Chi-Town were pretty good.

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