ZNN gave up a bunch of runs last night, but that's ok the guy isn't perfect. And besides it's not like anyone was thinking he's the best pitcher on the team. It's not like there was some kvetching over signing the guy long term even though he won't be eligible for free agency until after 2015.
Oh people did? And they were?
People look. ERA is great and all but it's not the best way to judge how a pitcher is going to perform going forward. That's because ERA is defense dependent. So the fact that ZNN's ERA since the beginning of 2012 is nice but it's hardly telling. Instead you should look at stats like FIP (takes into account a normal league BABIP) and xFIP (adds in a normal HR/FB ratio) to try to gauge who will be your best pitcher going forward.
ZNN ERA since 2012 : 3rd
ZNN FIP since 2012 : "only" 19th
ZNN xFIP since 2012 : a hideous 24th
Are there guys that can seemingly outperform FIP stats constantly? Sure. You knew one, you loved one : John Lannan. The guy well outperformed them for almost 425 innings, got injured, did a little bit worse than them, then got healthy and well outperformed them for another 180. But here's the thing - that's A LOT of innings. ZNN has outperformed xFIP for 2 almost full seasons now so he can start to assume that he might beat that number regularly (thanks to a tendency not to give up homeruns) but he only really outperformed FIP itself last year (and the first part of this year). You can't really roll on that being dependable just yet.We'll take another look at it after the end of the year.
(Also - I know you want to say BUT THE NATS D IS SOOOOOOO GOOD! It is good, which keeps BABIP down some, but it's not that good)
But as you see it's not that he goes from "maybe the best" to "maybe the worst" or even average looking at these stats. He's still really, really good. 19th in the league? That's a #1 starter for half the league. Certainly a #2 anyone would be happy with. But here's the other thing.
Gio FIP since 2012 : 8th
Stras FIP since 2012 : 5th
Gio xFIP since 2012 : 21st
Stras xFIP since 2012 : 1st
You have two guys in the rotation, one who is arguably better, and one inarguably. Sorry Strasburg haters but the guy having this terribly mediocre year (that by the way has put his ERA at 10th in the NL right now) is better (and younger) than ZNN. Is he more of an injury risk than ZNN, I suppose but then again
Should the Nats try to re-sign Jordan? Most definitely. Sometime after this year (which is what he wants anyway) or into 2014 they should look to extend him because he's a very good pitcher and he's not old. You want very good pitchers who are not old. But he's not the best pitcher on the team and with Gio and Strasburg guaranteed to be in DC cheaply up through 2016, if the Nats don't re-sign ZNN it will probably still be ok.