January 14, 2007

Southeast Jerome and the Pickle Guy

Pitching we wanted, and "pitching" is what we got. The Nationals signed RHP Jerome Williams and LHP Brandon Claussen. Williams got a major league contract, Claussen a minor league deal. Williams is fat and Claussen is broken, but they're genuine, certified, bona fide veteran hurlers. To the extent that their presence on the roster means that young arms like Matt Chico and Colin "Battlestar" Balester won't be rushed to the big leagues, bully for them.

"Southeast" Jerome Williams was the consensus pick for most intriguing remaining free agent pitcher. Just 25 years old, Williams has had big league success in the not-too-distant past (3.91 ERA in 17 starts in 2005.) But his numbers have been steadily declining, and he got rocked in Chicago last season. Still, there's plenty of time for him to turn it around and have the career everyone expected of him when he debuted as a San Franciso prospect in '03. Besides, it's not like we're risking a playoff spot by slotting him in as our probable No. 2 *gulp* starting pitcher.

Brandon "
Pickles" Claussen is another low-risk, low-reward pick up. He's rehabbing a surgically repaired throwing shoulder, and likely won't even be a viable option until mid-season, but hey, we're expecting a few pitchers to burn out by then anyway. Claussen's 27, and only a few years removed from a respectable season in Cincinnati's Great American Bandbox (4.21 ERA in 29 starts.)

Assuming a starting rotation of John Patterson, Jerome Williams, Shawn Hill, Tim Redding and "Irish Mike" O'Connor makes you feel better than a Patterson, Hill, Redding, O'Connor, Beltran Perez starting 5, these signings were very good news. Even if you're largely indifferent to the composition of the rotation behind JPatt, adding Southeast Jerome and the Pickle Guy takes some of the sting out of being priced out of the market for Ramon Ortiz, Jorge Sosa, Stevie Trashcan, and Ryan Freaking Franklin.


Anonymous said...

Sort of makes you wonder if any of them have seen Major League.

Maybe they'll start pulling pieces of clothing off of a cardboard cutout of Jim Bowden.

Nate said...

A worthy idea, though I suspect a better motivator would be to start with JimBo in a speedo and add a swatch of leather pants for every victory.