March 18, 2009

How Do We Blame This on JimBo?

Pulling a Patterson, the Nats today abruptly cut ties with SP Shawn Hill. Given that the team isn't exactly overburdened with starting pitching candidates, the timing of this move is surprising. Hill was working through his usual array of arm troubles this Spring, but got a clean bill of health (of sorts) from Dr. James Andrews and pitched a scoreless inning against the Marlins.

As with the Spring Training release of John Patterson almost a year ago today, the ultimate outcome is no shock to Nats fans, but it is another disappointment for a talented young pitcher who seems unlikely to ever fulfill his promise. Best of luck, Shawn. You and your sinking fastball will be sorely missed.

In a parallel move, the Nats signed veteran lefty reliever Joe Beimel to a 1-year, $2M deal. Couple the acquisition of Beimel and Julian Tavarez with Hill's departure, and I think it's fair to say that the rotation has leap-frogged the bullpen as the big question area for the team. Joe's already been annointed Manny's 8th inning guy, responsible for bridging the deadly Rivera - Hanrahan bullpen gap. So bullpen, settled; rotation, unsettled.

With Hill out of the picture, the competition for the two rotation spots behind Opening Day starter John Lannan, lefty Scott Olsen and enigma Daniel Cabrera just got a lot more urgent. Assistant/Acting GM Mike Rizzo seemed to suggest that Jordan Zimmermann was less than a lock to make the rotation out of camp, but unless new candidates join Collin Balester and Shairon Martis, it's looking hard to justify keeping Young Hov in Syracuse for two months.

Could Tavarez be a potential 5th starter candidate? Kip Wells? Jason Bergmann? A bionic Matt Chico? More importantly, why do the Nats seem to end up in this position season after season? You're telling me that it wouldn't have been worth it to overpay for Jon Garland just to pencil in 200 league-average innings between Olsen and Cabrera? Maybe a healthy Shawn Hill was always a pipe dream, but by my count, the team's starting pitching depth just went from marginal to non-existent.

What's the statute of limitations for blaming Jim Bowden for things?

1 comment:

Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

Blame JimBo for not doing this in October - this was a move that was LONG OVERDUE.