August 11, 2009

Cui bono?

There's no upside for the Nats in Jordan Zimmermann's impending Tommy John surgery. It's all well and good for Mike Rizzo to talk about success rates and pitchers coming back stronger, but the bottom line is: The Nats just lost a key piece of their developmental puzzle for at least one year.

This is why baseball fans should have TINSTAAPP tattooed on their foreheads (preferably backwards, so as to be easily readable in the mirror.) This is why you trade Nick Johnson for Aaron Thompson and draft two pitchers for every position player. Baseball is a numbers game, in every sense of the word. From the statistics that measure accomplishment to the attrition that occurs at every level from little league to the majors.

The Nats did everything with Zimmermann that you're supposed to do with a young pitcher. They brought him along slowly, limited his innings, monitored his pitch counts and shut him down at the first sign of trouble. And his elbow exploded like a cheap firework anyway. It's a funny old world, innit?

The Nats don't benefit, and J-Z certainly doesn't, but this turn of events provides leverage to at least two pitchers in the Nats orbit. The first, obviously, is Stephen Strasburg. A failure to sign Strasburg, coming within a week of losing Zimmermann, would be a body blow to a franchise desperately seeking to claw its way out of national joke status. The second, less obvious beneficiary is FJB-nemesis Scott Olsen.

The much-maligned Olsen is likewise recovering from surgery, and there has been some suggestion that he will be non-tendered this offseason to avoid arbitration. Now that our pitching depth just got considerably shallower, Olsen's odds of securing a return engagement have improved dramatically. Hard as it may be to believe, when your alternatives are Stammen, Mock, Martin, Balester, Martis and an unknown cast of dozens, Olsen's not a bad bulwark.

Folks, that's a sad commentary on the state of the franchise's pitching 5 years in. Cui Bono? Nobody.


Kevin said...

I'm looking forward to future posts titled "Res Ipsa loquitor," "Ubi jus, ibi remedium," and "Rizzo delenda est."

Nate said...

Actually, between the last post and this one, I'm just on a mini-"Departed" tangent. Alec Baldwin was born to be a supporting actor.

Basil said...

Don't forget "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc." Bloggers are really good at that one! ;-)