Ex-White Sox/Angels/D-Backs/Dodgers hurler Jon Garland is one of the ten (TEN?! - Does that include Oil Can Boyd?) free agents pitchers the Nats are eying this winter. Garland is apparently keeping company with guys like Jason Marquis, Joel Pineiro, Doug Davis and John Smoltz. (Seriously though, if they sign Smoltz don't they at least owe Dennis Boyd a tryout?)
Garland's career numbers are the very definition of unspectacular. A 104 ERA+, a K/BB ratio of 1.6; he's a lot like a right-handed John Lannan. On the plus side he's just 30 and can be predictably projected for 200 innings pitched with an ERA in the mid-fours. For the 2010 Washington Nationals those are #2 starter numbers.
Garland wants three years, the Nats are apparently offering two. I'd be okay with something in the 2 year/$15M or 3 yr/$20M dollar range. The third year doesn't bother me as much as it does other folks because honestly, beyond Strasburg and (maybe) Lannan, who are you penciling in to the 2012 Nationals rotation that's definitely going to improve on a 33-year old Jon Garland?
That said, Garland's not a marked improvement on any of the half dozen other mid-rotation innings eaters still on the maket, so if he want's $10M a year he's been hitting the egg nog a bit early. But he doesn't have to be a "steal" for the Nats to make out well. That Jon Garland would be the biggest free agent pitcher signing in the history of the Washington Nationals tells you pretty much all you need to know about the state of the pitching staff. He just has to offer some stability to the rotation beyond Lannan and (hopefully) Strasburg and he's worth any reasonable price.