Fix me! Please! Number one: The Washington Nationals
What a way to start. Even Dr Izzy Steven's would struggle with this flatline case. There can be little doubt about it, the Washington Nationals are the worst team in Major League Baseball.
How can we say this with such bare faced bravado? Easy enough, they don’t win many games, at all. They are six games behind the next worst team in MLB. Extrapolate that over the course of the rest of the season and they could finish as much as eighteen games behind the next worst teams in MLB. That’s pretty shocking.
They make the Orioles, Rockies, A’s and Astros look like decent squads. That in itself takes some doing.
But wait! It gets even worse. Most shocking of all is Washington’s shocking run differential. This is their runs scored subtracting their runs conceded. The best in the Majors is the Dodgers at +82. They are both scoring runs and stopping their opponents from doing same. The bad teams are hovering around the -30 region. Pretty bad.
Washington have an entire category absolutely to themselves at a disgraceful -74! A full thirty runs behind the other struggling teams. Simply put, their pitching is getting absolutely pounded, having given up 324 runs to date.
They should blast through the 1,000 run mark before the season is up.
The irony is they are scoring runs, their 250 runs places them ahead of fourteen other MLB teams, including the likes of Arizona and St Louis and, amazingly, only seven runs behind the over-hyped yet expensively constructed Mets.
They just can't get any outs.
It’s all well and good that the Nationals have the first pick in the up coming draft however they owe it to their fans to start getting some quality outings from their starting pitching right now.
Not tomorrow, now.
Can you even name any other starter on the Nationals rotation, apart from John Lannan? Their leader in wins (5), Martis, has a 5.31 era.Their third starter, Zimmerman, has a 5.71 era. Their fourth and fifth guys go 5.23 and 6.45.
Just plain ugly.
The quick fix here? Two starters. Two fresh faces to plug in behind Lannan and bring some life to the Nationals stagnant rotation.
First up a little maneuvering to get Brad Penny off the Red Sox. Penny can dominate in the National League, and would be a perfect number two man for the Nationals. Easy to get too, Nick Johnson would do it, the Sox would probably bite the Nationals hand off if they offered him up. This wouldn't have to mean offensive suicide for the Nationals either. Remember, scoring runs is not their major issue. Josh Willingham and Austin Kearns can step up the depth chart to fill in the gap left by Johnson. The Sox get a patient bat and the Nationals grab a number two guy with a plus fastball. Everybody comes out a winner.
Trade number two, again targeting a decent starter.
Ron Villone has had a superb last month, having given up zero runs in his last sixteen innings.
Tampa will have a log-jam in the rotation when Kazmir comes back, and are suffering badly in the bullpen area. Washington could package Villone, out of sorts former closer Joel Hanrahan and backup infielder Ronnie Belliard (Tampa need infield cover with Iwamura out) for Jeff Niemann, who is pitching very well lately however might find himself the odd man out when Kazmir comes back.
Imagine a starting rotation of Lannan, Penny, Niemann and two others, a huge upgrade from the current situation. Think of the average Nationals fan, turning off his or her PC at work, grabbing his or her jacket and going to a game. Instead of thinking 'Who on earth is starting tonight?' he or she can think 'Hey, Penny (or Niemann) goes tonight, we actually have a shot..'
Gate receipts go up, earned run averages come down, the bullpen is less taxed and the Nationals are no longer the laughing stock of the Majors.
What's not to like?