Friday, February 3, 2012

The Future Is Now

Since Les Expos moved to DC, the fan-base that has been alienated by one of the worst owners in sports 40 miles away (Baltimore) has been waiting for the losing years to give way to promise and growth. It looks like the wait is over...

The Edwin Jackson FA watch was nearing an end, with him supposedly weighing a one-year offer from BOS, a multi-year offer from BAL, and two possible other multi-year offers. Then comes the news that's he's agreed to a one-year deal, and people start typing the headline Jackson to WHAT? He took a one-year deal, but in WAS??? Were they even looking for another pitcher with Strasburg, Gonzalez, Zimmermann, Lannan and Wang penciled into the rotation?? Well, now they've got 6 legit starters for 5 spots because they did indeed swoop in and sign Edwin Jackson to a one-year $8M deal on Thursday.

The rotation was already looking really good with a tough 1-2-3 punch, young and controllable, but now adding a 28 year old who has been around the league and has put up a sub-4.0 ERA splitting time between CHW and STL. Last year, in fact, the Cards don't win the WS without Jackson getting them there. Jackson has always been a little hit or miss, he will strike out 10, but walk 6 in the process, as illustrated by his no-hitter in 2010 while walking 8. A one year contract in a pitchers park for an up and coming young team is a good way to draw attention before UFA, however there is always risk, such as injury or ineffectiveness that could end up costing him money.

I think that it's a good deal for him, and provided healthy, he's setting himself up for the $10m/yr contract he wants next offseason. He'd be a nice consolation prize to a team missing out on Cain, Grienke, Marcum, Moon, or the other starters available, but that is a lot of competition for money next year, so time will tell if this backfires.

With a rotation of Strasburg-Gonzalez-Zimmerman-Jackson-Lannan/Wang/Detwiler they look like they are ready to hang with anyone in the East. A lineup of Ramos, LaRoche, Espinosa, Desmond, Zimmerman, Morse, Werth and Harper could be good enough to make some noise, although there are still questions about if Harper is ready or not, I'd be surprised if he's not in the lineup by July.

By rolling out a promotion about taking back the park and not letting Phillies fans roll en masse into the stadium, it looks like the Nationals are ready to make some noise, but the two issues that plague all young teams are and development.