We all know that the Nationals aren’t going to be in the market for some of the top-tier free-agent pitchers such as Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw. You can also forget the second and third-tier starting pitchers that are available such as Chris Bassitt, Nathan Eovaldi, Noah Syndergaard, Tyler Anderson, Mike Clevinger, and Taijuan Walker. However, it is very possible that the Nationals will look at some back-end free-agent starters during the offseason.
This is where it gets interesting… There are a lot of quality pitchers that could anchor the starting rotation for the Nationals. Here are a handful of pitchers that are available that the Nationals should take a look at.
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After getting a hot start to the 2021 season and being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, At age 34, RHP Kyle Gibson has regressed to his career numbers, hitting a 5.06 ERA (4.21 FIP) over his time with the Phillies this season. Gibson could be a solid option to man the back end of a rotation with a good defense behind him. The Nationals should take a look at him. This past season, Gibson’s base salary was $7M with $1M in incentives, bringing his total yearly salary to $8M. Very affordable.
At this stage of his career, Carrasco is a back-of-the-rotation pitcher, as NL East Division rivals the New York Mets saw in 2022. The 35-year-old right-hander is finally healthy after a crazy 2021 season and Carrasco had some great starts against bad teams, some rocky starts against good ones, and plenty of ups and down in between. The Mets can pick up his 2023 option for $13 million, but if they don’t, they can still try to work out a more team-friendly contract over multiple years. Carrasco is an expensive pitcher and might be out of the reach for the Nationals, however, if the team wants to have a solid veteran presence that has actually pitched, it might be worth his contract price.
After Cincinnati Reds surprisingly waived Miley in November 2021 off-season after a great season, the Chicago Cubs quickly picked him up. The 35-year-old right-hander only made eight starts for the team, though, because a shoulder injury derailed his season. He’s a high-risk, high-reward play at this stage of his career. Maybe the Nationals would avoid having another pitcher with injury concerns. Yeah, the Nationals have a lot of those.
The last interesting pitcher that the Nationals might take a look at is 30-year-old LHP Sean Manaea. Manaea is interesting because the New York Mets almost traded for him before the start of the 2022 season, instead the team went out and got Chris Bassitt from the A’s. Manaea has made 28 starts for the Padres with an ERA that boarded 5.00 and now that teams do not have to give up draft picks for the left-hander more teams might be interested in his services for the back of the rotation. The Lefthander will not cost the Nationals that much as his current salary with the Padres is around $9M according to SportsTrac.
We know that Mike Rizzo values starting pitching so it should be interesting to see if he will take a look at some of these pitchers. Only time will tell.