The Nationals have been discussing the need to add a top of the rotation starter all offseason long. But after all the best starters signed elsewhere in free agency, it seemed as though they would be unable to accomplish one of their stated goals. But now the team is talking about acquiring that player by different means.
According to Phil Wood of MASN, the Nationals have had discussion with the Cleveland Indians about potential acquiring Fausto Carmona along with outfielder Grady Sizemore in a trade.
David Andriesen of CBSSports has some more on the kind of pitcher Fauston Carmona is, and a warning not to get too excited over the reports of a report about very early "discussions."
Carmona is due $6.1 million in 2011, with three years of club options beyond that. He wouldn't exactly be the top-of-the-rotation ace Mike Rizzo went into the winter targeting, but based on his 2010 numbers (13-14, 3.77 ERA, 210.1 innings, 102 ERA+), he can at least be a solid rotation piece....
Keep in mind that this is just talk, and the Nationals might end up interested in one of the two instead of both, but if they got both it would be $13.6 million for a couple of potentially big pieces with options in place for another year (or, alternately, the chance to cut ties).
Carmona might not be the elite pitcher that the Nationals had hoped they got this offseason, but he would be a great young pitcher to hold down the fort until Strasburg and Zimmermann take over, and to also be a part of the rotation of the future. He is a sinker ball pitcher, which would be particularly effective after the Nationals improve their infield defense in the offseason, another goal of the team.
Sizemore represents a little bit more of a risk. He is coming off knee surgery that limited him to just 33 games last year and is a free agent after the coming season. But when he is healthy he is one of the best center fielders in the game and is still just 28 years old. If he could stay right, he would be a welcome replacement to Nyjer Morgan, and could join Jayson Werth in what would become a pretty formidable outfield both offensively and defensively.
For more, head on over to our Nationals blog, Federal Baseball.