We just learned that the Nationals were no longer pursuing Carl Pavano, and that he will likely end up in Minnesota. He was the best free agent pitcher left on the market, so missing out on him stings a little bit, but in the long run, it is a very good thing for the Nationals.
The Nationals aren't about this year. They might not even be about next year either. They are building for the long term, and they probably don't have a shot to win very much in the next year or so. Pavano would have helped get some wins over the next couple years, but at what cost?
Pavano would probably require a pretty big contract after a very solid season in Minnesota. Something that the Nationals could definitely afford to give him, but that might not be worth it for a franchise that is still a few years away from contending.
If it was a 28 year old pitcher who could be around when the Nationals were going to be making their serious run at a division title, that would be one thing. But even if Pavano lives up to his contract, he would probably be retiring or out of town by the time the Nationals are getting serious. How much does a few wins over the course of the next couple seasons cost?
Let's not forget Pavano's injury history. He couldn't live up to that big contract the Yankees gave him, and it becomes harder to stay healthy as you get older. It's a risk I'm sure the Nationals considered.
A few days ago Mike Rizzo came out and said that the team had not been very much in contact with Pavano since the Winter Meetings. Maybe he had thought about all this stuff already.
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