In recent days we've heard the names Jorge De La Rosa and Carl Pavano floated out as potential rotation fillers if the whole Cliff Lee thing somehow doesn't work out (as if!). This seems kind of strange because the talk has been about getting a "true #1" kind of guy and these two don't seem to be much better than the two rotation fillers the Nats have now, Jason Marquis and John Lannan. Take a look at the average numbers :
Marquis (2007-9) : 4.37 ERA, 1.403 WHIP, 0.8 HR/9, 4.9 K/9
Lannan (2007-9) : 3.91 ERA, 1.359 WHIP, 1.0 HR/9, 4.6 K/9
De La Rosa (2008-10) : 4.49 ERA, 1.385 WHIP, 1.0 HR/9, 8.9 K/9
Pavano (2009-10) : 4.39 ERA, 1.280 WHIP, 1.1 HR/9, 5.7 K/9
That's pretty similar right? You could be worried about the injuries to Lannan and Marquis but take a look at these post break 2010 numbers:
Marquis : 4.29, 1.510, 1.3, 5.0
Lannan: 3.42, 1.244, 0.9, 6.2
While there are some vagaries in there (Marquis first two hideous starts are counted - he was much better after that, Lannan seems to be over his head in the strikeout dept) it does seem like these two should be able to at least match their 3 years averages noted above.
You can't be betting on youth with De La Rosa and Pavano, they aren't young. You can't be betting on the anti-Coors field effect with De La Rosa, he was roughly the same on the road as at home the past 3 years. I initially thought was they were intrigued by De La Rosa's pure stuff (that 8.9 K/9 is nice), and Pavano's superior 2010. But De La Rosa has always had stuff and it's never come together and he's 30 years old, that doesn't seem like a smart bet. Pavano is 35 and spent the good part of his major league career on what amounted to the best worker's comp deal you'll ever see. Not that either would be a terrible pick-up but it was hard to see exactly what they brought to the table that the Nats were interested enough in to mention them by name. Then I saw the groundball numbers
De La Rosa - 52.3% of the balls put in play off of him were groundballs in 2010
Pavano - 51%
Both these guys were heavy ground ball picthers in 2010. If you were to rank all pitchers with 120 IP or more (120IP to get De La Rosa in there) De La Rosa would be 15th and Pavano would be 19th. That's up there. Rizzo is sticking to his "defense first" guns. (which makes the Uggla flirtation so confusing - maybe he'd put him at first?) Last year he brought in Marquis (55.6% in 2009), and Wang (53.3% 2009), while ignoring Garland and Davis, both flyball pitchers. He's always made known his love of Webb (career 64%). This is the type of team he wants. Pitchers that keep the ball in play so a great infield defense can go after it.
Obviously this is bad news for Dunn lovers. If there were any out there with hope that he will be back, forget it. I think now more than ever, it's very likely that the "deal" offered to Dunn wasn't anywhere near market value. It's also bad news for those that want the team to take a gamble on Javy Vazquez. His GB% was 35.5% last year and career-wise he usually didn't get past 40%. That's not the type of pitcher Rizzo wants.
Now to be sure, Rizzo won't pass up a bargain on anything. He did eventually take that minor-league flier on Livan, a fly ball pitcher, and he did sign him for next year on an incentive-filled 1 million dollar deal. However, I wouldn't hold my breath on Rizzo offering a fair market price to anyone who doesn't force the opposing bats to drive balls into the dirt. Lee, Webb, De La Rosa, and Pavano probably make-up the entire population of potential new Nats starters for 2010.