It looks like Rizzo won’t be trying to make moves that benefit the team in the short-run in anticipation of Strasburg being shut down at some point in September. Rather, it looks like Rizzo is looking to the long-run with any potential moves he makes.
Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported the Nationals are aiming to land a starting pitcher to ease the blow of losing Stephen Strasburg, a notion Jason Reid explored earlier this month. The sense here is, the Nationals are more intrigued by the idea than committed to it.
The acquisition cost for the big-name pitchers out there – Zack Greinke, Francisco Liriano and Ryan Dempster – will probably be too high for the Nationals’ liking. All three will be free agents at the end of the season, which doesn’t fit into Rizzo’s aim to upgrade in the long-term.
The other issue is this: Strasburg will likely pitch into mid-September. The Nationals would be giving up a significant return in order to upgrade their rotation only for two or three weeks before the playoffs began.
In the time between when the Nationals traded for the new starter and Strasburg’s final start, what would they do with him? Ross Detwiler would have to move into the bullpen for a short while, then return to the rotation. In the playoffs, the Nationals wouldn’t need a fifth starter, anyway. Then again, too much pitching is never a bad thing, and a “problem” Davey Johnson would surely be happy to iron out.