Davey not sure Nats need another starter

Davey not sure Nats need another starter
December 6, 2011, 2:25 pm
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DALLAS -- If the first 36 hours of this year's Winter Meetings are an indication of things to come, the majority of my time here is going to be spent refuting bad rumors spreading through the lobby at the Anatole Hotel like wildfire.

The latest head-scratcher came last night when former big-league executive and current radio host Jim Duquette posted on his Twitter account that the Nationals had offered C.J. Wilson a six-year deal. This suddenly became the talk of the lobby, with media members and rival executives alike questioning how that could possibly be true.

Well, it wasn't. Club sources shot that rumor down within an hour, insisting no such offer had been made nor would be made at any point. How many times do I need to say this: Mark Buehrle is the Nationals' top pitching target right now. They have no serious interest in C.J. Wilson. Got that? Good.

There is some growing question, though, about the Nationals ability to actually convince Buehrle to choose them over the dozen or so other teams who have expressed interest in the veteran left-hander. Which then raises another question: Do the Nats really need to add a starter to a rotation that already has more viable candidates than available slots?

Davey Johnson doesn't believe they do.

"You know, I really like my staff," the manager said yesterday during his media session. "I like it as it is right now. Any time you can improve, go for it, but I haven't been pushing in that direction."

What would the Nationals' Opening Day rotation look like if they make no changes from this point forward? It would include Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Chien-Ming Wang and probably Ross Detwiler. If they do add another arm, either Lannan or Detwiler would wind up as the odd man out, and Johnson doesn't seem to keen on losing either lefty.

Lannan's value has been debated here ad nauseum, so no need to rehash that. Detwiler, though, presents an interesting dilemma. He's going to be out of options next season, so he either has to make the club or be exposed to waivers.

And if he makes the club, it's going to be out of the rotation, not the bullpen.

"I like him in the rotation," Johnson said. "He showed me a lot last year. I think he grew up quite a bit."

Detwiler was not nearly as effective during a short stint in the bullpen, and the Nationals appear to have all but given up that experiment.

So where does that leave things? On the one hand, the Nats would love to add a quality, veteran starter to provide consistency and mentor Strasburg and Zimmermann. On the other hand, the acquisition of such a starter would force them to part ways with someone else they don't want to lose.

Just one more thing to consider as Day 2 of the Winter Meetings gets underway.