Washington Nationals: What Happens When Chien-Ming Wang Returns from the DL?

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 24: Starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang #40 of the Washington Nationals works the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on September 24, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIApril 21, 2012

The Washington Nationals have the best rotation in MLB right now—period.

Prior to tonight's 2-0 shutout against the Marlins, the Nationals' starters own an ERA of 2.08. Through 86.1 innings, their K/9 is 8.10. They have left 70.9 percent of baserunners on base.

After the game, all those statistics will surely be even better.

The rotation is currently comprised of Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler.

John Lannan is currently at Triple-A Syracuse, and Chien-Ming Wang is nursing a hamstring injury that forced him to the disabled list.

Lannan won't be with the club before the All-Star break, barring an injury, and Wang should return from the DL sometime in late May, or early June.

When Wang returns, who is the odd man out of the rotation?

A better question would probably be whether the rotation should even be altered when he returns.

In my opinion—no, it shouldn't.

If the current rotation can keep up this type of production, then there's absolutely no reason to make a change. Also, Wang will likely become expendable.

There's no doubt that teams will be interested in Wang, as he's been a reliable major league starter in the past. He's been injured recently, but there's reason to believe that he can overcome this most recent one.

With Lannan in Triple-A, the Nationals still have the rotation depth to sustain an injury. Even without an injury, Lannan will likely be up with the big club later this season when Strasburg reaches his 160-innings limit.

The Nationals have options, and there's nothing wrong with that. Managers around the league would love to be in Davey Johnson's position.

We'll have to see how he handles the situation, though. It should be interesting.

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