Washington Nationals "Open-Minded" Regarding Starting Pitching in Offseason

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIINovember 8, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Zack Greinke #23 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 25, 2012 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals had one of the best rotations in the National League last season, and they could be looking to add to that group this offseason.

Edwin Jackson was one of their five starters last season, and he pitched pretty well over 32 starts. He recorded a 4.03 ERA and provided the young staff with a veteran presence. However, the team chose not to offer him the $13.3 million qualifying offer, essentially ending his one-year long tenure in Washington.

A pitcher of Jackson's caliber can be important to a club, but general manager Mike Rizzo is not at all worried about replacing his production for 2013.

"We felt with the depth we had at the major league level and the depth of free agents that we had out there, we had as good or better options," Rizzo said (via Amanda Comak of The Washington Times).

This statement would suggest that the Nationals aren't just looking at No. 5 options to fill out the rotation. With guys like Zack Greinke, Jeremy Guthrie and Ryan Dempster available, the Nationals could easily surprise other teams and put together one of the best five-deep rotations in recent memory.

Putting together the strongest rotation possible is a top-priority of Rizzo's this season: "I'm much more open-minded with it this year. It doesn't necessarily have to be a veteran, it doesn't have to necessarily need to be a fifth-starter type of guy."

While it may be pure speculation at this point, it's scary to imagine the Nationals adding a guy like Greinke to their rotation. The only question that would need to be answered should that happen would be, who is the No. 1 guy?

That's not even a debate between two pitchers; it's between three.

A rotation featuring Greinke, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler (no particular order) would make the Nationals early World Series favorites.

While other positions would still need to be finalized for next season, that type of rotation would put the Nationals a league ahead of nearly every other team in the majors.