Starting pitching is already the strong suit of the Washington Nationals—especially now that Gio Gonzalez may be off the hook concerning his PED allegations—but general manager Mike Rizzo has again bolstered the depth of the starting rotation.
The Nationals and right-handed pitcher Chris Young agreed on Thursday to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training—to which he'll obviously be showing up just a bit late.
The Nationals' Twitter account broke the news:
#Nationals agree to terms with RHP Chris Young on minor-league deal (MLB Spring Training). He is 53-43 w/ 3.79 ERA in 159 career starts.— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) February 21, 2013
Young has pretty much never finished a season healthy. Ever. Only once in nine career seasons has he topped the 175-inning mark, though he has seen success when actually on the mound.
His career ERA of 3.79 is very respectable, as is his career WHIP of 1.22.
From 2006-07, when he was the "healthiest" in his career, Young led the league in hits per nine innings with marks of 6.7 and 6.1, respectively. He was an All-Star in 2007 with a career-low ERA of 3.12 over 30 starts.
Young made just 22 starts from 2009-11 because of various injuries. He returned last season to make 20 starts (115.0 innings) for the New York Mets.
Despite his 6'10" frame, Young only averaged around 85 miles per hour on his fastball. This should be something that the Nationals are wary of during the spring.
Stephen Strasburg, Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and Dan Haren will undoubtedly comprise the starting five for manager Davey Johnson.
Young simply provides depth, and there's certainly nothing wrong with having plenty of depth over a rigorous 162-game schedule.
Extremely low-risk deal with the potential for a decent-sized reward—not a bad strategy by Rizzo.