Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Nationals fans entering the offseason must feel like they have woken up to the same song on their alarm clock every single morning, like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. For the third offseason in a row, their team is once again searching for a fourth starter to fill out their rotation.
In his ranking of 2014 Top 50 Free Agents with Predictions, Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com predicted that Matt Garza would be the free agent that the Nationals choose to fill the fourth spot in the rotation. Dierkes described Garza as "a hard thrower who has consistently posted sub-4.00 ERAs, with good K/BB ratios in recent years," adding that "the Nationals figure to bring in some kind of starter."
Garza fits the bill. Compare him and his 2013 statistics with the last two free-agent starters whom the Nationals signed and the stats they posted in the season before they signed with Washington:
Jackson's 2012 contract was worth $11 million and Haren's 2013 contract was worth $13 million, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. Keeping with this pattern, Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com expects Garza to sign a "projected four-year deal in excess of $60 million."
For the Nationals, repeating this pattern has become more and more expensive each time. Plus, their dreams of a solid performance from the fourth spot in the rotation have yielded nightmarish performances.
Maybe this time the radio will play something other than "I Got You Babe" when Nationals fans wake up from their offseason slumber.