MLB Offseason Trades: Washington Nationals Acquire Tom Gorzelanny

Douglas MayberryContributor IIIJanuary 19, 2011

Gorzelanny prepares to throw at a game last season.
Gorzelanny prepares to throw at a game last season.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

January 19, 2011 - The Chicago Cubs have finalized a deal to send LHP Tom Gorzelanny to the Washington Nationals for three prospects.

For both clubs, this is a good deal. After the Tampa Bay Rays sent RHP Matt Garza to the Cubs, Gorzelanny effectively became expendable. Gorzelanny was pushed out of the Cubs rotation which now bolsters:

RHP Matt Garza

RHP Ryan Dempster

RHP Carlos Zambrano

RHP Randy Wells

RHP Carlos Silva

At a first glance, this rotation is good and has five quality starters that have logged at least one season of 190+ IP. Wells is the only starter to not have logged a 200 IP, but he only has two full seasons of MLB service. After one looks at this rotation a second time, it is chalk-full of right-handed starters. This may come back to bite the Cubs during the playoffs, but for the regular season, this rotation is more than capable. The Cubs will need all of their starters to have a good season in order to compete in the now-strong NL Central. After moves to improve their pitching staff, the Milwaukee Brewers now have a serious chance to get to postseason play. 

The Nationals, on the other hand, may have gotten the even better end of the trade by acquiring Gorzelanny. GM Mike Rizzo stated earlier this offseason that he wanted to acquire a top of the line starter, but with this move, he added depth to an already-full Washington Nationals 40-man roster. With Gorzelanny, the Nationals now have six starters that are capable of being in the rotation. They include:

RHP Jordan Zimmerman

RHP Jason Marquis

LHP Tom Gorzelanny

RHP Livan Hernandez

LHP Ross Detwiler

RHP Chien-Ming Wang

All of the starters listed above are quality major league starters, but in order for the Nationals to succeed this year, Marquis, Wang and Zimmerman have to bounce back from injuries and prove that they are front of the line starters. 

Although the Nationals are full of depth in their minor league system, the most valuable piece, RHP Stephen Strasburg is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, which was performed this past August.

Gorzelanny, a career 36-37 pitcher, will have to compete with other starters to join the rotation. But at this point, the Nationals need him. Detwiler is the only lefty on the staff, but Gorzelanny has more upside, as demonstrated by his best season. In 2007, Gorzelanny led a Pittsburgh Pirates staff while compiling a 14-10 record to go along 135 strikeouts in 201.2 IP. 

Gorzelanny should win a spot in the rotation and join a Nationals team that should prove to be better than last season.