This afternoon the Nationals held a press conference to introduce Adam LaRoche to the local media, who naturally asked general manager Mike Rizzo about the team’s various failed attempts to improve the starting rotation this offseason.
They failed to sign Cliff Lee and Jorge De La Rosa, have apparently dropped out of the bidding for Carl Pavano, and fell short in trade attempts for Zack Greinke and Matt Garza.
Asked about those misses, Rizzo noted that top-of-the-rotation starters “are very difficult to obtain” and described his state of mind as “more frustrated, but a bit disappointed.”
Rizzo has tried to make big splashes since taking over as GM, but ultimately the Nationals might be better off that they didn’t acquire any of those big-name, high-priced starters this winter.
Washington is likely several years away from being serious contenders and their need for a top-of-the-rotation starter in the meantime is iffy. And by the time the rest of the team is good enough to warrant going after top-of-the-rotation starters, they’ll hopefully have one in Stephen Strasburg and perhaps a second one in Jordan Zimmermann. Free agent pitchers and trade partners spurning Rizzo’s offers has forced him to be patient and that might not be such a bad thing.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.