[ed. note - "Every Friday morning throughout this season, hopefully, if they'll continue to have me, I'll be writing a post over at MASNSports.com's Nationals Buzz, "... as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest," writers to their site. All opinions expressed are my own... A sample follows... You can read the entire post HERE or through the link included below."]:
When Stan Kasten was the Washington Nationals' president, before the former Atlanta Braves president left the nation's capital and became president and co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, he shared an anecdote with reporters about a phone call from retired, legendary Braves manager Bobby Cox, who had called him after watching Ross Detwiler pitch. "This is unbelieveable, this is the exact way we did it." Cox told Kasten, referring to the rotation Atlanta assembled featuring Tom Glavine, Steve Avery, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux, which helped the Braves dominate the National League for more than a decade starting in the early 1990s.
Kasten was sure to preface the anecdote by saying, "I wouldn't compare anyone here to them," but the trio of first- and second-round picks the Nationals had in the majors at that point - Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler - reminded Cox of what he'd been given to work with two decades earlier in Atlanta. Two winters after the phone call, Strasburg and Zimmermann had already been through Tommy John surgery and rehab. Detwiler had hip surgery and was slow to develop.
In December 2011, the Nationals acquired Gio Gonzalez from the Oakland A's along with minor league pitcher Robert Gilliam in exchange for four prospects.
Late in the 2011 campaign, Nationals manager Davey Johnson had transitioned Detwiler from the bullpen to the rotation, with Tom Gorzelanny switching from starter to long reliever. The signing of Edwin Jackson gave the Nats four starters and a last-minute decision in spring training landed Johnson's project the fifth spot. Detwiler opened the season as a part of the rotation for the first time and responded well to the vote of confidence, fighting off challenges from the likes of Chien-Ming Wang to establish himself as part of the Nationals' starting corps...
• Read The Entire Post Over At MASNSports.com's Nationals Buzz:
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