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Washington Nationals: How Will D.C. GM Mike Rizzo Get A No.1 Starter?

It probably didn't take long for's Buster Olney to look at the possibility of the Washington Nationals putting together a package of prospects impressive enough to convince the Kansas City Royals to part with 26-year-old '09 Cy Young award-winner Zack Greinke, and conclude, as Mr. Olney did this morning in an article on potential suitors for the '02 1st Round pick entitled, "Zack Greinke's most likely destinations", that the Nats, "...might have a difficult time piecing together a deal suitable for Kansas City," without gutting the system they've focused on rebuilding since the current ownership inherited the franchise in 2006. Mr. Olney mentions '09 1st Rounders Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen and 2010 no.1 overall pick Bryce Harper as the sort of names the Nats would have to consider including in any deal, whereas even the mention of moving an Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann, Derek Norris, Mike Burgess or Chris Marrero has been enough to cause fans who've listened to four years of talk about building from within to launch into paroxysms of anger when presented with the possibility. 

Barring an against-all-odds-and-logic wooing of prize free agent pitcher Cliff Lee, (something akin to Mike Hampton taking the best offer out there from Colorado in 2000 but more unilkely) or a trade to bring a Matt Garza-type starter to the nation's capital, how will D.C. GM Mike Rizzo manage to make good on his promise to, in his own words as quoted by's Bill Ladson in an article entitled, "Heading into offseason, Nats' needs evident", bring a, "front-of-the-rotation guy" to NatsTown.

Mr. Rizzo, according to Mr. Ladson, said he, "believes he can acquire a top-of-the-rotation pitcher via a trade or free agency," or if need be, by dealing, "...some of his prospects for a frontline starter." The Nats sent 23-year-old infielder Danny Espinosa, 25-year-old '07 19th Round pick Jeff Mandel and 25-year-old reliever Josh Wilkie out to Arizona along with Strasburg and Storen last year, leading one to believe they were the prospects the Nats considered closest to major-league ready. Do Mandel and Wilkie or Stephen Lombardozzi, Adam Carr, or Cole Kimball from this year's AFL roster, or a Destin Hood or Jeff Kobernus from any Nats' prospect list register outside of the nation's capital? Any of those names going to bring back a Greinke?

Mr. Olney, in discussing the possibility of the Chicago Cubs acquiring the Royals' right-hander, mentions Kansas City's need for a shortstop, but throws 20-year-old Starlin Castro's name out as the sort of talent they'd have to part with in any deal with the Royals, and mentions outfielder Colby Rasmus if the Cards got involved, or Domonic Brown if the Phillies wanted another ace...Do the Nationals have the equivalent of that sort of talent in their system, and if they did why would they part with it? Would you support the decision to move the sort of prospects it would take to get a Greinke/Garza in a trade?

How about looking to the international market? Yu Darvish might seem expensive, but if the Nats are willing to commit the well-over-$100M it would take to sign the 32-year-old Cliff Lee as reported, and were said to have offered Cuban free agent Aroldis Chapman $25M, the $80M (a recent estimate including the bid to win the rights to negotiate) or so it might take to sign the 24-year-old Japanse sensation doesn't seem so ridiculous...And remember, Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore did write in a 10/2/10 Nationals Journal post entitled, "Scouting Darvish", that the, "Nationals scouts have seen Darvish pitch in person at least nine times, including several games in Japan, and they have been impressed enough to recommend to the front office that he is worth trying to sign."

In Rizzo We Trust? Will Rizzo be able to follow through on his bold public pronouncements?