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Washington Nationals Still Considering Trade For Starter?

The trade that sent Tampa Bay Rays' right-hander Matt Garza to Chicago seemingly ended the Washington Nationals' starter search this winter when the final name that had been discussed as a target was taken off the market. The Nats had shown interest in (and made an offer to) Jorge De La Rosa before he signed on to remain in Colorado. They considered Cliff Lee, though with the knowledge that he was a longshot. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo attempted to trade for Zack Greinke only to have the former Cy Young Award-winner block a trade to the nation's capital. The Nationals reportedly inquired about Carl Pavano, but reports since he decided to return to Minnesota have said they never seriously pursued him. With the Garza deal in early January, Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore wrote, in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "The Nationals' pursuit of pitching", that, "Barring any trade scenarios that have remained under the radar even as pure speculation (Fausto Carmona, maybe?), the Nationals will head into spring training with roughly the same starting rotation," they had when the 2010 campaign ended.'s Jon Morosi reported in an early December article entitled, "Amid Greinke rumors, don’t forget Carmona", that though Cleveland wasn't "eager to move" the 27-year-old right-hander, the Indians were in "'listen and explore' mode" simply because of the paucity of legitimate starting arms on the market this winter. "Greinke, of course, is The Name among starters," Mr. Morosi wrote, but, "...sources indicated to today that it’s possible even more teams have asked the Cleveland Indians about Carmona."

Boston Globe sports writer Nick Carfado, in a January 2nd "Baseball Notes" column entitled, "Bargain hunters cooking up plans at the Hot Stove reported that if Cleveland, "...wanted to, the Indians could probably continue selling off players to extract more prospects." Mr. Cafardo listed closer Chris Perez, relievers Rafael Perez and Joe Smith, and Carmona as pitchers that could draw interest around the league, and then added that the Indians, if they could, "...would love to trade Grady Sizemore (he must show he’s healthy) and Travis Hafner."

If the Nationals were willing to take the 28-year-old Sizemore, who's played just 139 games combined in the last two seasons as he's dealt with elbow and knee injuries, and the $7.5 M (+a $0.5M buyout or $8.5 M for 2012) he's due in the final year of his 6-year/$23.5 M dollar deal off the Indians' hands, could they work out a deal to bring Carmona to Washington?' Phil Wood wrote last night, in an article entitled, "After roster move, are Nats talking with Indians?", that "one pretty consistent source" had told him the Nationals were still pursuing "a number" of trades while another anonymous "big league scout" told him, "...he'd heard some 'conversations' had taken place between the Nats and the Indians about starting pitcher Fausto Carmona and outfielder Grady Sizemore."

D.C. GM Mike Rizzo's stated this winter that he believes the Nationals have the prospects in the organization to get a deal for a starter done. Is Fausto Carmona a top-of-the-rotation arm? Or an improvement over what the Nats already have on the roster? The former 19-game winner finished 4th in Cy Young Award voting in '07 when he pitched alongside CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee as the Indians won the AL Central and made it to the AL Championship, but he's suffered along with the rest of Cleveland as the team's entered a rebuilding phase in the last few seasons. Should the Nats go with what they have or keep pursuing deals for a starter? Is Fausto Carmona still a top-of-the-rotation arm? With an average of 30 starts and 190.0 IP per season, 3.67 BB/9, 5.53 K/9, a 4.43 ERA, 4.45 FIP and +9.1 WAR (acc to Fangraphs, +6.7 WAR acc to B-R) on his career, is Carmona the answer?