I can't get too worked up over the Nationals not signing right-hander Justin Duchscherer. He's another project-type pitcher, and while his career stats are fairly impressive, I'm not sure his 2010 big league sample - five starts, 28 innings - is enough to offer any more than he got from the Baltimore Orioles. To be honest, I seriously doubt the Nats made much of an offer to start with.
Last year's project, Chien-Ming Wang, was expected to be ready by June. Then July. Then August and September. Obviously, while a number of fans bought his Nats' red No. 40 T-shirt, they must have wondered if they'd ever actually see Wang on the field.
Now, apparently, Wang is healthy. While I still have some doubts he'll be ready to go on opening day, I believe he will pitch in the big leagues this year. Interestingly, both Wang and Duchscherer are listed as 6-foot-3 and 200 lbs. Wang is three years younger, and has twice reached the 200-inning mark in the majors, a milestone Duchscherer hasn't come close to. Wang has pitched in baseball's toughest division, the American League East, and Duchscherer has toiled in maybe the game's weakest division, the four-team AL West. Both have spent extensive time on the disabled list, including a full season each.
In the absence of a true ace - and any of you who believe that Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo somehow failed by not acquiring a true top-of-the-rotation need a refresher course in how this thing really works - signing yet another project didn't excite me a great deal. I was more interested in Brandon Webb than Duchscherer, and obviously, a lot of other clubs passed on him as well.
By the way, it's funny that some national baseball writers are still insisting that the Minnesota Twins outbid Washington for Carl Pavano. That would be true if the Nationals had ever actually made an offer. Beyond a brief chat with his agent last fall - brief, as in about fiveminutes - no offer was tendered. Pavano was an interesting case, but not a true top-of-the-rotation starter either.