The Washington Nationals made a huge splash in free agency last night, signing former Detroit Tigers ace Max Scherzer to a seven-year deal. The former American League Cy Young award winner pitched to an ERA of 3.14 last year, and 2.90 in 2013. He has arguably been the best pitcher in the majors over the last two seasons, and he might not even be the ace on this staff.
That title might very well belong to Stephen Strasburg, who has been on the team for five years and has done a terrific job. Add Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, and Doug Fister to the equation, and you have a rotation that is by far the best in the MLB. In fact, we suggested earlier today that this could potentially be a historic rotation for Washington.
The spectacular string of pitchers is great, but what should the Nats front office really be focusing on? The Scherzer signing will only improve this team, but Washington already led the league in team-ERA for the 2014 season. You can’t get better than number one. However, a number that you could improve on is nine.
Although the Washington Nationals lineup did a very good job last season, consistency is something that needs to be improved upon. Injuries have and will continue to plague them, because they are a team full of injury-prone players. If everyone does stay healthy, then they should have one of the best lineups in the National League, but that is a lot to ask for.
Pitching keeps you in games, hitting wins games
That’s not my only case, though. Why would you spend $195 million on pitching while your hitting clearly needs more improvement? Now, I am not suggesting that the Nats don’t have a good lineup. As I said before, it is actually very good when healthy. However, they need to focus on the aspects that will help them win a championship the most. Pitching keeps you in games, hitting wins games.
Bryce Harper is obviously the star of this team, but can he stay healthy is the question. Additionally, the Nats suffered a tough loss when Adam LaRoche signed with the Chicago White Sox. If no one is signed, then they will be relying on the likes of second-year man Tyler Moore to start at first base, who participated in 42 games last season.
If you look around this Nats roster, it is pretty stacked. They have an athletic infield, with some major power-hitters in the outfield. However, their key players are very injury-prone, and that is exactly why the Nationals should have spent $195 million on hitting way before they did on pitching.
At the end of the day, let’s just say it how it is. Scherzer is a star in this league, and he will drastically improve the Nationals chances of winning a World Series here in 2015.