Nationals acquire Tom Gorzelanny, sign Jerry Hairston Jr.

Tom Gorzelanny 2.jpgThe Nationals entered the offseason with starting pitching as their top priority. They took one step closer to achieving their goal by adding left-handed pitcher Tom Gorzelanny from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for three Minor Leaguers: outfielder Michael Burgess, right-handed pitcher A.J. Morris and left-handed pitcher Graham Hicks.


The 28-year-old will join a pitching staff that has plenty of depth but doesn’t have a true ace and has only one 10-game winner from 2010, Livan Hernandez. It will be interesting to see how the Nationals’ rotation takes shape from now until the start of the season. Of course, there is plenty of time between now and then for trades and unforeseen injuries to occur, but right now, there are eight solid candidates for five spots: John Lannan, Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis, Yunesky Maya, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler, Chien-Ming Wang and Gorzelanny.


Gorzelanny is 36-37 with a 4.68 ERA in 118 games/95 starts spanning six Major League seasons with Chicago (NL) and Pittsburgh. Gorzelanny posted his finest season in 2007, when he finished 14-10 with a 3.88 ERA in a career-best 32 starts for Pittsburgh. Last season, in 29 games (23 starts) with the Cubs, Gorzelanny went 7-9 with a 4.09 ERA and was touched for just 11 home runs in 136.1 innings.


Jerry Hairston Jr. 1.jpgJerry Hairston Jr. signs one-year deal

The Nats also agreed to a one-year contract with super utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. Hairston Jr. will fill the void left by Willie Harris as a jack of all trades off of the bench. During his career, he has played every defensive position except pitcher and catcher, with the bulk of his innings coming at second base, shortstop and center field.


Hairston Jr. is a career .257 (927-for-3608) hitter with 192 doubles, 59 home runs and 341 RBI in 1148 games with San Diego, New York (AL), Cincinnati, Texas, Chicago (NL) and Baltimore spanning 13 Big League seasons.


The 34-year-old Hairston Jr. has hit a career-best 10 home runs in back-to-back seasons, including 2010, when he received 430 at-bats from the Padres and responded by batting  .244 with 13 doubles and a career-high 50 RBI.


Cub fans commenting on Nationals website have only good things to say about Gorzelanny, so he must be a pretty good pitcher. The Nats traded away 3 longshot prospects for a steady lefty starter who has not been prone to injuries. This gives the Nats two potential left handed starters. The Nats get rid of 3 minor leaguers that probably didn’t fit into their future plans, while making room for other farm system players to now have a chance to shine.
Utility players like Hairston are invaluable during the long haul of a 162 game schedule. Mike Rizzo continues to make smart off-season moves.

This is a great blog. Hairston is a great veteran who can only bring good news check out

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