The Joe Ross injury creates more uncertainty for the 2022 starting rotation!

Photo by Sol Tucker for TalkNats

Among the carnage from the deadline trades came a reality of how painful it would be to accept the nightly losses with the depleted Washington Nationals. They are just 2-13 since the day those eight key players were traded on July 30. After the dust cleared, we tried to find optimism among all of the pessimism that was so loud in social media.

The reality was the team was already going to have to deal with Stephen Strasburg‘s thoracic outlet surgery, and the demise of Patrick Corbin who now owns the worst ERA of all active starting pitchers at 6.04. But we were trying to stay optimistic that general manager Mike Rizzo could piece together a rotation with Erick Fedde, Joe Ross, and Josiah Gray with top pitching prospect Cade Cavalli in the wings and Jackson Rutledge not far behind him.

All of that was part of the new reality, and even though the situation was suboptimal, you accept what you have, and that got even worse yesterday when we learned that Ross had partially torn his surgically repaired UCL. Ross was set to enter the 2022 season as his final season with the Nats before he was going to head to free agency, and now his entire season, and career, are in jeopardy. With that horrible news, that Nats might have to look deeper into free agency.

Here are just some of the pitchers who are available in free agency and listed in alphabetical order: Tyler Anderson, Zach Davies, Kevin Gausman, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber, James Paxton, Robbie Ray, Eduardo Rodriguez, Carlos Rodon, Max Scherzer, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard. The Nats are not ready to win in 2022, so would it be wise to go after the top names? Of course Max’s name is there, and while tempting, the Nats probably are no longer a fit there. The team should probably go after one veteran who could be a leader for several years or just fill a spot and spend for a pitcher to be a one-year stop-gap.

The Nats could also just stay out of the expensive free agent pitching market and pull from within their own organization with Paolo Espino, Sean Nolin, Josh Rogers, Seth Romero and Sterling Sharp as internal candidates.

That is the current situation, and it is time to think outside of the box for solutions. Nobody is going to feel sorry for the Nats.

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