My big knock on the Washington Nationals’ offseason so far has been their failure to upgrade their starting rotation or bullpen. I just don’t understand the logic of adding a fringe star in Jayson Werth and an above average first baseman in Adam LaRoche, but not improving the weakest links of their team.

It took them awhile, but finally the Nationals have added some starting pitching.

The Nationals have acquired LHP Tom Gorzelanny from the Chicago Cubs for three minor league prospects. Those prospects are OF Michael Burgess, RHP A.J. Morris and there will be one more pitcher going to the Cubs.

In Gorzelanny, the Nationals add some much needed depth to their starting rotation. As a starter, Gorzelanny had a 4.22 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and 7.8 K/9 in 23 starts. Overall, he was good for a 2.3 WAR.

While his stats might not seem sexy, his 2.3 WAR would have been good for second amongst all National League starting pitchers in 2010. Only Livan Hernandez and his 3.0 WAR would have been better than Gorzelanny last season.

What Gorzelanny brings to the Nationals is a “known.” Right now, the Nationals have a bunch of unknowns in their starting rotation. Hernandez is 100 years old, Jason Marquis is coming off of surgery, John Lannan has been really up and down, and Stephen Strasburg will start the year on the DL.

At least with Gorzelanny, the Nationals know he can take the ball every fifth day. Now, what comes out of Gorzelanny’s arm is a different story, but the Nationals need guys that can help them be at least competitive on a day-to-day basis and Gorzelanny can do that.

For the Cubs, after acquiring Matt Garza last week, they really didn’t need Gorzelanny. He was the odd man out in Chicago.

What this trade does for the Cubs is allow them to replenish their farm system. They aren’t getting the caliber of prospect back from the Nationals that they gave to the Tampa Bay Rays, but Morris and Burgess should provide some much needed organizational depth.

According to Baseball Prospectus, Burgess was the seventh rated prospect in the Nationals’ system. He is a 22-year-old, big hitting right fielder that has the tools to become an every day right fielder in the Major Leagues. However, Keith Law doesn’t see Burgess as anything more than a fourth outfielder in the Major Leagues.

Morris was the 17th-ranked prospect in the Nationals’ organization by Baseball Prospectus. He has a good sinker/slider combination, but doesn’t project as anything more than a middle reliever.

As soon as the third prospect that is going to the Cubs is named, I will update this post.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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