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[January 4th] -- Might the Washington Nationals actually sign a free agent pitcher?

ESPN is reporting that the Nationals are showing an interest in Ryan Franklin, signed by the Phillies last year before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds In August for the old tried and true "player to be named later."

I have to assume that the Nationals, bereft of any veteran starters, are looking at Franklin - if indeed they are looking at him - as a starting pitcher. Franklin, a starter for virtually all of his career, appeared in 66 games with the Phillies and Reds last year, all in relief. He had a record of 6-7, 4.54, allowing 13 base runners per 9 innings (on the low side of average for a major league pitcher). The number that surprises me, however, is his poor strikeout rate. He fanned only 43 batters in 66 innings, an average of just 4 per 9 innings pitched.

Those weren't terribly bad stats for a relief pitcher, but his last two years as a starter weren't nearly that "good." In 2004 and 2005, Franklin went 12-31, 5.00 in 52 starts. Compare that to Ramon Ortiz, who had a record of 14-18, 4.89 in the two years before joining Washington.

So if you're going to sign a bounce-back veteran, who makes the most sense, Ortiz or Ryan Franklin? They both made about the same money last year and will probably make about the same amount next year.

Though Franklin intrigues me, Ramon Ortiz would seem to offer the Nationals more hope at the back of the rotation. We already know what we're getting with Ortiz while Franklin hasn't started in a year.

I'll stick with Ramon, thank you very much.

The Nats are going to have to sign a free-agent pitcher. To not do so would be lunacy. But they are only going to float out $2-4 million for 1-2 year contracts until someone bites.

I agree, I'd rather have Ortiz if only for the devil we know aspect. He'll give you the innings the bad ERA. Ryan, probably would do the same, based on his history, but that 66IP last year keeps blinking at me. The Nats can't afford to sign someone and not get a lot of innings out of them
Both pitchers had success early in their careers, but Franklin's nosedive was far worse and far deeper.

Also, Ortiz doesn't carry the baggage that Franklin does
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