One of the positives to come out of the mostly negative Washington Nationals season was the reemergence of their farm system, showing that GM Mike Rizzo had successfully replenished the minors with young arms after the Gio Gonzalez and Denard Span deals.
The two most prominent names were Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan, who went a combined 8-4 with a 2.86 ERA. Jordan was coming off a season where he was named the Nationals’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year and Roark showed his versatility, coming out of the bullpen and being a solid addition to the rotation.
These revelations served two purposes: Roark and Jordan show that Washington does still have some depth in the minors if a pitcher gets hurt in 2014, and it also allows them to go out on the trade market and make a deal.
So with that in mind, which young Nationals arm would most likely be dealt? Could it be Roark, Jordan, or someone else? Washington definitely has some depth they can draw from in the minors, as Nathan Karns also came up and showed that though he does need some seasoning, he has the makeup to be at the very least a solid reliever in the majors.
A.J. Cole, who made his return to the Nationals organization in the Michael Morse deal, reestablished his value after a year in the Oakland Athletics organization. Cole was able to lower his ERA this season, and posted a sub-5.00 ERA in both levels he pitched in this year, pitching better in Double-A (2.18 ERA) than he did in Single-A (4.25 ERA).
Throw in a Taylor Hill, Lucas Giolito and a Danny Rosenbaum, and Washington seems pretty set and able to absorb a trade of some sort. Washington seems to have soured a bit on Rosenbaum as he pitched well enough to deserve a call-up, but never received one. Rosenbaum’s 26 years of age shows that he is starting to get a little old for the minors, and this could mean he could be dealt.
As far as being most likely to be dealt, my money would be on Jordan or Roark for a few reasons. First off, Roark and Jordan were both called up and showed that they can get major league hitters out. Jordan pitched much better than his record and ERA showed because of shaky defense behind him, and Roark showed versatility and an ability to eat up innings when asked to.
Washington’s system seems to be ready to be picked from for another trade again, but it’s all about if Rizzo pulls the trigger. Washington has solid pitching pieces, and whatever decision they make will probably be the right one for them.