Washington Nationals Should Avoid Jake Westbrook In Free Agency

By Brian Skinnell
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

While the MLB season has ended (boo!), that only means that free agency is going to kick into high gear (yay!). For the Washington Nationals, starting pitcher is an area that they should address. There are a couple of starting pitchers they should pursue, but Jake Westbrook is definitely not one of them.

To be clear, there haven’t been any rumors going around regarding the Nationals’ interest in Westbrook. After the season that he just had, only teams that are desperate for a veteran starter should express any interest in him.

At 36 years old, all Westbrook really adds to your team is experience and a veteran presence in your clubhouse. In 2013, Westbrook served two stints on the 15-day DL thanks to a banged up elbow and strained lower back, while struggling to a 4.63 ERA and 7-8 record. What’s worse is the fact that Westbrook struck out just 44 batters while walking 50.

This has a repeat of Dan Haren written all over it. The Nationals signed Haren last offseason, hoping that he would bring a solid fifth arm to the rotation, as well as a veteran presence and experience. Instead, they got perhaps the biggest free agency flop in the franchise’ short history in D.C.

The pitching rotation is a question mark in the back end. They could either stay in house and pick between a number of different candidates, or they could hit the free agency market. On Friday, I wrote about how Ubaldo Jimenez deserves a call, and he’s not the only one. As teams accept or decline options on player contracts, it’ll be interesting to see who else becomes available.

Thanks to his past successes, Westbrook is an attractive option. However, his durability is starting to come into question and his arm isn’t getting any younger. The Nationals should avoid him this offseason and not look to him as an option to fill in at the end of the rotation.

Brian Skinnell is a freelance sports writer for RantSports.com and contributor at Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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