Friday, January 06, 2006

Rotation Takes Shape

The signing of free agent SP Ramon Ortiz virtually solidifies the Washington Nationals rotation for '06. Ortiz, who agreed to a scandalously cheap $2.5 million one-year deal, projects as a No. 3 starter behind the tireless Livan Hernandez and and up-and-coming John Patterson. Ortiz will likely be followed by Brian Lawrence and Tony Armas, with long man Ryan Drese getting a shot if anyone falls short or is injured. Ortiz was 15-9 with a 3.77 ERA in 2002, but was hammered in Cincinnati's hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark last year, where he gave up 34 homers as a Red, fourth worst in the league. His stats will likely greatly improve in Washington's spacious home park, perhaps the best for pitchers after the San Diego Padres'home park.