When I think of the Nationals pitching talent in 2012, a line from one of my all-time favorite movies "Raising Arizona" comes to mind. When Holly Hunter (Ed) is trying to justify Nicholas Cage (H.I.) kidnapping one of the Arizona quintuplets she says, "H.I., they've got more than they can handle!"
I'm not implying the Orioles should kidnap Stephen Strasburg or Gio Gonzalez, but Mike Rizzo's club is heading to Viera, Fla., with eight legitimate potential starters: Edwin Jackson, Gonzalez, Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, John Lannan, Chien-Ming Wang, Tom Gorzelanny and Ross Detwiler.
If the Nationals do have more arms than their roster 'can handle,' when camp breaks, maybe Rizzo should call the Orioles.
Perhaps the Orioles and the Nationals can break their stalemate of not doing business with each other and realize both teams could benefit from a trade.
The one position the Nats need more than anything right now is a center fielder. The one thing the Orioles need more than anything right now is starting pitching.
Let's make a deal.
How about Adam Jones for John Lannan and Ross Detwiler? Or as my MASNsports.com colleague Roch Kubatko suggested, how about the Nats throw in the young second-base prospect Steven Lombardozzi along with Lannan and a pitching prospect for Jones?
Lannan is a 27-year-old lefty with four solid years in the majors. He'll give the Birds 180-plus innings and had a 3.70 ERA in 2011. Detwiler is a swing man who could help in the bullpen or be a fifth starter. As for Lombardozzi, the book is still out on the young second basemen. He batted .310 in Triple-A Syracuse last year and committed just four errors at second base.
If I were Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, I'd be more inclined to accept the later offer. He'd acquire a proven starter in Lannan while stocking the farm system with another arm. The deal could also possibly bring Brian Roberts future replacement to Baltimore in Lombardozzi.
I know the last thing the O's and Nats want to do is improve each other's product as the two franchises dip into the same mid-Atlantic fan pool, but it could be mutually beneficial.
The Orioles will need to decide at some point this year what they want to do with Jones. They really need to figure out if they are going to lock him up with a multi-year contract extension, or trade him while his value is high. The key may be getting a feel for whether Jones wants to stay in Baltimore long term. The best way to do that is ask. If the response is luke warm, Duquette should light up the phone lines the next day researching what clubs might have interest in Jones.
You never know. The Nationals just might be on the other end of that line.