Hold steady and don’t panic.
Don’t look now, but it’s looking like Shawn Marcum may possibly be starting the season on the disabled list.
Before pitchers and catchers reported, the projected rotation consisted of Santana, Niese, Harvey, Gee, and Marcum. We’ve known that Santana wouldn’t be in the rotation in early April and that the likely contender to take his place would be Jeremy Hefner.
Niese, Harvey, Gee, Marcum and Hefner.
Now with Marcum potentially going down for a but, we’re going to number 7 on the depth chart. So who’s number 7? McHugh? Laffey? It’s certainly not the obvious answer – Wheeler.
Yes, I know. The kid’s unproven. So is McHugh. Other than being a lefty, Laffey’s nothing to get excited about (sorry, nothing personal). Wheeler is an upgrade from McHugh. Wheeler is an upgrade from Laffey. We all know Wheeler is going to be in the rotation later in the year, just like Harvey was last season. Opening the roster spot up was going to depend on a vacancy created by a trade or injury of Santana or Marcum.
Guess what, they’re both injured. Now the rotation that was looking at one point pretty decent is now looking thin. Plug Wheeler in there and maybe we’ll sniff the pennant race for a couple of months before the inevitable empty gas tank hits.
But like d’Arnaud – Wheeler will be held in the minors to maintain an extra year of control.
We can always sign Chris Young again. He’s had a decent spring and the Nationals will likely shed him simply because there’s no room at their inn.