Is trading for a pitcher the Nats' best option?

Is trading for a pitcher the Nats' best option?
November 8, 2011, 9:15 pm
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They have improved their record in three straight regular seasons and now want to some add starting pitching to take the next step as a franchise. The team is the Kansas City Royals and they evidently don't think much of this year's free agent pitching crop.

According to CSNChicago.com, Royals general manger Dayton Moore says the team will "explore" a potential trade with the Chicago Cubs for right-hander Carlos Zambrano. This comes just days after they acquired Jonathan Sanchez from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for outfielder Melky Cabrera. This begs the question, with a weak free agent market, is the best way to get starting pitching this year to make a trade?

After New York Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia signed a contract extension to keep him in pinstripes, the group of starting pitching free agents looks rather bleak. There is C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers, who holds impressive regular season stats, but has shown an inability to raise his game in the postseason. There is also Mark Buerhle, one of the most consistent left-handed starters in the last ten seasons, but at 32-years-old represents little when it comes to potential. The only other big name in the pool is Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, but with the recent failings of pitchers from Japan poses a risk of the unknown.

Could the Nationals or other teams in need of starting pitching explore a trade instead of signing a free agent? It is definitely possible. And with the Nats suddenly enjoying an improved farm system, a young pitcher or perhaps first baseman could be used as a bargaining chip.