There were reasons to be intrigued by Garrett Mock when the Nationals traded for him in 2006. Even going into last season, his hard sinker and big curveball made it easy to project him as a solid mid-rotation starter or maybe even a late-inning reliever.
If you're looking at his ERA and wondering what on Earth I'm talking about, look at the back-to-back strikeouts of Jason Bay and David Wright last night. He can make a lot of bats miss, and if he could ever hit his spots and work ahead in the count, he could be a poor man's Brett Myers, circa 2006.
Of course, he can't, and two weeks shy of age 27, he's long past the point of dreaming on, if you aren't seeing results. Last night really ought to be the last nail in the coffin of his career as a Nationals starter. If you can't get out of the fourth inning pitching at CitiField against these Mets, then you just can't do it. Do we really need to watch him take his turn against Philly before moving on?
The big question is why Mike Rizzo is still showing so much faith in the guy. No, Scott Olsen isn't the solution either, nor is J.D. Martin or whoever else we're likely to see. But Rizzo's had a year and a full off-season to come up with a solution, and if Mock is among his top four starters now, it's because he chose to make it so.
Don't forget that Mock was a Rizzo draft pick way back in the day in Arizona, and he fits the ground-balling profile that Rizzo loves so much.
So Mock is just a Rizzo cheeseball. No mystery. And if you want to keep a guy like that around in Harrisburg to see if the light ever goes on, fine. But you don't use precious rotation spots for that kind of thing. This is a mistake, and Rizzo needs to recognize it and move on.