Tag Archives: Mike Rizzo

Redskins will be #1 team in D.C. for a long time; Nats & Caps currently jockeying for #2

DC team pennants
Mike Rizzo: D.C. could become ‘primarily a baseball town’ – DC Sports Bog, The Post
I think that every professional sports team ought to be “aspirational” in everything they do. An example is trying to be the #1 team in a market. Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo seems to think so too:

“I think that Washington D.C. could become primarily a baseball town, with the Redskins always being right there in the picture also,” he continued.

That’s the right thing to say, but I doubt he believes it. The Redskins 75 years in D.C. and the overall popularity of the NFL are too much to overcome. The Nats, Capitals, Wizards and DC United are all fighting to be the second most popular team in the area. My guess is the current overall ranking looks like this:

1. Redskins
2. Capitals
3. Nationals
4. Wizards
5. DC United

I think the slumping Caps are just hanging onto the #2 spot and will probably be surpassed by the Nats this spring if they haven’t been already. The Nats are certainly in the best position to win D.C.’s next major championship, a spot the Caps occupied for about 5 years.

My personal rankings look like this:

1. Nationals
2. Redskins
3. Capitals
4. DC United
5. Wizards

With me, everybody is fighting to be #2 too — the Nats are my favorite D.C. team even during extended periods of awful seasons. Prior to last fall, I’d have put the Caps at #2, but a few things changed:

As I mentioned recently, I am holding back until I know DC United are staying in the area. I also like hockey more than soccer. DCU has a great hardcore fanbase, it just isn’t very large.

The Wizards are underachievers both on the court and in the hearts and minds of D.C. fans. There are plenty of basketball fans in the area, but the franchise has been so lackluster for so long that they haven’t been able to sustain a significant fanbase. Plus, during the Susan O’Malley era, she marketed the visiting teams and not the Bullets/Wizards.

So, try to be #1 Nats, but don’t me mad when you never get past being #2. This is big market and there is room for everybody.

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UPDATED: Nats: Strasburg’s surgeon not consulted on shutdown story denied

Stephen Strasburg’s surgeon on Nationals shutdown: ‘I wasn’t asked’L.A. Times
UPDATE: The story has changed, or so they say. Here is the original report:
Remember that #strasburgopinons contest The Post did? Seems an important one was missed…

So, Washington Nationals general manager never consulted with Stephen Strasburg‘s elbow surgeon, Lewis Yocum in making the shutdown decision?

OF COURSE HE DIDN’T! (or maybe he did)

Wow, just wow.

So, Rizzo has some explaining to do. He basically got caught not doing his homework, outright lying, just being Scott Boras’ puppet or probably some of all three. Amazing.

I feel really badly for Strasburg he’s having to deal with this B.S. I’ve been on-board with shutting him down too, but whiskey-tango-foxtrot Rizzo. I expect Boras to have his own agenda, but my concerns that some of this is “LOOK AT ME, I AM SO IN CHARGE” behavior by Rizzo is completely valid.

Being a D.C. sports fan is pretty interesting. I’m too dumbfounded to be upset.

UPDATE

Stephen Strasburg surgeon clarifies role in pitcher’s shutdownL.A. Times

Dr. Lewis Yocum had told the Los Angeles Times that he “wasn’t asked” by the Nationals about whether to shut down Strasburg and had not discussed the subject with General Manager Mike Rizzo since last year.

On Thursday, Yocum clarified his comments by saying he and the Nationals — as well as Strasburg and his agent, Scott Boras — had agreed last year that the team would limit Strasburg’s innings this season. Over the course of this year, Yocum said, he has spoken with Rizzo and the Nationals’ medical staff but has left to the team the decisions about how and when to shut down Strasburg.

Yocum and Rizzo spoke on Aug. 13, as Strasburg approached his innings limit. The Nationals ended Strasburg’s season after his Sept. 7 start.

Okay. Weird story, somebody isn’t being honest I don’t think.

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Nats lose Marlins series, Strasburg shutdown, rookies hazed

We interrupt the beginning of the Redskins march to the Super Bowl to bring you the weekend that was for the Washington Nationals.

FRIDAY

Stephen Strasburg, perhaps feeling the burden of the looming shutdown and overanalaysis of it, couldn’t get it done against the Miami Marlins again. The Nats came back though and took the game to extra innings, but Tyler Clippard gave up three runs. The Nats got one back and had the winning run at the plate but kept striking out.

SATURDAY

Davey Johnson
announced Saturday morning that Strasburg was shut down for good which probably makes sense. Strasburg wasn’t happy, which is what anybody could expect. Frankly, the thought of him being a little angry on the mound next year isn’t heartbreaking. I may have more to say on it.

Another subpar outing for a Nats starter (Ross Detwiler) puts the Nats in a 6-2 deficit, but some timely homers brought the Nats within one before that big Saturday storm caused a 2+ hours rain delay.

Bryce Harper’s homer (if Bryce Harper does anything, it gets the instantly embeddable setting from MLB video):

Jayson Werth tied it up in the first at bat in the bottom of the ninth after the rain delay:

The Nats finished off the Marlins in the bottom of the 10th, snatching victory from the jaws of the defeat.



SUNDAY

Ricky Nolasco continued to dominate the Nats, shutting them out. Edwin Jackson couldn’t get it done on his birthday, losing his 10th game in 19 decisions. If there is ever a day to lose 8-0, it is the day of a rookie QB leading the Redskins to a season-opening victory.

THEN THERE WAS THE HAZING

For their final trip to New York, the Nats rookies were dressed as the USA Women’s Gymnastics team.

I was certain they’d be dressed as clowns.

No word on if McKayla Maroney is impressed.

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Day baseball! Nats-SF Giants rubber game at 3:45, a brief mention of Strasburg shtudown

Yay, we have day baseball today, after all those late nights. The Washington Nationals vs. San Francisco Giants on TV – MASN2 or if you are outside of the Nats footprint, MLB TV has it. Sadly, my office has neither station, so MLB Gameday Audio is how I’ll listen to it initially. Stephen Strasburg vs. Tim Lincecum.

After a 14-2 win Monday night, the Nats fell 6-1 yesterday. Drew Storen had a bad outing out of the bullpen.

By design, I haven’t mentioned much about the Strasburg shutdown — I accepted it unemotionally last September when it happened to Jordan Zimmermann. Thomas Boswell has a big column about it (The Post) today that is actually worth reading. There is a little on GM Mike Rizzo who is making the decision (or taking responsibility for it) — he’s in charge and he’s taking the heat/glory. Whenever his tenure ends, he’ll probably have few friends I bet, but he will probably be respected if the team wins a pennant or two.

By the way, I wonder if Boswell talked to Strasburg’s dad about the anecdote mentioned in the article.

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Has Mike Rizzo called Joe Maddon “fake tough” yet? Gamesmanship overshadows Nats loss to the Rays

Sadly, I don’t have a lot of time to recap last night’s events (video) — Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson asks the umpires to check Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Joel Peralta‘s glove for a foreign substance and sure enough there was. Peralta was tossed and Rays manager Joe Maddon started barking off the field about how he felt about the actions of the Nats. I didn’t nearly come to blows like the epic 2005 showdown between Frank Robinson and Mike Scioscia though. As for Maddon, someone from Hazleton, Pa. being passive-aggressive? Well, I never…

Won’t you be disappointed if Nats GM Mike Rizzo doesn’t call out Maddon fake tough?

The glove challenge overshadowed the fact that Chein Ming Wang was terrible and the Nats lost their fourth game in a row.

I wonder if Johnson would have challenged the Rays if he didn’t have Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez next in the rotation.

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Nats: Ramos rescue, Phillies resistance, #1 farm system, E. Jackson signed, what of Lannan?

Lots of Washington Nationals news and comment as we slowly move closer to pitchers and catchers reporting. I wore a Nats cap today to work for the first time in a long while.

First off, Wilson Ramos kidnapping in Venezuela is detailed in this week’s Sports Illustrated.

Breaking this morning was the Nats plan to have a DC/VA/MD only presale for the first Phillies series. Too little too late, but at least they are trying, I guess. I doubt I’ll even make it to a game in that series.

The Nats farm system was rated #1 by Baseball America, a complete reversal in 5 years. Nats Enquirer puts it in the best perspective, but that’s not unusual. One thing though, if it is the best farm system, why hasn’t it produced a leadoff hitter or a centerfielder?

That #1 ranking was before the trade for Gio Gonzalez that sent three pitchers — A.J. Cole, Tom Milone and Brad Peacock along with catcher Derek Norris to the Oakland Athletics. No worries though, you build up a farm system for inventory as well. Yay for The Plan. Or Phase II. Good job by Mike Rizzo in getting to this point, it certainly is his strong suit. It helps that he had Jim Bowden precede him as general manager to build all the awful teams that meant high draft picks.

One of the few early alumni of the Nats minor leagues, John Lannan just lost arbitration and will have to settle for $5 million instead of $5.7 million. Had Edwin Jackson not been signed, he’d have been the highest paid starter in the D.C. rotation. Lannan is almost certainly on the trade block though. I’ll admit to being sentimental about Lannan, he was pitching out of position in the #1 spot for so many years when the Nats were dreadful and holding his own (except against the Philadelphia Phillies). Lannan has also increased velocity over the years and finally broke the 10 win barrier in 2011. He has the second most wins on the Nats staff since 2005.

Back to Jackson, he’s a good pick up with a one-year deal. Plus, Rizzo has had a thing for him, like Jim Bowden did with Wily Mo Pena. Rizzo’s infatuation is much more defensible. Jackson is looking for a big season to hit free agency with next year in full force and the Nats get another pitcher who strikes people out. This is interesting:

Over the past three seasons, the league has hit for a .283 batting average, .344 on-base percentage and .438 slugging percentage with no runners on base against Jackson, when he is pitching with a windup. The league has hit .246/.308/.385 with men on, when he’s pitching from the stretch.

They are going to work on that.

The pitcher with the most Washington wins in the 21st century has moved on. ¡LIVAN! singed a minor league deal with the Houston Astros. I got over my sentimentality for him sometime between his last appearance and the end of the season because at the end of the day, you can’t rely on charitable umpires forever. Good memories though, I like what Natsradamus had to say.

When are we going to get a nice printable schedule for our office cubes? The Yankees already have theirs out.

I’m thinking about keeping score this season. I know Bob Carpenter isn’t everybody’s favorite, but how is his scorebook?

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Davey Johnson back and says Nats are 2012 pennant contender

I predicted Davey Johnson would be the Washington Nationals manager as far back as 2006. I figured it would be for 2007 though. So, I was off by 4 years…

Johnson coming back was a foregone conclusion the moment he signed on after Jim Riggleman resigned. He’s talking big already — the 2012 pennant? Creating expectations is good, but it creating unreasonable expectations good? Of course, he’s done pretty well everybody he’s been but one place, but as I said in that link above, I think he underachieved with the New York Mets? Just 2 division titles with that pitching staff and only one pennant. Now, that’s not all on him, I doubt he said “hey, Daryl, Doc, check out this awesome cocaine!”

Over at The Nats Blog, Will Yoder makes the case that a 2012 pennant isn’t totally absurd.

Thomas Boswell is happy t and thinks Johnson competitiveness will remain despite mellowing.

Face of the franchise Ryan Zimmerman is happy to have a manager (Nationals Journal, The Post) who won’t be looking over his shoulder all the time.

Whether the Nats become contenders has yet to be seen, but if it all goes wrong, Johnson vs. Rizzo could be EPIC.

Other than the bench coach, Pat Corrales, the coaching staff returns (Nationals Journal, The Post). Randy Knorr, who has managed throughout the Nats system, seems like a candidate for that spot as well as Johnson’s successor. That means Rick Eckstein is back as hitting coach which is not terribly exciting. Still better than Lenny Harris though.

MORE COVERAGE
Washington Nationals name Davey Johnson manager for 2012 seasonThe Post
Johnson to stay on with Nationals

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Nats sign 2011 draft picks, Rendon, Meyer, Goodwin, Purke others

Nationals spend $16.5 million to sign draft picks, including Anthony Rendon, Matt Purke The Post
Nats sign all top draft picks CSN Washington
Nats beat the clock, sign top five draft picksThe Wash. Times
The Washington Nationals signed their top 13 draft picks by this morning’s draft deadline. The first four:

#6 Anthony Rendon, Rice, 3B
#23 Alex Meyer, Kentucky, RHP
#34 Brian Goodwin, Miami Dade College, OF
#96 Mathew Purke, TCU, LHP

Rendon and Purke were both added to the 40 man roster, just like Bryce Harper was last year. So, um, that’s good, right? I don’t follow the draft closely enough to know whether signing two players to major league deals is wise, but it seems unusual and a bit constraining. The Nats also spent over the recommended slots for many players which is wise, because spending on draft picks costs pennies on the dollar compared to spending on free agents (see Werth, Jayson).

By the way, both Rendon and Purke have had injury issues. For Rendon, it was a shoulder, for Purke his elbow. Warning flags to be sure, but concerns about them let them fall to the Nats. The draft is being seen as a successful one for the Nats, perhaps their most sucessful yet.

GM Mike Rizzo is excited and thinks the Nats are the talk of the league. I don’t know about that. As his tenure goes on, I become more convinced that Rizzo is a scouting director at heart and a bit out of his league at the major league level (see Riggleman, Jim) but that can improve.

Scott Boras made a bit of money yesterday, three of the top four are his clients.

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Nyjer Morgan to Brewers; Nats get Cutter Dykstra

P8310508
BREAKING: Per @washingnats Nyjer Morgan has been traded from the Washington Nationals for Cutter Dykstra. Yes, he’s Lenny Dykstra’s son. At the very least, the trade has to be addition by subtraction. It is too bad it didn’t work out, because Morgan’s play in 2009 made that season a lot more interesting for a couple of months.

UPDATE: Here is the conclusion I reached when Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan were traded for Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett:

I have a feeling that this will ultimately be a trade that does little to change the fortunes of two struggling franchises and the final conclusion will be something like “meh.”

Pretty much, though on the whole, I think that trade worked out better for the Nats than the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I am not crazy about Rick Ankiel being the centerfielder though. This team needs to develop a real centerfielder or go and get one.

PRESS RELEASE:

NATIONALS ACQUIRE INF CUTTER DYKSTRA FROM BREWERS

IN EXCHANGE FOR CF NYJER MORGAN

The Washington Nationals this morning acquired infielder Cutter Dykstra and cash considerations from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for center fielder Nyjer Morgan. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Dykstra was selected by Milwaukee in the second round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and has a .374 on-base percentage with 49 stolen bases in three minor-league seasons. Recently tabbed the eighth-best prospect in the Brewers organization by Hardballtimes, Dykstra was rated the second-best prospect in the Single-A Pioneer League and seventh-best Brewers prospect by industry-insider Baseball America following the 2008 season.

Morgan, 30, batted .253 with 24 RBI and 34 stolen bases in 136 contests last season with Washington.

Earlier today: The Ryan Zimmerman doomsday clock is a year away

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