Monday, December 5, 2011

Rizzo on no-trade clauses, Werth in CF

US Presswire file photo
Mike Rizzo gave Jayson Werth a no-trade clause as part of his seven-year contract.
DALLAS -- The Nationals as a franchise had never included a no-trade clause in any contract prior to last winter. Ex-team president Stan Kasten had long stood by a personal policy against such concessions to players.

But Kasten's departure combined with Jayson Werth's arrival changed all that one year ago. Though they were reluctant to do it, the Nationals included a full no-trade clause in Werth's seven-year, $126 million contract.

Fast-forward to this year's Winter Meetings, where one of the Nationals' top targets on the open market -- left-hander Mark Buehrle -- has indicated he wants a no-trade clause himself. So, is Rizzo willing to do it again?

"I guess we've opened that door," Rizzo said this afternoon during his daily press briefing. "We prefer not to, and they'll be a huge part of the negotiation. But for the right player and the right fit, I think you have to be open-minded and flexible enough to at least think about it and talk about."

Rizzo wouldn't say whether he's met with Buehrle's agent, Jeff Barry, here at the Anatole Hotel, but the GM did say he's met with "two teams and two agents" so far today. "But the day is young so far," he added.

A host of teams are believed to be interested in Buehrle, who has thrown at least 200 innings and won at least 10 games each of the last 11 seasons. He's expected to command at least a three-year deal, possibly four, and because of the depth of suitors could be in a position to insist on the no-trade clause.

Rizzo, though, insists he won't feel any pressure to consummate a deal while in Dallas, saying "I don't think it's imperative we get it done at the meetings."

As for the Nationals' other top priority this winter -- a center fielder -- Rizzo also insisted there's no pressure to work something out this week. He also said the acquisition of a center fielder, while preferable, is not mandatory.

That's because the club would be willing to move Werth to center field if needed, a move that could also clear up right field for top prospect Bryce Harper.

"We know we have in-house candidates with Harper and several others that could fill that bill," Rizzo said. "Depending on if we deem Harp ready, when he's ready goes into the equation. Are there other options out there and what is the cost of acquiring those other options?"

Werth spent much of September in center field and impressed club officials with his defensive prowess there.

"That was one of the reasons we put Jayson out there, to find out if we had a center fielder in-house," Rizzo said. "We felt that he played quite well out there. So it doesn't really keyhole us into having to make a trade for a center fielder. Because we feel we could have our center fielder in-house already."


MicheleS said...

Give Buerhle 3 years with the no trade.. not sure what the $$$ would need to be to lock him up.

joemktg said...

So if Werth is in CF, is the club willing to go into ST with LaRoche at 1B? Can't see it: LaRoche is a question mark, Marrero's on the shelf, and Morse needs to be in the OF. Otherwise Morse is at 1B, and the other outfielder is Bernadina (which answers the previous blog posting). Which means: they still need an outfielder.

Just sayin' said...

A three-year contract with a no-trade clause is a lot different than a seven-year contract with a no-trade clause.

Anonymous said...

Detwiler, Peacock, Perez, Flores, Norris, Marrero, and Lannan for Upton and Shields. Sign Buerhle and Fielder. Playoffs.

NatStat said...

Now that sir, was a good and direct interview.

Thanks Mark. Rizzo seemed to be genuinely forthright for a change.

Sunderland said...

joemktg, I've never really considered LaRoche for 2012 a question mark, but I must concede that to some degree he has to be. I just never got the impression that there was much risk to his surgery / rehab (considering that if he loses 8 mph off his fast ball, who cares?)

Mark Z - any word from or about LaRoche and where he is at with his rehab?


JamesFan said...

I don't see a problem with a no trade clause for this time frame and this pitcher. To pass on a guy like Buerle over this issue would be stupid.

Just wonderin' said...

Anon @ 6:19 p.m.,

I like the way you think. Would you be interested in purchasing some prime real estate I happen to have available? You seem like the kind of negotiator I'd be more than happy to deal with on a regular basis.

Kevin Rusch, Section 406 said...

Well, given my preference, I'd like to see Morse at 1b -- he's a bad outfielder. He's pretty good at 1b (I'd hope so as a former shortstop) and a corner outfielder isn't that hard to find on the open market.

Anonymous said...

Too much for an Ace and a starting Center fielder with a 4 WAR? You gotta give up a lot to get a lot. Theres a reason to stock pile on prospects

Gonat said...

I think the strategy is what the Marlins have done. Get the FA deals done before the Winter Meetings start. Make your trades at the Winter Meetings.

Come on Rizz, get Buehrle done!

natsfan1a said...

I also have a bridge in which you might be interested...

Just wonderin' said...

Anon @ 6:19 p.m.,

I like the way you think. Would you be interested in purchasing some prime real estate I happen to have available? You seem like the kind of negotiator I'd be more than happy to deal with on a regular basis.
December 5, 2011 6:43 PM

Anonymous said...

Really, they need another outfielder? With Bernadina, Corey Brown, and Ankiel as potential bench / part-time players? With Morse able to play LF?

Mark, you realize you've just opened that can that had Prince Fielder instead of Prince Albert? As an offensive impact player he is second only to Pujols team mate in St Louis Land Berkman with Pujols right behind?

Look not only is Harper close to the majors but? psssssst: there's a guy who hit 30+ homers in 2 minor leagues A+/AA named Tyler Moore that will be looking awfully good to Davey Johnson everytime he looks at the Syracuse box score? And there's the X-factor: Anthony Rendon who may just become one of the best hitters in major league baseball. I'm sure he could play 1st, 3rd and perhaps 2nd base? And there's even Destin Hood, Brian Goodwin and Eury Perez.

So, OUTFIELD and even CF really isn't as huge a problem as everyone makes it out to be right? What is the problem is the offense. Last year it was all Michael Morse with some decent help from Zim when he came back from his injury. After that not much. Adding a Fielder immediately changes that dynamic. And another factor one must consider if you are the Nats are the new aggressive Marlins?

And c'mon Rizz you already have a CF named Werth? Then you already have a Buehrle, which I bet is what Davey is telling you, except his name is Tommy Milone. If you already have it inside the org why go outside the org? That's silly. Just get Oswalt to mentor the kids and be done with that. Unless you can get Game day James or Price from the Rays along with Upton ....

A Dawg said...

@ Anonymous:

Its "big game James" not "game day James". And please don't tell me your saying Milone is as good as Beuhrle right now. And saying anything like that about Rendone before he plays a professional game is ludicrous.

Big Cat said...

It is amazing to me how many posters have Rendon penciled in as a big leaguer in a year or two. Not only as a big leaguer, but a star in the big leagues. Has he played a game yet? Can he throw a ball 50 feet? Did he bat in Instructional League? If not....why? His college stats were with a metal bat. There is a BIG difference when you pick up the wood. How is his shoulder? There are a lot of questions about this kid

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