Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rizzo on 1B, Lee, Wang, Webb

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Mike Rizzo's just-completed media session featured questions and answers on the pursuit of a first baseman, the status of the search for a front-line pitcher, thoughts on the possibility of signing either Chien-Ming Wang or Brandon Webb (or even both right-handers) and even a little bit about Michael Morse's projected role.

Here's the transcript...

On losing out on Carlos Pena to the Cubs: "He was just one of many options that we were thinking of. I know our name was attached to him quite a bit, but he was just one of many guys we were thinking."

Are you looking for a long-term or a stop-gap solution at first base? "We'll explore both options. There's planning ahead that can take into account both kinds of players. It expands our pool a little bit more."

With a lot of first basemen off the table now, do you feel like you need to resolve this soon? "I don't want to ever feel rushed to do a deal. When you feel rushed to do a deal, you make a deal that you may not have wanted to do. We're going to look at all our options, and we feel that there's still a lot of good options out there. We'll see where it takes us."

Do you have a sense what the timetable for Cliff Lee to make a decision is? "I don't really know where he's at in regards to getting a deal done soon. It wouldn't surprise me if it went beyond the

Have you been surprised at how steep the asking price is to acquire a pitcher via trade? "The good, controllable young starting pitchers, they're tough to trade for. They cost a lot in dollars and in players. I don't think I would describe it as tougher. I always knew it would be difficult to get."

Summing up what has been accomplished at these meetings: "We're extremely happy the way the Winter Meetings have gone. We've done a lot of work. We landed an elite player and laid the groundwork on many other fronts. So, yeah, we feel good about ourselves right now."

Do you think you've changed the perception at all around baseball about the Nationals? "It's hard to control the perception, but I think the fan base sees we've got a plan in place. We're going to follow the plan. We're a ballclub that's on the rise. I see the perception of the fan base in Washington seeing us as a team to be excited about, because we're going in the right direction."

What's the chance of re-signing Chien-Ming Wang? "We still are optimistic that we can get something done with Chien-Ming. He's on the free-agent market now. But we have a really good relationship with him. He really enjoyed his time in Viera. He feels that the Washington Nationals were really good to him."

Would you need to see him throw again before you re-sign him? "We think we saw enough in instructional league, the course and time and the healing process, we should have a guy at spring training that's about ready to participate."

Have you meet with Brandon Webb's agent here? "Yes, I have. There's not many guys I haven't met with."

Is velocity less of a concern with Webb than with a power pitcher? "Definitely. He's a guy that doesn't rely on power to get his outs. He's the consummate sinkerball guy. He throws a heavy ball. And when he was at his best, he throws 88-90. At one time, when we drafted him, he was at 94. He adjusted. He throttled down to get that movement on his sinker."

Would you be willing to sign both Wang and Webb, or would it have to be one or the other? "I wouldn't call it an either/or situation. I think all these signings are part of the big puzzle. One piece here may affect a piece there, depending on what the costs are at these different positions."

Do you anticipate taking someone in the Rule 5 draft tomorrow? "We're in a position roster-wise to do it, certainly. [The 40-man roster currently sits at 37.] We really haven't gone over the Rule 5 candidates. That's our job for this evening. That's what we're going to do. If there's a player we think could have an impact for us, certainly we have the room on the roster to do so."

What are you looking for in bench players? "I think that all depends on what the front eight brings to us. You always want in the bench some versatility. It gives your manager different ways to go. We'd like a good, veteran presence on the bench. And in a perfect world, I'd like to see a bench guy that can impact a game with a single swing. A guy with some power off the bench is something that intrigues me."

Do you see Michael Morse in that role? "No, I think Michael Morse will have a more important role than one at-bat off the bench."

Do you want Willie Harris back? "Willie Harris is one of the many people we're thinking about and discussing being a guy off the bench, yes."


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Yes! Yes! Bring back Willie(.183/.291/.362).

Willie Harris, he's our man.
If he can't do it, we won't be a bit surprised.

BinM said...

GM Rule #1 - When asked a question regarding a specific player, never dis-respect that individual (Bowden w/Cordero). You never know what may happen in the future.

If you reference a general attitude - "I just got tired of watching them" (Rizzo w/2009 bullpen) that might apply to several players (i.e. Cabrera, Hinckley, Schell), that's acceptable, because you haven't singled out an individual for scorn.

Having said that, Willie Harris looked like he was a 'spent casing' last year & needs to move on, imo.

Theophilus said...

Can't overstate the importance of getting a left-handed hitting 1B. And except for LaRoche there aren't any free agents worth having (Derrek Lee is RH.) Morse isn't the answer (also RH). Marrero, if he were to shock everyone and turn out to be a Major League player, is RH. Further down the road, Moore is RH. All three catchers are RH. Leaving you w/ Espinosa, Bernandina, Morgan (blecch)and ?? hitting from the left side.

If LaRoche doesn't sign here, Rizzo will have to trade Willingham and some AAAA arms for Loney or the guy in Oakland.

Slidell said...

New York Post says Yanks have offered Lee six years, $135-150 million.

Anonymous said...

Draft picks Michael Burgess and Tim Pahuta are the only left handed power guys in the high minors currently. Both are currently at the AA Harrisburg level.

Seems like it wouldn't be a big gamble to go out and get a reasonably high ranked left handed first base prospect that is blocked. Otherwise, there's always Crawford.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

New York Post says Yanks have offered Lee six years, $135-150 million.

So, Uncle Teddy, make it seven years, $180 million and you got yourself a staff ace

Golfersal said...

The one really positive thing from this piece (which is well done) that I liked the best is at the end in which Rizzo said that Michael Morse will have an important role.
Damn right he should, he could be one of those hidden gems that shines and carries the Nats through the year.
Glad that management feels that way for Morse

N. Cognito said...

"Willie Harris is one of the many people we're thinking about and discussing being a guy off the bench, yes."


Sec3MySofa said...

to be fair, NCog, he didn't say *what* they were thinking, or *how far* off the bench they had in mind.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Nick Johnson available?

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