Friday, March 23, 2012

Rizzo: "We like the team we have right now"

US Presswire photo
Mike Rizzo insists he's not making any phone calls to other GMs right now.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- His team hasn't won a game in 11 days, is dealing with several nagging injuries and was no-hit into the seventh inning today, but Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has no plans to significantly tweak his roster over the final 10 days of spring training.

"We like the team we have right now," Rizzo said following today's 5-1 loss to the Astros, which dropped the Nationals to 0-9-1 since March 12. "If something comes up that we can improve ourselves, we'll certainly investigate it. But we're not selling anybody, shopping anybody or making a lot of phone calls. Because we're comfortable where we're at."

Despite speculation from other corners of the baseball world about the Nationals' desire both to acquire another outfielder and trade away from their pitching depth, Rizzo insists he's happy with his roster as-is.

That means left-hander John Lannan is likely to open the season as the No. 5 starter, filling the spot that would have been Chien-Ming Wang's before the latter suffered a hamstring injury that is expected to sideline him for at least part of April.

It also means the Nationals are likely to open the season with Rick Ankiel as the starting center fielder and perhaps Brett Carroll serving as a right-handed platoon alternative.

Both players are in camp as non-roster invitees, but each has made a case to make the club and receive significant playing time. Ankiel missed time earlier this month with a quad strain but returned this week and is hitting .364 in seven total games. Carroll, meanwhile, has impressed manager Davey Johnson with his versatility -- he may even serve as the club's emergency catcher -- and has received 40 at-bats this spring, third-most on the roster behind Chad Tracy and Ian Desmond.

With most of their regulars receiving little playing time to date, the Nationals have produced very little at the plate. They entered today's game having scored only two runs in 28 innings, then were no-hit by Astros right-handers Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell until Jayson Werth tapped a slow roller up the middle with two outs in the seventh for a seeing-eye single. Jason Michaels' solo homer in the eighth snapped a 16-inning scoreless streak.

Rizzo and Johnson, though, aren't expressing any concerns about their team's offensive woes. They expect to see better results next week as more regulars begin playing full games and as left fielder Michael Morse and first baseman Adam LaRoche potentially return from injuries.

"When healthy, we feel really good about where we're at," Rizzo said. "As of today, our health status, I feel good about it. Knock on wood, I think there hasn't been any catastrophic injury that's going to carry into the month of April and into the season. A lot of teams can't say that. So I feel good about that."


bobfromalexandria said...

Hopefully they're right and it's not a case of collective delusion.

JayB said... many of you are still buying this bull from Rizzo and DJ....yes they have to say it but so many of you believe it.....amazing.

Anonymous said...

JayB -- words don't matter, results do. Regular season results, not spring training. The Yankees had a .650 team OPS and one of the worst records in baseball last spring, how'd that turn out?

Like you, I wish Rizzo, Davey, and the players would curb the quotes on how good they expect to be until they actually prove they ARE good. Personally, I'd like to see a winning season before all the talk, but, in any objective analysis, the talent and potential on this team is way above any team since Montreal moved to DC. What will take them from mediocre to winners is if they can turn that POTENTIAL into RESULTS. Until then, I advise ignoring all the talk. It doesn't mean a thing.

JayB said...

Come have to have bench players and AAA/AAAA types who can get a hit in a spring training game......we got always we way over value our own players and pick up dead beat bench vets who CAN NOT HIT......I do not care if they win the game but they have to have players in MLB camp that can get a hit right?

Steady Eddie said...

Look at it this way.

It's clear that both Davey and the FO have been hypercautious in terms of not putting anyone out on the field, even for practice activities, who isn't virtually 100% to do those activities. Makes sense in contrast to the Riggleman insecurity of "gotta show you're gonna do great," "gotta show you're a starter", "gotta make the manager look good" thing that probably at least contributed to Zim and maybe LaRoche's injuries last year.

They're probably going to the other extreme of precaution because, why risk it?

That doesn't mean some of these may not be more serious. But as many commenters indicated that the "we just don't know" answer may be more realistic -- or pessimistic -- that's not what you want to say even if you don't know. Because if someone else might be interested in a deal for their own reasons, saying "we don't know" weakens your own position. Where's the benefit in doing that? To make a few whiny blog commenters happy?

Cwj said...

Anon 5:18 and Steady Eddie make great points.

Wally said...

(a) I have no problem with them being cautious, even extra cautious, with Morse and Laroche's injuries. And since they are significant parts of the lineup, I can ignore these pitiful results right now. After all, you can't say ST is meaningless, and then actually care about the results.
(b) I don't care what Rizzo says about the makeup of the Roster, since I do not believe his words. He plays the game, as do all GMs, of mouthing platitudes and expressing confidence
(c) we do not have a well balanced roster, especially the outfield. Bernie, Carroll, Michaels, Ankiel - only 1 of these guys, at best, should be on a 25 man roster of a team hoping to contend for a playoff spot. Combined they should get no more than 200 ABs. I really hope he is not telling us the truth and is actively looking for at least two OFs. Derosa looks good, but at his age and injury history, there has to be a back up plan for him too. If Rizzo does not improve that aspect of the roster, I think he might as well play Tyler Moore and Corey Brown. At least those guys have a chance to improve.

Cwj said...

I hate the whole playing GM thing, but I wonder if the Nats would consider trading Lannan and LaRoche to the Orioles for Mark Reynolds? :D

Anonymous said...

Rizzo was comfortable with where they were at before he made the Gio trade. Rizzo was comfortable with where they were at before he signed Edwin Jackson. Just sayin'.

JayB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cwj said...

All GMs are like that I'm sure.
It's funny though, every photo of a GM I see has them talking on a phone :-)

JayB said...

AGAIN.....not saying I have a problem with Rizzo and DJ lying.or losing ST games...It just amazes me that so many of you believe them...and are fine that nobody in camp hits... the fact that they have so many AB's at the MLB Spring training level that are just plain easy outs....that is worth concern.

As a reminder....I told you all this OF/Lead Off/Bench issue was huge all all keep saying just wait...Rizzo knows best.....13 days counting.....get is too late for this roster.....Rizzo blew it yet again.

Steady Eddie said...

Wally -- agree that Corey Brown and Tyler Moore make a better Plan B than Carroll and Michaels -- and maybe Tracy -- whose ST AND recent regular season performance doesn't suggest much upside potential, unlike the two prospects.

Not impossible that Rizzo and Davey aren't thinking that too. Let's hope.

Sunderland said...

The most sensible Plan B is put the guys at Syracuse that you control (Brown, Moore, Harper) while you give the guys who can decline going to Syracuse (Carroll, Michaels) a reasonable amount of time to prduce.
This way, you have a Plan C (Brown, Moore, Harper).

realdealnats said...

An offense based on Morse and Zim alone is dangerous, but it's where we are right now in the evolution of this club. Rome wasn't built in a day. It IS scary, and not so unpredictable, when your 30 year old late blooming left fielder goes down with an injury that will need more time to heal than the club can afford. But it's no time to panic. It is a good time for the team to hunker down and go into the season wanting to steal every run they can, and for the pitchers to not want to give up anything--especially walks. That kind of attitude--though not the ideal situation--is what makes clubs tougher. Scrap to stay as close to 500 as possible until Harper is ready. Keep an eagle eye for a big left handed bat at first who doesn't weigh 320 lbs. Start looking for someone to replace Morse sooner than later--not b/c we don't love him, and not b/c he's not a beast--but b/c he's a 30 year old late blooming hitter who should be some of the icing on the cake. Not the entire cake.

Anonymous said...

There's JayB, in midseason hate. The best hate of his life. It's a hate-athon, not a sprint. The most clueless 25 go north.

Anonymous said...

JayB - the problem is that the only leadoff hitter that was available this winter, by trade or free agency, was Jose Reyes. And we were not going to beat the Marlins for him.

Who should Rizzo have acquired, and at what cost? Until you can answer that reasonably, you're being irrational.

Anonymous said...

It's crazy Zuck. Rizzo always talks in grand terms and he's always confident and never shopping anyone, ever. Desmond has to be a real concern. Espi has to be a concern. Ramos has to be something of a concern. etc.

Mike needs to be specific as to why he's happy with his lineup.


Nats in Athens said...

Anon at 7:23, you give me the forum to express my thoughts from all Spring Training.
I think Rizzo should stop trying to hypnotize everyone in to drinking the cool aid. I believe we should have gone for Reyes, or at least made an effort. The one piece of the puzzle that is not in sight in our farm system or in the ML club is a reliable lead off hitter. I agree it may have been difficult to land him but we should have tried. Unfortunately the club is paying dearly for making a bunch of wrong decisions, such as signing Jason Werth, throwing millions to LaRoche etc... With the money the club has wasted on Werth, LaRoche Maya etc... we could have signed Reyes and made a run for Fielder, or at least gone and signed Cespedes. And that would have been a scary club in any book. Instead we walk away from one of the deepest free agent classes in history with a single pitcher. Even our bench will be weaker than last year and that is saying something! I hope I am wrong because I stay up at night watching games as they only start at 2am where I live but I am getting worried this is going to be a year of regression.

Post a Comment