Nationals Baseball: Some Rizzo interview thoughts

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some Rizzo interview thoughts

If you weren't listening to the radio last night, Rizzo basically sat in for an hour of the rain delay and got interviewed, took phone calls, and read emails. It was, of course, a lot of positive spin on the Nats situation but that's to be expected. I'd almost be worried if it wasn't this and frankly I appreciate the yeoman's work he put in to stay in touch with the fans. Some thoughts

The rotation is going to be crowded soon, but not with Wang. Rizzo stated simply that Olsen and Marquis were going to be the first two back. Given his "best case" return of Wang being early August, I'm seeing these two back by month's end. Detwiler also seems to be on his way though after Scott and Jason. For Wang, early August came across as not just a "best case" but an "absolute everything goes perfect" date. Given that the Nats will have 3 pitchers being jammed into the rotation in the next few weeks, I don't see them feeling any need to rush Wang and I wouldn't expect to see him for at least a month.

Don't expect Dunn to be traded. The word on the street, that it's likely Dunn will be here, seems to be correct. It almost feels that Rizzo wants a Dunn caliber player back in response, which is going to be impossible to pull from any team that wants Dunn for the stretch because they need those type of players to compete. Failing that 2 or 3 top notch prospects might do it, but that's not what the market bears anymore. Control and youth are valued very highly. Failing Kenny Williams emptying what's left of his minors, I don't see that happening either. When Dunn, a (just) past-prime slugger with an expiring contract, isn't dealt, well don't expect any surprises on the trade front (though Livan still should go)

Pudge is here next year too. Deal. Rizzo was effusive in his praise, effusive I tells ya, for Pudge. Could be cover for a deal, but really it didn't feel like it. It felt like a "he's here and the fans need to hear all the awesome stuff he does for the team because god knows he can't hit. Except he can hit .290!" Except that's not even true - he's about to break into the .270s and is the 12th worst offensive catcher in the NL. At least he's not Nieves.

As long as they aren't playing to their best, that'll be Rizzo's excuse for the sucking. The Nats aren't a good team. The talent just isn't there. Part of that are the injuries, but a lot is the roster make-up. They are ok at best. However they are underperforming, the past month or so making mistakes they shouldn't and not living up to the modest expectations most people set for them. That gives Rizzo an out for talking about the team's failings and he's going to take it. It's not his fault for putting a 73 win team together that is slumping right now. It's their fault for not even playing like a 73 win team. True? I guess. But a half-truth at best.

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