According to Yahoo! Sports yesterday, Mike Rizzo was going to be replaced by Jerry Dipoto as the Nationals’ GM. Of course, according to Google, the first definition of the word “Yahoo” is “Yokel: a person who is not very intelligent or interested in culture.” I wonder if it’s coincidence that that’s the first thing that comes up on the competitor’s search engine? On to the subject at hand, and what’s most important: that rumor was false, and Mike Rizzo got the job full time as General Manager and Senior VP of Baseball Operations. And there was much rejoicing.
As I said yesterday, I’d hire Rizzo full time, so I’m happy. Having not sat in any of the interviews, not known truly that much about the candidates, from an outsider looking in, my instincts tell me Rizzo is the man for the job. So it’s good to see that the ownership liked what they saw, and envisioned great things from him. Probably his biggest flaw, not being slick with the media, is less important when you have a guy like Stan Kasten working the room. He’s biggest strength, scouting, is very important for a team like the Nationals, who are in the building process. He also seems to have a knack for knowing who can play good baseball as opposed to who is just a talented athlete, which is nice to see.
Again, as I’ve already said, most of all I welcome the stability. Rizzo’s been in place now for 6 months, so making him permanent feels like a formality, except for all that noise yesterday.
Speaking of Promotions
A few promotions to make note of over the last few days. Mike Morse was promoted to the major league club to add depth to the outfield. Here’s what I said about him last week:
An outfielder acquired for Ryan Langerhans from Seattle, he has hit well since coming in to the organization. He’s hit .333/.405/.539 for Syracuse, and is a righty that traditionally can really rake lefties. While he’s already 27, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come up to see if he’s the kind of right handed bench bat that NL teams love to have.
Expect to see him get in a couple of games, just so the Nats can see what they have. As of now the Nats are supposed to face, in order: Jason Marquis, Jason Hammel, Mike Burns, Braden Looper, and Carlos Villanueva. What do these guys have in common? They’re all righties. So when are they gonna put him in? Well, don’t worry, because in AAA Syracuse this year, he’s actually hit righties better. I expect for them to start him soon to see what he can do these days against major league righties. In his time in the majors so far, it hasn’t been pretty, but he’s never put up a kind of AAA line like he did this year.
The other big promotion was Chris Marrero, who was promoted from high A to AA Harrisburg this week. The just-turned-21 year old hit .287/.360/.464, a pretty good year for someone that age. He’s still considered one of the best prospects in the system, he’ll probably be listed as #2 on Baseball America’s top 10 list for the team behind a certain pitcher that was just signed. This may be a prelude to getting an invite to spring training, but I have a feeling unless he hits 10 HRs next spring, he’ll get at least a few months in AA next year. If he really can hit the way people think, he could be the starting first baseman as soon as late next season.
What that means for Adam Dunn, who knows? I wouldn’t be shocked if Dunn or Willingham got traded at some point, maybe around the trade deadline next year. And if Marrero is great, there probably isn’t space in the lineup for all 3, so might as well get value for the guy who’s contract ends the soonest.
OK, One last Thing
I’m not the only one who thinks the Nationals aren’t totally crazy to imagine themselves as a winning team. Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus wrote something for ESPN insider on the subject as well. He had 3 main points: 1)That the core position bats are pretty good, 2)Grab a couple of Free Agents that can fill some holes, 3)Hire Rizzo full time. Well, as you know, #3 has gone by the wayside.
But as for #1 and #2, that’s what I’ve been saying for months! The only things I’d add would be with the free agents – get one who can play real solid defense and put him at SS. Guzman can be moved to 2B or moved to another team, whichever works best. Then grab a few solid relievers, there are guys out there (Jose Valverde, Fernando Rodney, Ron Mahay, Octavio Dotel, Mike Gonzalez…), and if you really want, one top of the rotation starter who’s a free agent (John Lackey, Ervin Santana, Rich Harden, Jarrod Washburn..). Suddenly, they’d have a pretty decent team.