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Rizzo: Let's Not Get Comfortable

Mike Rizzo, the Nationals assistant general manager and acting GM (which brings up the question: Is he assisting himself with the acting?), just filled us in on the reasoning behind the signing of right-hander Julian Tavarez, whose entire body of work can be viewed here.

"It's adding a little depth, a little major league experience, a guy who's pitched in real big games before," Rizzo said. "It gives us a litlte more inventory and a little more depth for the bullpen."

That stuff makes sense, right? Tavarez is no guarantee to make the team, he's versatile enough that he could make a spot start, etc. But what was more interesting is what Rizzo said next.

"There's nothing wrong with competition in spring training, and we don't want a lot of comfortable players in the clubhouse," Rizzo said. "It's this time in spring training to step up and make the club. Competition, that never hurts."

So ... anyone feeling uncomfortable now? Tavarez would likely be a long man here. It's worth pointing out that last year, Tavarez had an 8.36 ERA against the AL, a 3.98 ERA against the NL.

"He's pitched out of both roles," Rizzo said. "He's a guy with a rubber arm. He can pitch a lot of innings, a lot of appearances, and he never appears to tire or break down."

Tavarez would make $500,000 if he makes the major league team, but he's guaranteed nothing. We'll see what happens.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 13, 2009; 7:39 PM ET
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Next: Midgame Update: Eldred Again


Seems like a no-risk deal. I'm uncomfortable, but it's not because of that. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 13, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Regardless of where Rizzo thinks Taverez might fit in the mix, more possibilities in the bullpen are always better than a "death-march" toward the last seven players remaining.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse


Why do you rail against Milledge? He was 22/23 years old last expect him to be able to assess what is hard work? Who he perceives to be a help and who really is helpful? I'm not trying to be a Milledge apologist but I believe you have unrealistic expectations....and perhaps the measures you use to assess "hard work" are faulty. And unless you are at each and every practice it is impossible to assess the level of work folk put into the game. Sometimes hard work does not immediately (or ever) show up on the field of play. I go to the gym quite a bit, but damnit I'm still chubby!

Asking Milledge to throw Harris under the best is a separate issue from Milledge's perceived work ethic. I'm sure Milledge's fondness of Harris was a product of the interest Harris showed Milledge, or perhaphs cuz Harris was "cool" or caring, or easy to speak with. Nothing wrong with Milledge liking Harris, but I believe its easy to understand that often people's relationship and views of those close to them cloud their judgement in determining whether that person is good for them or not.

I'm done. Leave it alone. Harris was a poor coach. Most everyone knew that. Any Nat who spoke fondly of Harris should not be questioned or criticized. Like my mom used to say, if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say it at all. I'm glad to see that the players have some home training!

Posted by: jfromPG | March 13, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

oops..meant under the "bus"...where's my editors!

Posted by: jfromPG | March 13, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Saying something nice about a poor coach is not what he was saying, he was saying he liked Harris because he had the same work ethic that Milledge did and he was cool with it. Hours and hours of card playing is what that coaching consisted off.

I have season tickets and I always watch hours of batting practice and then the game. Milledge does not work hard. I know it and his play shows it.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 13, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

define hard work please. In fact, can you please come up with a manifesto on how tp play baseball and operate an effective franchise? Baseball according to JayBee...

Don't most kids who have parents who want to be their friends give more glowing assessments than those who have parents who understand that parenting means you don't need 14 year old friends? Consider the source...many people like folk who don't challenge them, so why would you expect, let alone want, Milledge to be the dissenting voice about Lenny Harris. Not his place. Thats how this entire discussion began, you asked that Milledge not endorse Harris, many folk said that's an outlandish expectation. It still is.

Posted by: jfromPG | March 13, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

So who on the pitching staff besides Lannan and Olsen are feeling comfortable this spring?

Posted by: tomfoc31 | March 13, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

So apparently the Nat's penchant for going out and grabbing bottom-of-barrel whack jobs didn't depart with Jimbo.

I have a very clear image in my head of the Nat brain trust getting together to evaluate a player, only to give the ultimate thumbs down: "Nah, I hear that guy might have good character".

Posted by: joebleux | March 13, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Back to the game - Olsen gets scuffed up a bit, giving up 6 hits in 4.0 IP, with 2ER. Hinckley comes on in the 5th & gets a 1-2-3 inning against the 'heart' of the HOU order (Berkman, C. Lee, Pence).

Top of the 6th, Eldred just CRUSHED one - now 2-1, Astros.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

milledge was the best offensive force on the team last year at 22 years old. seems like the one player who clicked with lenny was milledge. young guy with lots of talent just needed to feel wanted. that's what we gave him and he produced his best season with potential to realize more. simple as that to me.

i don't want a bunch of players, especially very young ones, throwing coaches under the bus. that's a terrible sign. i think our team actually does a good job at media speak. a bit too good for fandom but smart organizationally.

besides. lenny almost single handedly gave us first dibs on Stasburg this year. that's a good thing.

Posted by: longterm | March 13, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Now that is a longterm view.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 13, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

In no particular order, the early starting staff looks like...
Lannan has looked smooth, so far - J.Zimm is drawing raves, and Martis is making a case as well. Olsen is a solid #2-3 NL starter, with Cabrera looking like a capable #4-5 NL starter. Chacin & Towers are making non-roster bids for a LR slot, but Balester seems to be headed to SYR, unless he turns it around.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

"Best offensive force" on the 2008 Nats.....that is what you are using to get us behind Milledge? If he could manage not to be the last one off the field and the last one on the field between innings this year I will start to change my view. If he throws overhand instead of damn near underarm between innings that would help too.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 13, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

... I like this Tavares signing because of the one claim Barry/Rizzo made: JT has a rubber arm. And that's how I recall him on the mound - as someone who could go on forever. Not that his stuff would get him to the HoF but that his stuff would get him to the ninth if needed and not change.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 13, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

How 'bout you direct some of that negative energy at Kearns. He deserves it much more than Milledge, not that Milledge doesn't need his head examined at times.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 13, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Forever or until he gets ejected for drilling someone in the head.

Posted by: joebleux | March 13, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Kearns is a hard worker and plays the game the right way. Kearns sin is he is dumb and stubborn. He should have changed his hands and stance 2 years ago. He should have come to camp after 6 weeks of work with Eckstein. I did not and if he did he would not have gotten blister the first day of camp. How's that?

Posted by: JayBeee | March 13, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

He may be a hard worker, he just sucks. I'd rather have a lazy all-star.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 13, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Milledge was with Acta on the Mets, and Acta likes him. JayB doesn't like Acta. You do the math.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 13, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of negative energy, Tavares is a d@mn fool... he broke his hand punching the dugout a couple of years back. Nah. I'd prefer to just continue sorting through the mess we already have rather than add to it.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 13, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

The team is a little over a dozen games into 2009 Spring Training, and you're already near your mid-season form; focus on a single player, seize on a weakness (either percieved or acknowleged), & tear at it it like a pit-bull.

It gets real old, real fast.

Please, either learn to lighten up on your own, or get your dosages checked.

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Barry has a new post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 13, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Glover on in the 8th - not good, boys & girls, not good at all...

Posted by: BinM | March 13, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

>If he throws overhand instead of damn near underarm between innings that would help too.

You're not stable.

Posted by: Brue | March 13, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Missed this the first time around:

"Mike Rizzo, the Nationals assistant general manager and acting GM (which brings up the question: Is he assisting himself with the acting?)..."

Classic, classic Svrluga-ism. Bravo.

Posted by: ihatewalks | March 16, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

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