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Rizzo On Draft

Acting GM Mike Rizzo met with the media this morning for a pre-draft press conference. Though the draft doesn't start until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the conference room in the lowest level at Nationals Park -- situated right next to the Diamond Club -- is already decked out with three massive whiteboards. Come Tuesday, that room will serve as the headquarters for the Nats front office and scouting department.

I'll post the full transcript of Rizzo's presser a bit later, but here is the Cliffs Notes synopsis.

* Since Monday morning, Rizzo and the rest of the scouting department have been in lockdown while assembling the draft board.

* Rizzo said that the Nats, especially for the early-round picks, will take the highest-remaining player on their board. That simple. It's like drafting by a formula. In other words, by the time the draft begins, their work will largely be done. Rizzo mentioned a particular saying they have in the draft room: "Honor the board."

* He said that the Nats "are not drafting on signability whatsoever." Thus, they won't take a lesser player just because he'll accept a smaller signing bonus or is willing to sign quickly. Rizzo said that "we put the list together based on talent."

* As for the draft itself, this year seems to be very pitcher-heavy. Speaking about position players, Rizzo called the crop "probably the thinnest in many years."

By Chico Harlan  |  June 7, 2009; 12:46 PM ET
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Next: A Quick Return To The Norm


Only 50 hours left to #1; I'm a little torqued about the announcement from Boras' group that they will be handling the press conference when Strasburg is drafted, but maybe they know something that nobody else does.

Posted by: BinM | June 7, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I would agree with that philosophy, whoever you have ranked the highest at the time it's your turn to pick...pick them. No guesswork. Even if they don't somehow figure into your plans, they will fit into someone elses at some point. Welcome to Washington S.S. and whoever is next!

Posted by: cokedispatch | June 7, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

As my late father would say "Stammen got nuthin on the ball but the cover"

Posted by: dargregmag | June 7, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Ouch. Looks like the bullpen will have a long day. Basically out of the game before it even started.

Posted by: rachel216 | June 7, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Has Stammen left for Syracuse yet?

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | June 7, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

How will today's bus proceed down the street without any wheels? 5-0 and we haven't even BATTED yet? And against the wily Livo? Yikes!

Posted by: shepdave2003 | June 7, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Let give it another inning or 2 before we give up hope. If Stammen can settle down, the Nats are capable of scoring runs this year.

I just hope the Nats haven't given up yet on this game.

Posted by: bigmook | June 7, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Agreed Bigmook, it feels like they're starting to figure Houdini Hernandez out a little bit (he types as Dukes flies out and Kearns Ks again), we definitely have the offensive potential. As an aside, looks like Nats320 scored a front row seat near home... Maybe he can inspire them to rally!

Posted by: HotNats | June 7, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I admit that maybe we can cancel the bus ticket for the time being. But the Nats have to figure out how to get Stammen and Zimmermann warmed up BEFORE the game begins.

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | June 7, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

This offense will not comeback in this game. Stammen belongs in Syracuse where he can learn to pitch cause like many of the Nats young pitchers he throws a lot of hittable stuff. It is what it is and you gotta leave them up now.

Posted by: bendersx6 | June 7, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Gotta say --- Church and Schneider are looking a lot better than Milledge right now (And they're not even that good!). And this guy Livian Hernandez? Another Nats cast-off -- back to haunt us!

The Mets are playing with 3 crappy ex-Nats in their starting line-up. And mauling us! How does this happen?

Posted by: nattydread1 | June 7, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

How does this happen, you ask? It happens because we are the most clueless team in MLB. We didn't learn a thing facing Hernandez last time. We were too busy breaking our arms slapping ourselves on the back for one win last night to get ready to play today.

Posted by: truke | June 7, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, but forgot to add that it is yet another Nats' "series victory." We brought up the winning percentage again by winning one out of three.

Posted by: truke | June 7, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse


What you are missing in your analysis is that Hernandez costs the Mets $2 million in salary and bonus money this year. Stammen costs 400K, so that's a savings of $1.6 million! How can you argue with that huge savings?

Moreover, Schneider costs the Mets $4.9 million, while Church costs them $2.7 million. The Nats saved $7.7 million on those two guys alone this year.

Even though it was a dreary, boring ballgame today (I was there), the park was pretty full, so you get OK revenue at very little cost by stocking your club with bargains. You just are not focusing on the most important element of DC baseball. The following site will fill you in on the Nats' priorities (short-term profit):

Posted by: EdDC | June 7, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

It's June 7th and the Nats have won 2 series all season. Two. Staggering.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 7, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

If you could pair Strasburg (with all the tools and a 13-1 record) with last year's #1 draft pick of the Nats, the College Pitcher of the Year with a 13-0 record, we might be able to look beyond this season and into a better future.

Posted by: EdDC | June 7, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse


Unfortunately we need more than just 2 young pitchers to turn this team around.

But that would be a start. Last night, with Lannan battling and winning - and the offense going, and a decent defensive performance -- we get a glimpse of what can be.

Posted by: bigmook | June 7, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Nattydread1: It happens because we had a goofball masquerading as a GM(Jimbo) and a so called president(Kasten) co-signing on to just about everything that Bowden suggested but yet we signed Cabrera a career underachiever and gave away a catcher(Schnieder,who knew how to handle pitchers) and a RF(Church) who looks like a HOF'er compared to Kearns for a career minor leaguer(Milledge). The Lerners don't care as long as they make money,i said it once and i'll say it again MLB sold this franchise to the wrong ownership group the Lerners no nothing about building a baseball franchise, Bowden should have been fired as soon as they signed the papers and Kasten should have never been hired. Mike Rizzo is in limbo as is this franchise and with the draft less than forty eight hrs. away it seems this teams future hangs in the balance.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 7, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Please do not draft Strasburg. Boras is not an ethical person and will put the Nats into a box where they will have to pay him five times the amount previously given to the #1 pick. Boras knows that the Nats were lambasted last year for not signing Crowe and will hold them up without a gun.

Strasburg is not worth anywhere near that money.

I am lucky enough to be able to listen to NY sports radio at night and both the hosts and callers are already predicting a disaster with this pick.

Posted by: MKadyman | June 7, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

WRT to Tuesday's draft, I have heard that the Nats are considering taking pitchers with the 1st and 10th pick. The first pick, obviously should be Strasburg (sp), but I am thinking we have plenty of young arms in the farm system now; and may be Rizzo and company should take a position player - say a SS, or Centerfielder, or even a 1st baseman to spell Nick, or replace him should they trade him away.

Posted by: bigmook | June 7, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse


I hear you and I also have that concern wrt to Strasburg, that he could be a bust. But I think the Nats management is feeling pressure to draft him. After what happened with the Crowe selection last year, where the Nats didn't sign him - because they were deemed to be "too cheap", I think if the Nats shy away from drafting Strasburg -they will be crucified in the press and by fans.

Posted by: bigmook | June 7, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

boras can't keep taking the hits either. he needs strasburg to sign also.

i really want to believe we take the best player with the 10th pick.

Posted by: longterm | June 7, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

>Strasburg is not worth anywhere near that money.

What money? Nobody knows how much it will take. Although I liked the way Dibble downplayed Strasburg's role in the near future at the very least. It's all part of the dance. Don't want to start spouting off about how unstoppable Strasburg might be before negotiations.

Posted by: Brue | June 7, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

So Chico,

Nobody brought up the fact that top pitchers drafted have always either worn down or been mediocre at best, while it is a much better bet to take a position player?

Or was Rizzo pre-empting that question by claiming the position player field, even with the Nats' picking twice in the top 10, is the thinnest in years?

The one silver lining to today's desultory affair was that the Mets fans were as listless as the Nats players.

Posted by: paulkp | June 7, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

>Only 50 hours left to #1

I might even go to the draft party. Draft starts at 6:00, right? Free T-shirt. Why not. The second pick might be more fun than the first. Things like that are where the real action is. Plus if they were smart, they'd do a bit on next year's #1.

Posted by: Brue | June 7, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse


I agree that you need more than two young pitchers to build around? However, it is a start. Can you imagine passing on your #1 pick just to save a small amount of money? What cheap ownership!

When was the last time the Nats traded for a guy making pretty big bucks? A: Soriano. He made $10 million, but that was before the Lerners. Soriano did yield Jordan Zimmermann, with a pick the Nats got after Soriano signed elsewhere. That's another way to build a team that the Nats don't use: trade for guys making decent money, who can be turned into prospects down the road, while making your current club more watchable.

Posted by: EdDC | June 7, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Well Acta was a genius for a day, now he's back to being a big dummy again.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | June 7, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse


I agree with the approach of trading for prospects, but right now who, other than Nick Johnson, and maybe Dunn to an AL team, do we have to trade that another team might be interested in? Guzzie is looking like he has lost alot defensively, and I don't believe anyone would want to take a chance on Dukes and his potential volatility. And Kearns, well maybe we can get a case of coke and some burgers for him the way he is hitting right now.

Posted by: bigmook | June 7, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Dibble made an astute point, during the game, pointing out that Boras will also be feeling pressure during the Strasburg negotiations because he cannot afford to have another of his clients sit out for a year.

Crow has no leverage this draft because he has already wasted a year of his career. How would not negotiating a deal for Strasburg affect Boras?

Posted by: Vze2sr66 | June 7, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

For the record, Crow was not a Boras client last year. What Boras player did you have in mind?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | June 7, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

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