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Rizzo, Two Perspectives

Boswell's column.

The story on Rizzo's rise from scout to GM.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 20, 2009; 11:18 PM ET
 
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Next: Team President Stan Kasten Explains GM Search

Comments

Substance of style. Wow. In of all places, Washington. Do us proud, Mike.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 20, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Substance over style, I meant.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 20, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Since Rizzo has a scouting background, perhaps it's appropriate to offer my assessment so far of his GM-related skills. Using the standard 20-to-80 scouting scale.

Player assessment: 75

This is mostly based on his prior reputation. This is his strong point, obviously.

Contract negotiation mettle: 70

Rather impressed with how he handled the Strassburg situation.

Team construction/longterm planning: 30

See my comments under the Boswell/Harlan articles. I'm afraid this is a guy who doesn't understand how those talents that he is so good at assessing, actually add up to wins. Or how to build a team from the ground up to be a winner. Everything he has done so far seems geared toward virtually assuring an eventual .500 team, with little chance for a higher ceiling than that.

It's early though, and I could be wrong. I wish him luck.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 21, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

OK, it's now time to talk about . . . Yearbook Fail.

It came in the mail today, in a nice, promising big white envelope with a curly red W. It came with a personal note from the Nats: "We would like to thank you for your support. . . .The Yearbook is full of stats, stories, illustrations and photos. . . .Happy reading!"

Except there was almost nothing to read. Phil Wood wrote a story about Ryan Zimmerman, and there was a Q&A with . . . Ryan Zimmerman! (One of the questions asked him about his relationship with David Wright. My Lipton tea almost came back up.)

There was some great art of our favorite Nats, full page drawings of Zim, Adam Dunn, Manny Acta (oops), Joe Beimel, Anderson Hernandez, Nick Johnson, et. al. I know, I know, yearbooks are printed fairly early in the season. But the thing that really got me was THERE WAS ALMOST NO INFORMATION ABOUT ANY OF THE PLAYERS except for Zimmerman. We learn, for example, that Jesus Colome is 6-2, 240, bats and throws right, was born in the DR and a signed as a minor league free agent in January of 2007. That's it. No career stats for anyone, even Zim.

There are BIOS, however, of Screech and the four racing presidents. I kid you not. Did you know Screech was hatched on April 17, 2005? Did you know that Tom is "more bookish than athletic"?

So what I want to know is when will the club think they have good enough players so they will actually print their stats in the yearbook and actually want the fans to focus on them at the game instead of the five mascots?

Posted by: paulkp | August 21, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

paulkp wrote:

"Did you know that Tom is "more bookish than athletic"?"

Adding insult to injury, the TJ doll sold in the Nats stadium store has... white hair. I've never seen a portrait of Jefferson with white hair. He was a redhead. I seriously would have bought it had it been pictorially accurate, as my girlfriend is a huge TJ fan.

As for Screech, I guess his being under 5 lends him the advantage of youthful innocence, which keeps him excited about this struggling team.

Posted by: B2O2 | August 21, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Tough crowd tonight, eh?

paulkp, have you ever bought the team's media guide? I think that it may be more along the lines of what you're thinking of. It's always had much more substance than the yearbook. I haven't yet been able to turn up this year's edition (which would have last year's stats, of course) at the park, though.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2009 6:13 AM | Report abuse

"paulkp, have you ever bought the team's media guide? I think that it may be more along the lines of what you're thinking of. It's always had much more substance than the yearbook. I haven't yet been able to turn up this year's edition (which would have last year's stats, of course) at the park, though."

Exactly. Yearbooks are not meant to be read, they're meant to be looked at. Think of your high school yearbook. Same kinda deal.

The media guide OTOH is chock full of data and stats, with not many pictures. I got my copy at the team store early in the season. There was a bit of a media guide fail this year though. The four cover subjects were Zimmernan, Dunn, Olsen and Milledge. Oh well, batting .500 there. They did do a nice job though of excising any mention of Jim Bowden from it on what no doubt was short notice with his resignation probably coming pretty close to the printer's deadline for the book.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 21, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

> I'm afraid this is a guy who doesn't understand how those talents that he is so good at assessing, actually add up to wins. Or how to build a team from the ground up to be a winner. Everything he has done so far seems geared toward virtually assuring an eventual .500 team, with little chance for a higher ceiling than that.

It's early though, and I could be wrong. I wish him luck.

Posted by: B2O2

You're not depressed because they got swept by a playoff caliber team this week, are you? You have to remember that he's working with what he has right now. You won't see him wheel and deal until the offseason. He did all he could while the season was happening. He's going to have to wait for the final judgement on the mediocre young starters the team has brought up. Flashes of brilliance, then back to throwing like rookies with no confidence. Other teams aren't going to go for these guys while they're having these uneven results. So, he has to find out exactly what he has so he can package them in a trade. It's just like the team itself - my biggest fear is that he would have started unloading veterans due to the horrid results under Acta, but since he knew how to evaluate talent, he realized that Acta in general was the problem for most of them, and that once he was gone, he'd get honest results. You can just about guarantee he knows exactly what this team needs now. Like moving Dunn to 1B, which cleared out a logjam in the OF - now he can play Dukes and get a real bead on his talent. All these things make it easier to assess talent and make the right moves.

Posted by: Brue | August 21, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

I am sorry, lost in all the PR hoopla is this game last night. In Chico's story he has Riggelman saying the ump got the call right but this makes no sense to me. We saw the X-mo on MASN2 and clearly Gonzalez' bat was through the zone before the ball arrived and hit the ground. No foul tip. Am I missing something here?

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | August 21, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

quick off topic question: a frined of mine has tickets for tonight in section 110U. What does the U mean? He's in row LL if that matters.

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

The other day I suggested folks not give up on the Nats if they didn't retain Rizzo, saying we were not in a position to know how good a GM he is. I still have no qualifications, but the Boswell column sure makes me feel good about keeping the guy. Perhaps the biggest compliment is the respect of Scott Boras. I hate the guy like the rest of you, but until the next labor agreement changes some of the rules, the ability to work with/outmaneuver Boras is one of the most important skills for an MLB GM. It certainly will be if the Nats get the #1 pick again next June.

I agree that Rizzo's main work will come during the offseason, but he does still have little more than a week to make minor trades along the lines of the one that got us Shairon Martis several years ago. I hope he takes energy from his recent promotion and finds a way to trade the likes of Ronnie Belliard or Josh Bard.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | August 21, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

So how's the Bryce Harper race going you ask? Our lead has dropped from double digits to 4 1/2 games.

Washington --43 78 .355
Kansas City --47 73 .392 4.5 games back
Baltimore --49 72 .405 6 games back
San Diego --51 72 .415 7 games back
Pittsburgh --49 70 .412 7 games back

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

New post, folks.

(And I thought I saw what you saw on the X-Mo, GNT.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Re: Rizzo's long-term planning:

Quite simply, we have no idea yet! Sure he was auditioning for the GM job, so he had to concentrate on immediate results while still continuing to build blocks for the future. Now that he officially has the reins, we'll get a chance to see.

He moved Hernandez while he had some value (shocking really) and opening up room for the real evaluation that needs to happen (Gonzo, maybe Guz at 2nd in Sept).

I'm still concerned other GMs won't want to deal/trade with him until he starts to get a few bust deals under his belt. No one wants to get fleeced like the Bucs with Nyjer/Burnett!

Because his skillful talent evaluation is well known, his immediate impact might have to be on which Free Agents to pursue this off-season, and convincing them that NatsTown is the place to sign.

Give the guy a chance this off-season before you hang him on a cross. We have core pieces in place... extend Dunn's contract, draft/sign more hitters to fill out the minors, and package the young arms as necessary to fill out pieces on the 40 man for 2010-2011.

Posted by: mo_dc | August 21, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

@twinbrook

110u means 110 "upper" hence the double letters-"LL" -- 110l Row L would be in the "lower" section of 110.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7.

Posted by: adhardwick | August 21, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

GoNatsTerps- Well then Riggleman and the umps are wrong. He clearly swung on it and missed. His bat wasn't even near the ball. It was a terrible call. I'm glad we're no longer playing the Rockies. I think they are the new Marlins to us. (although we did sweep the Marlins a while ago.)

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Rachel, my husband said last night that we're the Rockies [Utleys]. I said that they would have to fight the Marlins for rights to that tag. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

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