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Rizzo on Strasburg Deal

Some highlights from acting GM Mike Rizzo, who spoke about the Strasburg deal:

On plan for Strasburg: Well as you can imagine we've had a pretty whirlwind busy day. We've had a plan in place for Stephen since we met him out in California. We've spoken to him about it. We're just going to let him get his feet on the ground here in Washington, D.C, and we'll figure out a plan for him in the very near future.

On whether he could be in the big leagues in September: We're not going to go into that right now because, like I said, it's been a whirlwind day. We have to figure out where he's at, how in shape his arm is, how much we have to ramp him up before he can start pitching competitively.

On the final day, talks: There was back-and-forth throughout the day. We started early in the morning, the group of us got together at 9 a.m. on Monday, and we've been together throughout the night. It's been a pretty consistent flow of back and forth, and obviously the last couple of hours -- and specifically the last 45 minutes -- the energy level ramps up. And it gets a little exciting.

On the reason he agreed to a deal: The reason he agreed to a deal -- he wants to be in the big leagues, he wants to be a Washington National, he wants to win a Cy Young award and he wants to win championships in D.C. That's the reason he signed with us here. Money was a nice perk and a nice byproduct for him, but he's here to pitch. He's chomping at the bit to get on the mound. He's ultra-ultra competitive, and I think he was getting a little tired of sitting around the house.

On the key to the contract: I think what I kept saying to Scott was that Stephen wants to play. We want to have Stephen. There's a deal to be made here, and it's a deal somewhere in the middle here. And let's find a vehicle to go out and get this deal done. ... Ultimately that's what it came down to. This guy wants to play, he wants to show what he can do on the big league level, and that makes the signing process work.

On meeting: Well, the object of our meeting was to meet the player and for him to meet specifically Mr. Lerner, and for Mr. Lerner to get to know Stephen a little bit. Stan and I both thought that was an important aspect of getting this deal done. ... When a man the likes of Ted Lerner flies across country to meet with you, that makes a huge statement.

On the talks: I was the lead negotiator on the phone with Scott, supported constantly by Stan and the board.

On how critical this for the franchise: The Lerner family stepped up here and gave us the resources to sign the most lucrative amateur player contract in the history of the draft. That says a big statement to the city of Washington, D.C., and to the commitment that the Lerner family has to winning championships here in Washington. The easiest thing in the world was to stick to more of a slotted type of system and try and hold the line, staying a little ahead of last year's No. 1 pick. They opened their checkbook to try to bring a winning, championship-type of player to the Washington, D.C. area.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 18, 2009; 1:22 AM ET
 
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Comments

doooode! rizzo needs to be our GM for a while, come on

Posted by: formerlylove1 | August 18, 2009 1:26 AM | Report abuse

I guess my sign worked... Next year I'll have a sign Harper sign

Posted by: theredskin | August 18, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to the Nats for getting this done for less than 20M, let's continue the lovefest and sign Rizzo as GM, he deserved it way before last night.

Posted by: NatsMan21 | August 18, 2009 1:36 AM | Report abuse

Mike Rizzo is the man!! I know he probably did less than what this post leads us to believe, but this guy is our future!

Lerners and Kasten need to discard the list of potential GM candidates and immediately hire this guy full time!

Pitching and defense wins championships and Rizzo knows a winner when he sees one!

LETS GO NATS!!!

Posted by: von_bluff | August 18, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Time for Wilbon to drink a huge cup of STFU.

Posted by: deMille_Ondefloss | August 18, 2009 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Well done; play ball!

Posted by: Bill-CH | August 18, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

rizzo! you are the man! please lock him up

Posted by: formerlylove1 | August 18, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

I hesitate to say it, but this moment might be the second best in Nats history after the first pitch at RFK.

I haven't experienced something like the tension mounting as midnight approached, like xmas eve, and waiting as rumors rolled in about 10 minutes after the deadline, doing shots when ESPN confirmed, and most importantly, having hope for the future of this franchise. Not as much because we have an amazing pitching prospect, but because we know the Lerners will spend the money, occasionally, to make that happen.

I'd like to see more FA moves in the future as they realize this is a long term investment and not some get rich quick scheme.

I'll save my criticism for now. Excellent job goes to not just Rizzo but the entire FO staff, they had a long day.

Posted by: grandstander | August 18, 2009 2:19 AM | Report abuse

This all went down too easy and too cheaply (relatively).

I wonder if that attempt last winter to sign Mark Teixiera was less about actually signing him and more about creating an amicable relationship with Scott Boras?

We didn't hear the normal Boras whining and crying over the past two months. It was almost as if Boras actually tried to be fair.

I don't know. It's late and I'm just sayin ....

Posted by: rushfari | August 18, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

I've seen this kid pitch 3 -4 times this year, it was almost shocking when they (college kids) hit the occasional foul ball off of him. The 100 plus MPH fastball gets the ink and it is filthy for sure, but you will literally see batters knees buckle when he throws his curve and off speed stuff. If he can stay healthy, this will be very exciting for Nats fans.

Posted by: peacoone | August 18, 2009 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Make Rizzo GM and Riggleman Manager. Now. Remove the interim tags.

Posted by: jeremybozz | August 18, 2009 4:59 AM | Report abuse

Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett...

Strasburg for a responsible amount...

Rizzo for GM!

Posted by: inthestreetindustry | August 18, 2009 5:11 AM | Report abuse

what troubles me is the following quote: "When a man the likes of Ted Lerner flies across country to meet with you, that makes a huge statement."
This suggests that Lerner is a king or a prince and is entitled to certain things that his money can't buy. Wrong. He's entitled to what his money does buy.

I understand that the Lerner group is so different, but when Mark Cuban "flies across country" (which is a significant effort for Ted Lerner), he does so, sometimes, to just say hello to a potential business partner, agent or player. That's what being a sports franchise owner entails.

Ughh... the Nats signed James Andrews' 2010 or '11 high profile patient and I guess that's good. I'm just not sure this makes up for the past choices that continue to rival D. Snyder's debacles.

Posted by: scheermadness | August 18, 2009 5:29 AM | Report abuse

I was pessimistic going to bed last night. Huzzahs to the entire front office. I think that this organization has turned the page. I will join the chorus of those saying hire Rizzo and Riggleman now.

Next year Flores returns and with a new second baseman and veteran pitcher we once again see a .500 season.

Posted by: driley | August 18, 2009 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Chances of this guy living up to the hype and his contract are slim? How many Cy Young winners have been the No#1 overall pick?

Chances are better he will end up like the rookie before him with the highest contract ever than a Cy Young award winner.

And come on the Nats are dealing with the Mike Epstein curse!

Posted by: omarthetentmaker | August 18, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

CHEERS from Manila!! Couldn't sleep last night thinking of whether the Nats can sign SS.....Lo and behold, Nats finally got to sign him for a reasonable Bonus!! This is a defining moment for the franchise as I look forward to be a witness to the rise of the franchise to championship form--and hopefully to go for their 1st championship since 1924...and worth the wait for me since I became an avid fan in 1948-49 in DC. GOGo Nats!!

Posted by: fbacolod29 | August 18, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

"Mike Epstein curse" may have been in the past...but this is a new ballgame...new hope..new optimism....and w/an abundance and depth of our promising young pitching prospects...as the foundation, am confident we're on the way to competitiveness and winning ways....Add some key FAs for mid infield and a/some vet Pitchers, we can zoom up...w/offensive stability in Zimm, Dunn, JoshW, Flores, prospects for next year will be exciting! Go Nats!

Posted by: fbacolod29 | August 18, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Take off the Interim labels for Rizzo and Rigglemann....make them permanent for next few years!!

Posted by: fbacolod29 | August 18, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

See you guys if Nats make it in the WS soon...worth the long trip back to ole' DC!!!

Posted by: fbacolod29 | August 18, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Was Seattle able to sign their top draft pick??

Posted by: fbacolod29 | August 18, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Rizzo = 'Permanent' GM

Posted by: Nats1924 | August 18, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Come on Ted, Mark and Stan....sometimes (as the old saying goes) you can't see the forest for the trees. Make Rizzo and Riggleman the GM and manager without the interim tag. What else do they have to do to prove there worth in DC? Look at the bucks you are going to make now with the Strasburg jersey sales and the increase in season ticket sales next season.

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 18, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

What gravitas does Rizzo think Lerner has? Nobody has ever heard of him. This is one small step, Lerner.

Posted by: mjwies11 | August 18, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to Rizzo for getting this done; however, let's also realize that for all the bluster and bluff, Boras was not going to allow SS to *not* sign when the final terms give him 50 percent more than any amateur before him. This was not the Middle East Peace Treaty, but nevertheless, a good day for the Nats. Here's hoping we aren't picking #1 again anytime soon.

Posted by: terrapin31590us | August 18, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I agree that we should remove the "interim" from both Mike Rizzo's and Jim Riggleman's position titles now. I think that both of them have proven themselves adequately in their current positions.

And as to Strasburg, I genuinely hope he proves to be the second coming of Walter Johnson. Unlike many others, I am not prepared to denigrate his accomplishments in the college ranks -- he excelled against his peers, and his peers will soon be major leaguers, against whom we can hope that he will continue to excel.

But I still have in my mind the gnawing memories of guys like Joe Coleman, who was a good but never a great pitcher, or Ben McDonald, who only showed isolated flashes of competence, or Mark Prior, who blew out his arm before he could have any kind of actual career.

There is always a HUGE risk in drafting a pitcher. Perhaps MLB should institute a dual-draft system, one for position players and a separate one exclusively for pitchers. The considerations are so very different that it might serve much more effectively to accomplish the whole point of the draft, a greater equality of opportunity for baseball franchises to succeed in the standings.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | August 18, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Rizzo for President! I've been saying it for weeks now. This guy has what it takes to make this team a winner. Remove the interim tag. Don't get me wrong I like Riggs but let him finish out the season before you make him full time manager. Awesome job by the FA! Where are all the "cheap Learner" heads now? Go Nats!

Posted by: jkraeg | August 18, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

what troubles me is the following quote: "When a man the likes of Ted Lerner flies across country to meet with you, that makes a huge statement."
This suggests that Lerner is a king or a prince and is entitled to certain things that his money can't buy. Wrong. He's entitled to what his money does buy.

Posted by: scheermadness | August 18, 2009 5:29 AM

For an 83 year old man, billionaire or no, it is a big deal to fly cross-country so get off you high horse. Rizzo is also still the INTERIM GM. You expect him to play down the presence of his boss at the biggest deal of his carrer? What world do you live in??

Posted by: SackMan | August 18, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Time for Wilbon to drink a huge cup of STFU.

Posted by: deMille_Ondefloss | August 18, 2009 1:44 AM

Good timing too, with his beloved North Side Fightin' Bartmans blowing another one last night!

And GIVE RIZZO THE JOB!

{sorry for screaming}

Posted by: Kev29 | August 18, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse


This is a big day for the Nats and baseball in DC. SS will be the one known, but look at all the raw young pitching talent the Nats have on the team, and in the minors. They have some good bats, power, speed and an improved defense. This is a team I would NOT like to face next year, and the years after if I were the Mets, Braves, etc. One of my sons and me have waited for this since 2005. This is Our Special Time. Our moment in the sun. May the Blessings of the Big Train come down on DC, and our pitching staff for a long long time.
GO NATS!!!

Posted by: nickgoldblatt | August 18, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I say again: a great day for the franchise; and for the long-suffering, loyal Nats fans!!!...mabuhay!!

Posted by: fbacolod29 | August 18, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

what troubles me is the following quote: "When a man the likes of Ted Lerner flies across country to meet with you, that makes a huge statement."
This suggests that Lerner is a king or a prince and is entitled to certain things that his money can't buy. Wrong. He's entitled to what his money does buy.

I understand that the Lerner group is so different, but when Mark Cuban "flies across country" (which is a significant effort for Ted Lerner), he does so, sometimes, to just say hello to a potential business partner, agent or player. That's what being a sports franchise owner entails.

Ughh... the Nats signed James Andrews' 2010 or '11 high profile patient and I guess that's good. I'm just not sure this makes up for the past choices that continue to rival D. Snyder's debacles.

Posted by: scheermadness

scheermadness, when an 83 year old man flies accross country to meet you instead of sending his son or President or GM, YEAH it means something.

Posted by: GoEagles | August 18, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Since it is a Major League contract what moves will the Nats make to add Strasburg to the 40 man roster

Posted by: TSAlston1 | August 18, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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