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Q&A With Mike Rizzo

So, here's the full let's-begin-the-offseason Q&A with GM Mike Rizzo. If you want the microwave version, here goes: 1) Rizzo seems to want a veteran baseball guy as his next manager. 2) He doesn't believe Bryce Harper is the surefire No. 1 pick in 2010, as Stephen Strasburg was this year. 3) He wants to add more major league and international scouts. 4) He still seems hopeful that Jesus Flores can be the team's No. 1 catcher next year.



Q: Once the offseason begins, what's your first order of business?

On Monday, what we're going to do, we're going to start the process of filling some of our holes in the front office. Start filling some positions. Which means calling for permission to speak to people, interviewing people for a handful of jobs -- assistant GM, farm director, those types of jobs. That's the first order of business.

Q: Will you guys pretty much just fill the openings you already have, or could there be a restructuring of the job titles, responsibilities and all that?

There will almost certainly be an adjustment of job titles and positions and that type of thing.

Q: Do you need to expand the manpower of the scouting department?

I've never turned down an opportunity to add people to the organization. We're very comfortable where we're at on the amateur side. We feel that we could add a few more professional major league scouts on that side of it. And internationally, we have to increase our manpower there.

Q: What's the latest with your decisions about finding a new home [for a scouting facility] in the Dominican?

What we've solidified is, we've narrowed the academy sites and contractors down to two companies and two sites. So we're just trying to see which deal works best. We're going to make a deal and start construction in the near future.

Q: You talked about not believing the managerial search is going to be a really long, drawn-out process. How quickly, because you're also dealing with some of these other things, do you get into that?

Well we're going to begin immediately after the season. We don't know who we're going to ask for permission to talk to. So it could be determined by who that person is and if they're in the playoffs and if we get permission while they're in the playoffs; sometimes that's a ticklish situation where they don't want to be taken away from the team if they're in the NLCS or ALCS. So you have to wait on that. So that's a little bit out of our control. We're going to begin talking to people right after the season, until we get things where we feel comfortable.

Q: Do you have a rough idea of how many people you're going to interview or look at?

No, I don't.

Q: In broad terms, what kind of traits are you looking for for the next manager?

I want him to be a well-rounded baseball guy. Obviously he has to be a strategic-type manager that's really good with the X's and O's. Knows how to handle a pitching staff. Has the respect of the players on the field and in the clubhouse. We want a communicator who's out amongst the players with an open-door policy. And a guy who has a passion for it and lives and breathes the game.

Q: Is past major league managing experience important?

Um, yeah, I'd say it's important. It's a key. But it's not the end-all and be-all. There's good baseball guys who have been in the game their whole lives who just haven't had the manager's title or the managing job at the big league level.

Q: When you first came in 2006, you talked a lot about the Pacific Rim. Are there any plans to sign anyone from there?

You know, we have our scouts and evaluators in the Pacific Rim. Depending on what our needs are, if there's a player that is a free agent that fits our needs, we're certainly open to do that. But we have increased our evaluation of players in the Pacific Rim. From '06 to now, we have increased our exposure over there.

Q: Switching subjects a bit, you guys are going to have a lot of arbitration-eligible players. How is that going to play out?

Well, I think they all come down to baseball [and not financial] decisions. The decisions with arbitration guys are: What can you bring in for the arbitration slot that can improve your team, or are you better off with the player you have right now? We have a lot of arbitration cases, but we're going to take them on an individual basis and kind of weigh which ones are important. I think we have 11 or 12.

Q: You also have a lot of big salaries that are coming off the books. Do you feel that this is almost a fresh start?

Yeah. I think it helps that we're not locked into bad long-term contracts. Certainly it helps. It gives you the opportunity to kind of look over the landscape and do what's best in the long-term, big view picture of what we're trying to do, not only in 2010 and beyond.

Q: Last year, you guys finished with the worst record and it was almost a given you'd draft Stephen Strasburg. Next year's draft, is it a given that Bryce Harper is your guy?

No. I'm just saying it's not a given. I haven't seen him yet, and he certainly hasn't separated himself like Strasburg did last year.

Q: Scott Olsen. Any report on how his rehab has started, and what is your thinking about his arbitration case? Because that is a guy you'll have to make a decision on.

Yeah. We get a report on him every day. He's on his throwing program down in Florida. He's progressing normally. We're going to have to watch him throughout the offseason and watch where he's at to make the decision to tender or non-tender him.

Q: So that's a case where you're gonna have to see some sort of physical improvement?

Certainly. Don't you think so?

Q: Well, there are some guys you'd say, 'Yeah, we know he's gonna be fine for 2010.' But with him there are more questions there. That's what I'm getting at.

Well sure. A left-handed pitcher with a left-handed shoulder injury who hasn't pitched in three months -- you certainly need to see where he's at health-wise to render the decision on that.

Q: Has this year been another reminder that a good organization doesn't just need five pitchers or six or even seven, but ten? And veterans. The depth is equally important to the star power.

Well, you hear me say all the time, 'You need inventory in your system.' And that's what we strive for -- to be deep in each and every position, and to have an inventory of good, solid, major league-caliber pitchers in the organization. I think we have nine starters this year? Ten starters this year? So, I mean, you're dipping into your depth all the time with injuries and non-performance and that type of thing. That's why it's good to have quality, major league-caliber pitchers that have options that give you some flexibility to do things.

Q: Would you feel comfortable at this point entering 2010 with Mike MacDougal as the closer?

I think he's done a great job. He's a guy that we scouted -- we did a good job scouting him and signing him when the White Sox let him go, and he's done a nice job for us.

Q: So following on the inventory-type thinking, is closer a spot where you would at least need a fall-back option?

Well, you can talk to the Mets about that. You can talk to the Braves about that. You better have options; you better have a back-up plan, if not a back-up player. Building bullpens, it's very fickle. Probably the most fickle part of building a major league club is the bullpen. Guys have a tendency to really take steps forward and backward on a year-to-year basis. You know, Brad Lidge is a prime example. [The Phillies] went to the whip with Lidge, won the World Series, and then you come to another year and obviously you're penciling in that this guy is gonna have such-and-such a year and it doesn't happen. So now what do you have to do? You have to make adjustments, and you have to adjust on the fly, and that's what they've done. They have an inventory at that position where they have a Myers or a Madson that can maybe not be a Lidge of 2008, but a viable option there. So yeah, the good teams have depth at each position and you better have a Plan B.

Q: The other position that could be intriguing for the offseason is catcher. How do you play that, not knowing if Flores can return from his labrum injury?

Well, you know, I'm going to rely on the medical staff when they tell me that Flo should be 100-percent by spring training. So I'm going to rely on him to be our everyday guy. When he's playing, he's an everyday-caliber catcher. And we're going to look at our options for a second and a third catcher to give us some competition in spring training and to ensure us that if Flo is not ready to play we'll have a viable Plan B.

Q: Is there a little more thinking that you need somebody who, if needed, could be more of an everyday guy? Like, this year you had two career back-ups who had to play more than they were used. Do you need someone who could play more on an everyday basis?

Yeah. I like the season that those two -- and I agree with your assessment on Wil [Nieves] and Josh [Bard]; they're back-up catchers. But Wil has had a solid year. A back-up catcher who's hitting .260 and plays defense like him, that's a good back-up. But you're supposed to put players in positions to succeed, and it's tough for guys to do things that they haven't done in the past. We're looking to upgrade all of our positions, and catcher would be one of them. Like I said, we're counting on Flo being our guy every day, and we're going to see what options are out there in the market to improve ourselves. But like I said, Wil and Josh have done an exceptional job for us in a pinch, so we do have that.

Q: Looking at where this organization was in February, how do you compare it to now?

I definitely see progress. I see a bullpen that, to me, is clearly more stable than it was when we were in spring training and the beginning of the year all the way up to the first half of the year. I see starting pitchers that, what they have learned is that they belong in the big leagues. I'm going to take Garrett Mock's last start, last couple starts, as a positive. Ross Detwiler's last couple starts as a positive. We'll go into the spring with that and make our plans accordingly. I see a team that's played much cleaner, much better, much more fundamentally sound baseball the last half of the season, and pitchers that have performed better. And a roster that's much more flexible. So yeah, I've seen a lot of progress.

Q: Even though most people would say, 'Yeah, this organization is probably better off than it was a year ago,' at what point do you think it is important that the record reflects the progress.

It's all about the record. It's all about the wins. We like to see progress, and building this thing is gonna take time, but ultimately we're here to win games. On this level -- the only level I care about whether we win or lose is the major league level. Everything else down there is all development. I'm not satisfied with our won-loss record. I don't think anybody in this organization is. We're going to make plans to improve that record next year. And like I've said in the past, all the decisions I make are for 2010 and beyond. We can't be short-sighted and just look at a snapshot of 2010.

Q: Are you satisfied with Dukes in right field for next year, or will you explore other options?

Well, again, we're going to always look at other options, but yeah, I think he's found a home in right field, and defensively he's a solid defensive right fielder. He's a guy who drives in runs. He's an RBI guy. Even with his low batting average he has a high on-base percentage. And he drives in important runs. Yeah, I'd like to see the power return that he had earlier this year and last year, but again, he's a young player. The league has adjusted to him and he's got to make an adjustment to the league. But I think he's come a long way -- on the field, off the field, being a good teammate. I think he's found a home in right field, where before we were kind of bouncing him around... I think once he's locked in in right field he'll get more locked in at the plate, and with that said, I think he's had a nice year for himself. I don't think he's satisfied with the year he's had, but we see him being more productive in the future. But I've seen a lot of strides in Elijah Dukes.

By Chico Harlan  |  October 5, 2009; 8:08 AM ET
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Next: ESPN Will Show Footage of Strasburg Debut


Those were balanced and thoughtful responses from Rizzo. Kind of you gives you hope. Of course, when you don't have much to trade, its hard to make dramatic progress. In past years I've argued for less free agent spending, but I think the time has come. Not just one impact player. This year they should be shooting for a minimum of 3 free agent signings. That combined with a few sensible trades could put the team at .500 or above (assuming some of the new players can pitch.)

Posted by: natbiscuits | October 5, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I feel more confident having a real BASEBALL man rather than a carnival barker plotting the future course for this team. Rizzo sees the big picture where the building of this team is concerned rather than latching on to every shiny, toolsy guy he can horde. Veteran starting pitcher other than Livo, veteran middle infielder and finding six guys somewhere in the system who can fill out the bullpen rather than paying obscene money to journeymen is what I most want to see this team do before Opening Day 2010.

Posted by: leetee1955 | October 5, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I see these as the responses of a man interested in making a team and orginization better, not just someone selling a bill of goods to the FO & fanbase. That alone, shows me that there was an improvement over prior years.

Square away the FO & field leadership; Wrap up the D.R. situation; Sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of who gets tendered / offered arbitration for 2010; evaluate and persue possible trades / Free agents. Mike Rizzo still has a lot to accomplish over the next five months - I hope our good Mr. Harlan (and others) are up to keeping track of it all.

Posted by: BinM | October 5, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Great stuff, Chico, thanks for posting.

Posted by: Section220 | October 5, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Very interesting comments about Dukes in response to the last question. Makes me think that Rizzo is comfortable with Willingham-Morgan-Dukes in the outfield next year. For what it's worth, here's my guess on the offseason priorities:

1. Sign Dunn to a two-year extension for a similar price; he's shown that he's more passable at first than in left, that he's good in the clubhouse, and that he has more value to the Nats than any other team (if they couldn't get what they wanted at the trade deadline this year, I don't think they will next year--teams just won't part with top prospects for someone like Dunn, even though he's locked in to a very reasonable contract). Dunn at $10-12 million can be an important part of a contending club in DC.

2. Sign Livan Hernandez. Shouldn't be too hard given his expressed desire to stay.

3. Sign another free agent starter. I suspect the team will make a play for one of the top arms available, maybe even Lackey. If that doesn't work, they'll try for someone who's type-B or lower (e.g., Smoltz, Penny, Washburn).

4. Sign one or two relievers at reasonable cost to ensure bullpen stability. More Beimel-type signings. There should be several options.

5. Fix the middle infield situation. Desmond's play and Guzman's attitude in the past month have made this more complicated. But I think Rizzo has already stated his intention to sign the best shortstop or second baseman he can find. If Guzman is healthy and willing, he plays the other position and Desmond starts the year as the backup or the AAA starter. If Guzman balks, I think they'll get rid of him.

Posted by: jcj5y | October 5, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Oh, man,I woke up this morning all bummed -- no more baseball,no more west coast games to fall asleep to, no more Ozzie, no more Nats. But after this last absurd run of wins I'm foolishly hopeful. I just don't understand why they need the whole winter off.

Posted by: markfromark | October 5, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

rizzo is probably the only management member who realizes that the fans won't be fooled again. he knows the time for trolling bargain basements for has-beens and never-will-bes is over and job one is now purring an honest-to-god representative major league team on the field. so adieu, meat loaf. au revoir austin powerless. get rid of the bungling bowden boys and the cheap reclamation project who have been littering the roster since 2005 and bring in some guys who can actually play the game.

Posted by: surly_w | October 5, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

All the Lerners need to do is glance over to Landover and see the ill feeings that the Snyder has caused by his poor stewardship of the team. They need to stop concentrating on the immediate bottom line and look long-term at creating a contending team in DC that will pay off in a much more lucrative manner. I think they have made some strides in that this year.

Posted by: RJD1 | October 5, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Well said Surly. I agree. Time to spend some dollars on real ML'ers not retreads.

Posted by: Section505203 | October 5, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Surly W is a little glum but s/he is funny.

GREAT interview w/ Rizzo. Could not be happier with him in that spot. It was a long 5 years waiting for a real GM. But, not near as long as we've been waiting for Snyder to hire one.

I'm thrilled by Dukes' progress and could understand if they want to give him another year but I'm not satisfied with his numbers as a starter in RF. He needs to step up again next year to be a real RF on a good team. But, I think he can do it and love everything I hear about his attitude and work ethic.

I would love to get Abreu or Holliday for RF but sure that won't happen. 1-2 SP, 2 RP, a real middle infielder and some more depth will make this a .500 team real quick.

Excited about next year already. As long as we make the right moves and progress, I'll be very happy.

Posted by: Avar | October 5, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Great stuff to start the first day of the offseason, Chico, but you forgot to ask Rizzo one question: What happened to the Segway?

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | October 5, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Great stuff to start the first day of the offseason, Chico, but you forgot to ask Rizzo one question: What happened to the Segway?

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | October 5, 2009 10:57 AM |


Bobby had to get rid of it after the dui

Posted by: TimDz | October 5, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

For those who don't know, Strasburg's FIL start will be covered on ESPN/Sportscenter at 1:00 today.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | October 5, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

There's a lot to like in these comments from Rizzo, but I'm concerned that he sounds a little too satisfied in some areas. McDougal had a reasonably good year but he walks way too many batters to be a reliable, long term closer. And yeah, we all hope Flores is going to be ready for spring training, but if he isn't we'll just muddle through with Bard and Nieves? Yikes. I also think that making judgments about pitchers based on their last few September starts is dangerous. What happened to that clear-eyed baseball man that Rizzo is supposed to be? Improving next year from 59 wins to 65 wins is not going to cut it.

Posted by: Section222 | October 5, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse


I agree with you, he is a little too comfortable in some areas, but I would not put too much weight on his comments as I do not think, and in fact would be disappointed, he is the type to throw guys under the bus. We know there are shortcomings, I am sure Rizzo sees that too, but no sense in saying "Nieves stinks" (Who? Wil Nieves!), it just doesn't serve any purpose. His actions this offseason will be more revealing as to his true feelings than some words with a reporter.

Posted by: jfromPG | October 5, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

jfromPD makes a good point. Too often, we try to parse a baseball interview as if it were smuggled intelligence from the Forbidden City. He did not say he MacDougal was the closer for 2010; he said "he's done a nice job for us," which is true, under the circumstances. An endorsement, but not so ringing as all that.

Besides, if the GM actually gave up his innermost thoughts in an interview, what fun would it be running into him in a bar?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 5, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Or, from another perspective: Bowden seemed to have no filter between his brain and his mouth, at all, sometimes. How's that working for him?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 5, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

So maybe next year, if they win some, they can get more inventory in the seats.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 5, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Rather than making (and remaking) my list of moves to make, I will amuse myself by ranking our erstwhile starters in terms of potential for 2010 (which by unfortunate necessity leaves out Zimmermann):

Lannan - Of course. Best Pitcher/Still Getting Better. A #2 or a good #3.
Mock - #3 potential, needs to show consistency.
Martin - Probably never better than a #4, but potential to be a good #4/5
Detwiler - Still has potential to grow into a #2, but still an 4/5 at present.
Stammen - With health an ok 3, but a better 4/5
Martis - Spot starter, long reliever only.
Balester -- Decent AAA fodder, but not even a 5 for regular rotation.
Hernandez - A good #3 for innings alone. Useful beyond ERA indicators.
Strassburg - A #1 some day. But unlikely to break camp on roster in 2010
Olson - A good #2 when healthy. When will he be healthy?

If Lannan, Olson, and Hernandez can be the middle three pitchers between a frontline starter and best of the rest (probably Mock), the Nats would probably have a decent starting staff. But if Olson and Hernandez cannot be healthy middle of the rotation support, then the Nats need to find three, not one starting pitcher. Stammen, Detwiler, and Martin are all plausible candidates for a starting role, but you would not want to rely on all three hitting the lottery.

Posted by: natbiscuits | October 5, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Remember before the season started and before Zimm got signed, the scoffers who claimed he wasn't in the same league as Nick Markakis?

Now that the season's over, here are their stats head-to-head, Zim/Markakis:

G: 157/161
R: 110/94
H: 178/188
2B: 37/45
3B: 3/2
HR: 33/18
RBI: 106/101
AVG: .292/.293
BB: 72/56
OBP: .364/347
OPS: .888/.801

And you can make a strong case for Zimmerman winning the Gold Glove at an important defensive position. Markakis's fielding percentage in right field is right at the league average.

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 5, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that Markakis guy looks pretty good. Where does he play?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 5, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

He's not in the same league as Zimmerman... :-)

Posted by: gilbertbp | October 5, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

nice, gil. should've known I couldn't sucker you into mentioning The Team Which Must Not Be Named...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 5, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

BTW, there's A New Post That Has A Name

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 5, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

rizzo is probably the only management member who realizes that the fans won't be fooled again. he knows the time for trolling bargain basements for has-beens and never-will-bes is over and job one is now purring an honest-to-god representative major league team on the field. so adieu, meat loaf. au revoir austin powerless. get rid of the bungling bowden boys and the cheap reclamation project who have been littering the roster since 2005 and bring in some guys who can actually play the game.

Posted by: surly_w | October 5, 2009 10:21 AM

Surly - Bowden has always been High Risk trying to strike gold and he basically struck out with most of his moves and coming "close" doesn't work in baseball. His failures were so bad that unless some of his draft picks along with Ryan Zimmerman and Jordan Zimmerman pick up Post-season hardware, his legacy in Washington will be known as a complete failure so time will tell the full story. As far as his Free Agent signings and trades and Smileygate, the Kearns, FLops, and DYoung and LoDuca's and WMPs etc were fairly awful and cost this team a ton of money and lost so many games while they were showcased. CGuzman, Willingham and Dukes have shown decent dividends and the Dunn signing was good so Bowden had his moments.

Rizzo makes the trade for Nyjer Morgan and looks like a genius so I look forward to some more trades and Free Agent deals that show immediate impact as well as seeing how his 1st Draft class fares.

This team needs more "sure things" like wtih Adam Dunn. The guy surpassed my expectations and made everyone around him in the order better. I just think ADunn needed a few more days off as it was a shame slumping so bad in September which playing 1st next year with Mike Morse on the bench is the right move.

I agree also with jcj5y on many points however I would only sign Dunn to an additional year for 2011 with a team option for 2012 and see what is working with Chris Marrero in the Minors as Marrero seems like the only other viable option in the system at 1st.

Overall and has been said, this team really is a lot closer than you think to getting into 70+ wins on its way to a future winning season. The Strasburg pick should start paying big dividends in 2011 as well as a healthy Jordan Zimmermann who really has great stuff. Dunn, like I said I think would help to have him tied up under team control through 2012.

As far as the manager, maybe I am in the minority but Jim Riggleman is a very good baseball man and deserves a shot unless there is a great opportunity out there available. Just not sure reading Rizzo's comments where he stands on Riggles.

I think McCatty did a really good job with the talent he had.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | October 5, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

We've been over this before, but since it keeps coming up:
Why do you think Dunn would want to sign an extension? If he has another good year next year here, he can only benefit from being a free agent, even if DC does eventually re-sign him. He doesn't have a history of getting hurt, so there's not much reason for him to hedge that risk in exchange for a couple of years at approximately what he makes now.
Why would he do that?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | October 5, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Comforting words from our GM. I just like this guy more and more.

Can't wait to be surprised by an off-season move. I would not be unhappy if the 2010 starting position players are Dunn, Guzman, Desmond, Zimmerman, Willingham, Morgan, Dukes and Flores; but I would also be surprised if Rizzo doesn't make a move with at least one of 'em.

Posted by: LetTeddyWin_com | October 5, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse


Nice overview on "the state of the rotation, end 2009". I'd personally grade Martis a bit higher, and Olsen a bit lower, but that's not important.

What you point out is there is now some depth at the ML - AAA level. An off-season addition of a #1 & a re-sign on Livo would go a long way to solidifying the rotations in both WSH & SYR.

Posted by: BinM | October 5, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo seems to have a marked interest in left handed pitching? You see some of the guys he picked up in trades like Burnett, Garate, Thompson, the fact that he brought up Detwiler for another look? The fact that Villone continues to be a member of the bullpen? Will he go to arbitration with Olsen and bring him back in the spring?

Therefore, myy strong suspicion would be that Rizzo will go for 1 - 2 veteran left-handed starters. Wolf seems the likely candidate? I suspect he would replace Livo with a left-hander if the right one became available? If Detwiler made enough of an impression this Fall then perhaps he will just sign one?

Posted by: periculum | October 5, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking Dukes or Willingham might be bundled in a trade - plus Maxwell showed very well at the major league level I thought - makes his low BA at AAA kind of curious. Desmond certainly proved his value. Orr was also very serviceable. And Mike Morse seems to have found a home as well although it would probably be as an all-purpose utility guy spotting at 1B, 3B, and the corner OFs. I could see them finding enough value in Morse and Maxwell to move Dukes or Willingham for some pitching.

Posted by: AsstGM | October 5, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Over-under for Fredi Gonzalez as the next Nats manager...?

Posted by: Juan-John | October 5, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse


I want to echo the thanks for a really great season. I thoroughly enjoy your writing and your perspective. As others have said, NJ has become a part of my daily, morning routine ... even (especially) when I got to the park to see the game myself the night before.

I have really enjoyed reading most of the comments, too. Had I been able to post from a blackberry, I would have said that about 81 times.

Posted by: ihatewalks | October 5, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Lannan - Of course. Best Pitcher/Still Getting Better. A #2 or a good #3.
Mock - #3 potential, needs to show consistency.
Martin - Probably never better than a #4, but potential to be a good #4/5
Detwiler - Still has potential to grow into a #2, but still an 4/5 at present.
Stammen - With health an ok 3, but a better 4/5
Martis - Spot starter, long reliever only.
Balester -- Decent AAA fodder, but not even a 5 for regular rotation.
Hernandez - A good #3 for innings alone. Useful beyond ERA indicators.
Strassburg - A #1 some day. But unlikely to break camp on roster in 2010
Olson - A good #2 when healthy. When will he be healthy?


You forgot Zimmermann... In my eyes... the future is Strasburg #1, Zimmermann #2... then fill in the blanks for the rest of the rotation.

I sure hope Bryce Harper has a great year for the small college he is going to play for... if you check out his Wiki... He is 16 years old, 6 foot 3, 205lbs, & can do this:

Harper is a catcher who can play shortstop and third base as well as pitch. He hit a 570-foot home run over "the right field fence, two trees, another fence, a sidewalk, five lanes of traffic on elevated South Hollywood Boulevard and yet another sidewalk, until it finally landed in the brown, undeveloped desert."(from Sports Illustrated, June 8, 2009.) He hit a 502-foot home run during the 2009 International Power Showcase, a home run derby for top prospects held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. The shot traveled over the big screen.[1]

That my friend's is power that can't be taught... his last year of high school as a sophomore, he hit .756... lol

A-Rod was this caliber of prospect & was drafted at 17 years old... I think you draft him no matter what.

This is how the Caps became great (successive top picks)... Strasburg & Harper could have the same impact for years to come.

Posted by: tony325 | October 5, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo said very little that was intersting, which is not a bad thing. I do not want the guy showing his hand as to what he wants to do. Fill postions, look for a baseball guy to manager -- duhhh -- evaluate everyone and every arb situation separatelly, harper is not Strasburg, etc. Yeah yeah. Gm stuff, we get it.

What I do not want to hear from Rizzo is anything having to do with needing time to build, time to get the pieces, time to evaluate what they have, time to build the organization -- eff that jazz! -- the time is now for the Nats. Now is the time to get me something to come to park to see for my money (and 4 club level, full season tix and parking does not come cheap, I am afraid) and do it NOW.

My ticket price per Nats home win since 2005 is something like $140.

Chico, a nice question would have been, though maybe better suited forr Kasten: Following the Mets' lead, does management plan to reduce ticket prices?

Posted by: dfh21 | October 5, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

One AL scout suggests Zimmerman is a more valuable player than Pujols:

Posted by: imlazar | October 5, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

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