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Mike Rizzo taking calls, considering options before trade deadline

With the trade deadline looming, the Nationals are considering a multitude of options and offers on several players, biding their time in order to gather as many choices as they can before weighing them all. Calls have been pouring into the Nationals' offices, far more than last year, and General Manager Mike Rizzo will wait before making any deals.

"The phones are ringing but there are no decisions," a Nationals source said. "Mike is working his [rear end] off. Mike's a prudent guy. I don't think he's even close to a decision."

Speaking Wednesday on ESPN 980, Rizzo reiterated his stance that acquiring Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham or Matt Capps will be "very painful" for the team hoping to land one of the Nats' most valuable trade pieces. He also said the Nationals have received calls from teams about veterans Wille Harris, Adam Kennedy and Cristian Guzman, players who would likely help a contender off the bench. He's also received inquiries about relievers other than Capps.

Asked if Dunn would be a National on Aug. 1, Rizzo replied, "You'd probably have to ask the teams that are trying to acquire him more than me." Rizzo placed Willingham and Capps in the same category. About Capps, he said, "We would have to get a return that would help our franchise more than a closer that's an all-star."

Capps has often said how much he enjoys playing in Washington. With Drew Storen waiting to assume the closer's role in the future and with Capps due a big raise in arbitration this winter, the Nationals have incentive to move Capps if they can find a desirable return.

"Whatever's going to happen is out of my hands," Capps said yesterday afternoon. "I haven't heard anything that hasn't been told to me or that I haven't been asked by another player. I don't openly go looking to see what's being said.

"I've very much enjoyed my time here and would be very happy to be here for a longer period of time. On the realistic side, I know how the game works, the business side of it. If they can make the ballclub better not only this year but in years to come by getting a couple guys for me, I completely understand that and I'm fine with that."

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 28, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Adam Dunn , Adam Kennedy , Cristian Guzman , Josh Willingham , Matt Capps , trade deadline  
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Rizzo's statement about Dunn being a Nat on August 1st is infuriating. Since last January he's been stating that he wants to re-sign him, now he's essentially stating he prefers to trade him so long as the deal is to his liking. Great, I can't wait to see this lineup with Adam Kennedy batting fourth and playing first base.

Posted by: raymitten | July 28, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Is there really a reason to not accept any deal for Guzman where the receiving team takes on his entire salary? (Guzman's 10/5 rights notwithstanding)

Posted by: Brian_ | July 28, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

If he can pry Hudson and Flowers from Kenny Williams, I say get 'er Dunn!

Posted by: Section314 | July 28, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-(sorry for the re-post, but it still fits)I'm with you, Ed...and Bin, dfh, baltova, Raymitts,,,and several others. Once again, repeat after me:$60 mil over 4 years is a BARGAIN (KC gave Gil "Meh" Meche 55 over 5, OK? And there are lots of examples).
It's the cost of bizz in MLB. And this team has the resources to pay it AND have it turn out to be a bad deal. And extend Hammer. And sign some choice FA's, too. Was it Kev who yesterday came up with the "Lerner Stockholm" syndrome? C'mon, Gangsters. DON'T let the Slows convince you that we're operating in a "Little Sisters of the Poor" environment. I'm not saying don't trade him IF you get "blown away". I'm not saying spend recklessly.But stop trying to get high end tenants in your mall by bringing in Dollar Stores...or leaving most spaces shuttered while you tell us to come spend because SOON it'll be a fabulous experience...and oh yea, one of the prime tenants is leaving because you weren't willing to accept the market price. Jeez....we are in our SIXTH year...and while I do think we're a lot closer to contending than some of you fellow Gangsters....Hey Slows:nothing shows caring like sharing! (Can we call Adam Dunn Barney?)
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 28, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats trade Dunn or Willingham, I'd have less enthusism about going to games. It'd be hard to replace them.
If a team is interested in Guzman, then trade him for a prospect.
And Capps could fetch some value, epsecially since the Nats have an up and coming reliever already onboard.

Posted by: Hattrik | July 28, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

IF Rizzo actually got a call on Guzman, Kennedy or Harris and they were offering anybody who actually gets paid to play baseball professionally, he should have said yes. Heck, I'd even be ok with trading Harris for a faster guy who can wear the Teddy suit.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | July 28, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Willingham is out today for Willie "I'm right where I need to be sub-Mendoza" Harris. Instead of Morse.

My guess? Rays scout on the premises? Willingham for BJ Upton or Desmond Jennings straight up ... my guess? Upton.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

How does Upton help? Instant, dramatic improvement to the defense. Hopes that the Nats hitting coach can help him with his recent problems at the plate.

What does the outfield look like? Unfortunately, although he should, Michael Morse won't be your starting left fielder. Instead you'll see Upton in center or right field. Possibly center to take some pressure of off Morgan who likely moves to right? Instead of one of Riggleman's fav 3 {Guzman, Harris, Maxwell} batting second it should be Upton. Your starting left-fielder, what makes Riggleman a baseball-wide joke, Willie Harris.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Dunn's hands-off approach to negotiating is going to wind up biting the Nats (and Dunn, assuming that he really wants to stay here).

Say Dunn's agent figures the most he can get from the Nats is $50M, and that he thinks he might get $80M or more in an off-season bidding war.

If the agent's getting a 4% commission, there's $1.2 million dollars or more in it for him if those negotiations with the Nats "just didn't work out, somehow".

Posted by: joebleux | July 28, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Hey, Peri...considering how much The Rizz likes to promote "family values" in the clubhouse, you think he'd take a chance on B.J.? I'd prefer Carl, but hey-Upton would sure be a great gamble!(Could you see him and Ryan getting in a shoving match in the dugout?Har!)
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 28, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I guess with Morgan's weak arm they could in fact move him to left field ... and continue the right field shenanigans.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

BJ Upton. Great. Another five tool guy that has unfulfilled potential and takes plays off. Felipe Lopez, meet Lastings Milledge.

Posted by: raymitten | July 28, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

considering how much The Rizz likes to promote "family values" in the clubhouse,

Remember, Mike Rizzo knows the Upton family quite well. He drafted Justin Upton for the Diamondbacks. I don't think Mike Rizzo will have any "Dukes-like" issues with Upton. He will know that Rizzo really wanted him for his team.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"BJ Upton. Great. Another five tool guy that has unfulfilled potential and takes plays off. Felipe Lopez, meet Lastings Milledge."


Pirates fans are having huge guffaws about Morgan's struggles here. Let's consider the possibility that Rizzo's success with Justin Upton might just translate to brother BJ once he gets him here.

Like it not he would be a major upgrade to the outfield ... he doesn't hit way sub-Mendoza like Harris and Maxwell ( a failed 5 tool guy the Nats still keep), and his fielding is superior to Morgan and Bernadina (not hitting at all well against left-handed pitching ... and slumping). Yes, he is an upgrade like it or not.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Thanks, Peri-good point. And a bold move-talk about a defensive upgrade! (assuming the "loafing" is dunn with)...although I am a fan of Hammer. Think they'd take Nyjer instead?
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 28, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Willingham is the most "marketable" because of team control, he will be there next year ... and reasonably priced for a team like the Rays looking to shed salary after this year.

BJ Upton is at .227/.315/.705 with 23 2b, 3 3b, and 8 HR is still better than Harris, Guzman, and Maxwell (Riggleman's fav 3!) in the outfield. Honestly, better than Bernadina. The only 2 outfielders hitting are Willingham and Eternally Dog-housed Mighty Morse. He may just need a change of scenery ... who better than good family friend Mike Rizzo?

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@peric: "Willingham is out today for Willie "I'm right where I need to be sub-Mendoza" Harris. Instead of Morse.

My guess? Rays scout on the premises?..."

Not sure I understand what you're saying here. Are you suggesting we're showcasing Harris for the Rays' scouts? I thought the best way to showcase a sub-Mendozan was to keep him on the bench.

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 28, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Willingham's not playing probably because he is 1-20 versus Hudson in his career. Well, that or else it's because he's been traded.

And perhaps Willie is starting because Riggs likes to have a lefty bat versus a righty pitcher? In his last 5 games started, Willie is 6-18 (.333 AVG) with 3 BB's (.429 OBP). And maybe he's keeping Willingham and Morse on the bench so that he's got more fire power with them as pinch-hitters.

Not saying I agree with these moves, but I can understand why Riggs is doing this. Oh, and there's no way the Nats are getting BJ Upton.

Posted by: erocks33 | July 28, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

How did we make the jump from Willingham sitting out against a guy who he doesn't hit to B.J. Upton coming here?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 28, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Again why the hate for Nyjer? Singled, stole second, stole third, drew a throwing error and scored. I prefer that we extend Dunn and Willingham. But, as I am not the GM, what do I know? And what, by the way, do the 9 games back of the NATS, Pirates fans have to laugh about anyway? NFA has a possible trade combo for Dunn with the White Sox that might make sense.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | July 28, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-no Hate for Nyjer here-I'm a fan. My trade suggestion was in jest...mostly because its' apples for apples...and his current play notwithstanding, I don't think the Rays value him as highly as I do. Hope he proves me at least not TOO far off in my hopes!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 28, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

BJ Upton is at .227/.315/.705 with 23 2b, 3 3b, and 8 HR.

Compare this with Dunn's statistics. How is getting rid of Dunn for this -- not to mention Upton's problems in Tampa -- making this team better?

Rizzo's 'success with Justin Upton'? Can someone please explain to me what that success actually is? Justin Upton is under performing this year as well.

Go back to the winter of '07/08 and insert the name "Lastings Milledge" into the Upton comments here. Its the same thing. No matter what Nyjer's shortcomings might be, he gives 100 percent all the time. I wouldn't trade him back for Milledge if someone put a gun to my head.

Posted by: raymitten | July 28, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I like Willingham a lot as well, but his streak-hitting gets very frustrating.

He'll go 20-50 for a couple of weeks and then 8-50 to finish out the month.

Over the long-term, that's a .280 average, but he does nothing to help his team win for weeks at a stretch.

Posted by: rushfari | July 28, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse


Not reading carefully perhaps? The Rays are not interested in Dunn, apparently they are after Willingham.

And you really must never watch any games dude? Lastings MIllege seems completely lost on every fiy ball chance he has. He is terrible even in left field. That was never and is not now BJ Upton. Your assertion is therefore completely ludicrous and non-sequitor?

They aren't going to trade Dunn unless Rizzo gets the moon and all the planets for him.

Another utterly ludicrous assertion? Justin Upton "underperforming"? Looking at the Diamondbacks record this year? You mustn't read box scores much?

Justin Upton : .280/.368/.850? With 16 HR, 21 2b, 3 3b?

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Tampa Bay is trying to unload Upton because he's got a bad attitude and is a clubhouse cancer. We've had our share of bad clubhous influences and it took almost a year before Rizzo finished cleaning house. No way would he take on a talented headcase for an established respected vet like Willingham.

As for Dunn, it really doesn't seem to matter to Rizzo that he wants to play here. In Rizzo's mind, he can parlay a slugger into multiple pieces that will fit in the Nats puzzle (i.e. 2nd base, a starting pitcher, a catcher). Rizzo knows that Pudge is no longer an everyday player and has worn down by playing in too many games. None of the 2nd baseman on the roster will be under contract next year. Those are two big holes to fill for 2011 and beyond so I see him trading Dunn if Chicago offers Beckham and a good catching prospect.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 28, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"How did we make the jump from Willingham sitting out against a guy who he doesn't hit to B.J. Upton coming here?"


Maybe they are trading Morse ... he is sitting as well? Harris? Given Morse's hitting stats? I can't believe erocks33 claims to understand Riggs moves? Pulling/double switching a guy who just hit 2 home runs who also started that game?

I just wish there was a way to trade Riggleman or convince him to retire ...

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer Morgan
96 Games
.259 AVG /.319 OBP / .311 BAbip
27 SB / 13 CS
UZR 150= -1.2

Lastings Milledge
85 Games
.274 AVG / .340 OBP / .325 BAbip
5 SB / 3 CS
UZR 150= 2.4

Probably a wash? Tip of the cap to Milledge for getting his act together a bit this season. He's just a better hitter than Morgan and should always be. Rizzo wanted a better clubhouse guy and he has that with Morgan. Almost all of Nyjer's numbers are on the rise this month after a terrible first half.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 28, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse


Here is how I drew that conclusion?

1. Ben Goessling reported Rays scouts in attendance.
2. Ben Goessling reported that the Nats had interest in BJ Upton.
He was also the first to report their interest in Edwin Jackson.
3. Josh Willingham is sitting out for sub-Mendoza hitting Willie Harris.
(Harris again and again ... its getting nauseating Riggleman!)

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I would trade Willie Harris for a half eaten ham sandwich at this point.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 28, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

peri -- re-read what I wrote. I said I can understand the moves for tonight's lineup. Nothing more, nothing less.

There is no way anyone in their right mind can understand pulling someone that cranked 2 HR's in the first 6 innings

Posted by: erocks33 | July 28, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

periculum, so when you post something like that "conclusion," you're actually just quoting a reporter on another site, without giving him credit for it?

BTW, I took a quick glance at Goessling's page and here's what he actually said about Willingham sitting out: "It is July 28, so there's plenty of temptation to read into that, but Willingham is 1-for-20 lifetime against Braves starter Tim Hudson."

Also, when I looked at his post about the Rays scout being in attendance, he actually said they were interested in Adam Dunn. He also said "We're likely to see scouts from a number of teams pop in and out of here this week." And he said, after talking to another scout, "He continues to believe Dunn will stay in Washington."

I think your conclusion needs a little work.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 28, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and peri, according to the MASN site, the last time Goessling mentioned the Nats were interested in Upton was June 3rd. Do you have anything current to back up that claim?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 28, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse


I listed some references but they should include Jayson Starke and Buster Olney.

As the Natsblog stated: Willingham is the easiest to move for a number of reasons. He would not be a rental, his salary is easy to manage for a team like the Rays who would like to cut back.

Why are the Rays and Nationals the match up to watch? The Rays have a prospect rich farm system. Some of whom the Nationals must surely covet.

BJ Upton is a player with whom Mike Rizzo, the scout, is intimately familiar.

Finally. losing a power left-handed bat like Dunn without any left handed replacement makes very little sense ... even given the frustrating defensive lapses. I just don't see it.

The same with Capps. He is a right handed reliever. Not even a shutdown closer. His value is high, trade seems like a good idea? Now a similar left-hander? I doubt that Rizzo would go for that. So, in a sense Burnett ***perhaps*** looks more valuable than Capps to Nats management?

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse


We'll see? The players Mike Rizzo seems to have been most focused on to resolve issues with the Nats defense without adversely affecting the offense too much have been: Beckham, Upton, and Jackson. Almost consistently since early June.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

So, in the end, peri, you're guessing like the rest of us. Fair enough, although Willingham for Upton makes no sense to me, nor does trading Dunn, unless you know you're going to lose him and/or what you're getting in return makes the team better next year.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 28, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"And you really must never watch any games dude?" - periculum

Yeah, don't watch any games. I have full Nats season tickets and go to every game. I watch every road game on TV (not counting the six road games I've attended), and went to about 20 spring training games this year. So yeah, you're right, I don't really watch any games. And I still disagree with you and don't want BJ Upton loafing in our outfield.

By the way, its Milledge, not Millege. And Dunn has been in Tampa trade rumors for a couple of weeks now too.

Nice try on the personal attack. Maybe you can just accept that I don't have your opinion and move on.

Posted by: raymitten | July 28, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Kev29 -- don't forget Lastings being 5 years younger than our guy Morgan.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 28, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Harris, Kennedy and Guzman for a bag of balls, 25 pounds of sunflower seeds and a few round-trip tixs to Disney World would be sufficient. Get them outta-here!

If the ChiSox are willing to deal Hudson and Flowers for Dunn, thats a no brainer

If the Tigers are willing to take Willingham, Atilano or Lannen for Porcello, well you have to give it some thought.

If anyone wants Capps they have to send back a bonifide starter or bullpen setup man.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 28, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Kev29 -- don't forget Lastings being 5 years younger than our guy Morgan.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 28, 2010 4:19 PM

Yep - fair point.

Posted by: Kev29 | July 28, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse


"Nice try on the personal attack. Maybe you can just accept that I don't have your opinion and move on."

Right back at ya dude. By the way, this team would be so much better if they had Justin Upton in right field. I doubt that anyone would be saying thing one about him "underperforming" or calling right field a hole to be filled ... except possibly for you? Strange.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse


"nor does trading Dunn, unless you know you're going to lose him and/or what you're getting in return makes the team better next year."

I really can't see them trading Dunn unless it equates to a significant upgrade over multiple positions ... it makes no sense to me? I see them eventually resigning the guy ... and I wouldn't hold my breath for Marerro. The guy may be far worse than Dunn at first base fielding wise and he is a right handed bat. I think he would be trade bait in a multi-player deal at this point. I believe they will keep Dunn and wait and see with Justin Bloxom who is a switch hitter.

Again, Willingham seems like the easiest to move to get value in return. But I suspect it will be multi-player ... more teams are now interested in Jackson ... I'm not sure the Nationals have what it takes to pry him from the D-backs.

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo has to trade Willie Harris so Riggleman can't put him in at any opportunity he can dream up.

Posted by: bobilly1 | July 28, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Well, arguments aside, it's nice too see some of my favorite Gangsters (read:knowledgeable, involved, smart-not necessarily agreed with) here in the mix. No offense to any of the handles I didn't recognize, but Sheesh!Last night there were folks I'd never heard from posting-and seemed to have had no idea of the topics or positions often tossed about...speaking of which: Tippy, Ray-ain't seen enough of you all lately.Nice to see you back in the fray!
O.K. Gang-back to the party!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 28, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"The Angels, Tigers, Rangers, Giants, Rays and Rockies were all connected to Adam Dunn in yesterday's round of rumors, but the White Sox may be the best fit of all. Dunn's left-handed bat would fit well into Ozzie Guillen's lineup, but the Nats are asking for Daniel Hudson plus a prospect. Washington could still extend Dunn, who says he'd consider three or four-year deals. Here's the latest on the slugger; we'll add more bullets throughout the evening."

"The Rays remain "in the mix" for Dunn, according to Jon Heyman of (Twitter link)."

But the rumor is that they like Willingham more, the Rays want a right handed bat not a left-handed one ... also Desmond Jennings is now a Scott Boras client ... a reason to move this prospect from the Rays perspective ... not sure he would be a good deal for the Nats though ...

Posted by: periculum | July 28, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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