August 20, 2009 at 1:55 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Defense, Front Office, Washington Nationals
If your interim GM did the following, you’d be pretty pleased with him and want him to assume your team’s permanent GM position. Here goes:
- Locked up your team star for 5 years at below-market value. One that hits for power, plays excellent defense, gets on base, and plays a premium position–3B.
- Drafted the best available player in the draft and signed him for less money than most people thought he’d get.
- Focused on youth in the rotation, developing very interesting, young pitchers during a meaningless season. If you’re going to lose, do it with the kids. Do it with someone who will actually learn something. Someone whose interesting. Someone who you have a future with. I do this rant all the time, but it gets ignored regularly by certain GMs. Go figure.
- Improved the team’s defense and figures to keep doing so. First of all, the Nyjer Morgan acquisition really shored up the CF defense. Your outfield is never dysfunctional if you have an elite center fielder. Secondly, trading away Nick Johnson (for a very interesting prospect) and moving Dunn to 1B and moving Willingham to LF for good is a huge upgrade defensively. Going with Dukes, Morgan, and Willingham right-to-left as opposed to Willingham, Dukes/Milledge, and Dunn is worth nearly 9 wins a season in the outfield.
- Got all of the questionable personalities. I’m looking at you, Lastings Milledge. Julian Tavarez.
- Has confidence in the team. And I quote:
“We are in the building process,” Rizzo said. “We are not rebuilding. This is a team that is, in my opinion, not far away from being a good, solid baseball team. …
“I understand we’ve got holes to fill, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us this season, this offseason and through spring training. But I feel like we’re prepared for it, we’re going to get it right, and I do not believe that this needs total rebuilding.”
Rizzo is right. They’ve got this team going in absolutely the correct direction. This team was so bad, so hopeless for most of this decade. They’re finally committed to doing it right. Building from within.
I’ve pointed this out before, but the Nationals have used 10 starting pitchers this season. Look at their ages:
Shairon Martis, 22.
Jordan Zimmermann, 23.
Ross Detwiler, 23.
Collin Balester, 23.
John Lannan, 24.
Scott Olsen, 25.
Craig Stammen, 25.
Garrett Mock, 26.
J. D. Martin, 26.
Daniel Cabrera, 28.
Nine of them haven’t reached their peak years and the 10th, Daniel Cabrera, who arguably had reached his peak years and was brought in as a no-risk exercise, someone they took a flyer on, got released when Rizzo, delivering the quote of the year in the process, realized Cabrera wasn’t going to pan out. The quote:
I was tired of watching him.
Just priceless. So even if he’s a bust you’ll be entertained. And Jim Bowden was your last GM, not like the expectations are high, right?
Back to seriousness.
I pointed out earlier that his draft was a huge success. Especially the 1st round. Just look at how the 2009 Nationals draft went and how the 2008 Nationals draft went. The 2008 one was a complete disgrace. The 2009 one may have been the best of the year.
I think, without a doubt, Mike Rizzo is the best choice for the job. He has been a god-send for that franchise. It’s like John Schuerholz was for the Braves. Actually, some of his moves strongly resemble what Schuerholz did in 1991. Shoring up the defense, going with a young, talented pitching staff, etc.
They still have a ways to go. They need a real defensive SS, a 2B, and a catcher (Ryan Doumit???). They also need to shore up the bullpen, a lot of which can be accomplished through the young rotation depth they’ve built up and developed. They’ll look to add a closer this off-season, I imagine. They’ll also look to bring in a veteran sort of player-coach for the rotation. Mentoring that talented young staff they’ve got (Randy Johnson???). But apart from that, they’ve got the makings of a winning team. I really believe they do. Five smaller acquisitions (or maybe they have answers stashed away in the minors, I don’t know, I don’t know their system at all) and I think they’re a playoff team. When’s the last time that the Nationals, or the Expos for that matter, were 5 small acquisitions away from being a playoff team? It’s phenomenal how close this team, who was so bad for so long, is to being very good.
Rizzo acknowledges this, as the quote read earlier. But he’s confident. As he should be.
Rizzo’s done an unbelievable job as interim GM and he is, without a doubt, the correct choice to be Washington’s permenant GM.