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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Articles tagged: Mike Rizzo

Nationals GM says team has no plans for rebuild

The Washington Nationals are staying the course.

After one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo indicated Wednesday that the team is likely to build around its existing core and intends to keep manager Dave Martinez in the fold.

There are many wildcards involved here. Rizzo has to be brought back, and assuming that happens, there’s figuring out where Bryce Harper’s future lies. Much as the Nationals want to keep him around, it may not be plausible. Even if he departs, the Nationals can build around Max Scherzer, Juan Soto, and Trea Turner at the very least, but from there, it will be figuring out how to build around that talent, particularly with regard to the pitching staff.

Report: Nationals GM nearly fought Shawn Kelley after mound outburst

The Washington Nationals had a lot happen to their bullpen in the span of a week, but the Shawn Kelley saga was the most remarkable. A new behind-the-scenes look shows that there was even more there than met the eye.

Nationals reliever Shawn Kelley threw his glove on the mound in frustration after giving up a three-run homer in a game the Nationals had been leading 25-1. It was interpreted by general manager Mike Rizzo and some teammates as showing up manager Dave Martinez, staring him down because he didn’t attempt to defend him when Kelley was unhappy with the umpiring.

When Rizzo confronted Kelley after that game, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, the two began arguing, and nearly came to blows before being separated by outfielder Adam Eaton. Nationals pitchers Max Scherzer and Ryan Madson also confronted Kelley, who was designated for assignment the next day.

Kelley has maintained all along that his frustration was with the umpiring, not with Martinez.

Rizzo may have had the team’s backing when moving Kelley, who is now with the Oakland Athletics, but the bullpen has undeniably suffered for it. They also traded Brandon Kintzler to the Chicago Cubs amid rumors that he was the source behind a story that portrayed the Washington clubhouse as dysfunctional, which both Kintzler and the author of the piece, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, denied. Whether those players deserved to go or not is a matter of debate, but a series of late-inning collapses in August indicates that they could have used the help.

Nats GM defends Bryce Harper over ‘cowardly’ criticism”

Bryce Harper

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo defended Bryce Harper over comments made about him by an anonymous executive.

On Monday, Robert Murray of FanRag Sports shared the thoughts of a National League executive who was critical of Harper, saying the former NL MVP is overrated and cares more about himself than the team.

On Tuesday, Rizzo vehemently defended his star player. Rizzo declared that Harper is a winner on the field and an advocate for the Nationals away from the stadium.

“I think it’s just totally unfair on so many levels,” Rizzo told The Washington Post. “First of all, the premise is entirely wrong. Bryce Harper is a winner. He’s been a winner his whole life. He’s been a rookie of the year, five-time all-star, an MVP. He’s won more games since he’s been called up to the big leagues than any player in the major leagues.

“So how is that a loser? This guy has done nothing but been a tremendous advocate for the Washington Nationals between the lines, in the dugout, in the clubhouse and in the community,” Rizzo continued. “His charitable endeavors and his philanthropic efforts have been second-to-none. Two fields in Washington, D.C. with his name on it, for the kids. So he’s as far from a loser as you can possibly get. He’s a champion. He’s a winner. Always has been. Always will be. And these anonymous quotes from these unnamed sources like a National League executive, it’s cowardly, it’s chicken s–t, and it’s gutless.”

Harper has been a lightning rod for most of his career for various reasons. This isn’t even the first time he’s been called overrated this season; the last time came from an even more bizarre place.

Rizzo certainly did not have defend Harper against comments that came from an anonymous source. However, the fact that he did will probably sit well both in the clubhouse and with Harper.

Nats GM Mike Rizzo says Stephen Strasburg ‘looked sick’

Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg is not expected to start Game 4 of the NLDS despite a rainout giving him an extra day of rest, and the team insists that has to do with the pitcher being ill.

After Game 4 was postponed on Tuesday, Nationals manager Dusty Baker said Tanner Roark is still going to start the game on Wednesday with the team facing elimination. Baker said the decision was made because Strasburg is feeling “under the weather.” In an interview with “The Sports Junkies” on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday morning, Nats general manager Mike Rizzo reiterated that Strasburg is not feeling well.

Rizzo said the team didn’t wait to make a game-time decision about Game 4 because teams are required to announce a starter. He seemed to not rule out Strasburg changing his mind, though he also said he hopes the ace can be ready in time for Game 5.

At one point, Rizzo got testy with the hosts and told them to “wake up,” noting that the team would obviously have Strasburg pitch in Game 4 if they felt that gave them the best chance to win. Here’s the audio:

Baker defended Strasburg on Tuesday by saying a lot of players are feeling under the weather, possibly because of the weather change and air conditioning. The question then becomes whether any of those other players have chosen not to play.

Strasburg was 15-4 with a 2.52 ERA this season. He’s the guy you want taking the mound in an elimination game, and it looked like the Nationals got lucky when Tuesday’s game was rained out. If Roark starts and Washington loses, Strasburg better have some way of proving there was no way he could have battled through whatever illness was ailing him.

Nationals GM: Orioles need to ‘quit whining’ about postponed game

Buck Showalter

The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals are still sniping at each other over a rainout that happened a month ago.

On May 11, the Orioles and Nationals were slated to play at Nationals Park, but the game was postponed due to a rainy forecast. It never rained, though, and when the two teams made the game up on Thursday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter took some thinly-veiled shots at their rivals. Some Orioles privately believed the Nationals, who made the decision, were trying to get out of an unfavorable pitching matchup, and Showalter noted that Orioles stars Adam Jones and Manny Machado were out of the lineup for the makeup game due to minor injuries, which had not been the case a month earlier.

“Lot of byproducts of the cancellation,” Showalter said, via Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post, before peering at the beautiful weather. “I think it’s marginally better tonight.”

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo was not having Baltimore’s complaints.

“It rained all day that day, and the forecast said it would rain until 9:30 or 10,” Rizzo said. “I sat in Buck’s office at 6:30, and we talked about it for 20 minutes. He was 100-percent on-board. He didn’t say anything about not canceling the game.

“Their GM [Dan Duquette] was nowhere to be found for three, four hours. We wanted to play the next day. They refused to play then, so the next [open] day was [Thursday]. They drove 32 miles to get there. We flew 3,000 [expletive] miles, and we beat their [behinds]. So quit your whining. Quit whining.”

It’s not uncommon for teams to gripe publicly when something like this happens. Maybe the Orioles do have something of a point, but it’s not like Washington could have known Jones and Machado wouldn’t play in a month.

Report: Diamondbacks targeting Nationals GM Mike Rizzo to be next president

mike-rizzo-nationals

The Arizona Diamondbacks are looking for a new team president, and their search appears to be going across the National League spectrum.

According to a report by Jim Bowden of ESPN on Monday, the Diamondbacks are making Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo the top target to be their next president of baseball operations. The team is said to be planning to ask permission after the Nationals’ postseason run is complete for an interview with Rizzo, who has two years left on his deal with Washington.

Rizzo, who is known as one of the more outspoken executives in baseball, has been with the Nationals organization since 2006 and was promoted to general manager in 2010 and to president in addition in 2013.

While the Nationals have the more talented roster, Rizzo actually used to be employed by the Diamondbacks, serving as their director of scouting from 2000 to 2006, so there’s incentive for him both ways.

Image via MASN Nationals on YouTube

H/T Rotoworld

Nats GM Mike Rizzo gets into shouting match with Jim Joyce

Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo got into a shouting match with umpire Jim Joyce after Thursday’s Mets-Nets game at Citi Field, according to a report.

The New York Daily News’ Christian Red says the encounter led to the men being separated. Red believes they were arguing about a Jayson Werth slide in the top of the 9th.

The Nats lost the game 9-7. Werth was called out at second base after Joyce said the outfielder interfered on a slide into the base to break up the double play.

Jayson Werth slide

The double play left the Nats with nobody on and two outs in the 9th, killing a potential rally with Bryce Harper at the plate. Harper struck out to end the game.

The call may be upsetting to the Nats, but umpires have been instructed to make those calls to protect infielders as part of the new Chase Utley rule. But Rizzo’s behavior in going after Joyce should not come as a surprise given that he can be a bit of a hot head.