Tag:Mike Rizzo
Posted on: May 20, 2011 7:09 pm
 

Rizzo says he's not under investigation by MLB

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mike RizzoNationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters he called Joe Torre immediately after Thursday's incident with umpire Phil Cuzzi and was told he's not the "focus" of an investigation.

Rizzo was one of many Nationals to take shots at Cuzzi following his blown call in the ninth inning (here's what happened) of Thursday's game against the Mets and later there was a report the MLB was investigating Rizzo's actions and that the umpires called Mets security about Rizzo.

"I contacted Joe Torre immediately after the incident with the umpires, and he assured me that despite a lot of the reports in the media, this is by no means an investigation against Mike Rizzo," Rizzo told reporters, including CSNWashington.com's Mark Zuckerman. "This is an investigation of what happened after the game."

Jayson Werth, who was called out on the play, first base coach Dan Radison and manager Jim Riggleman all argued with Cuzzi on the field after the play, while Riggleman also argued with home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez. Several players were also seen yelling at the umpires as they left the field.

Rizzo said the complaints weren't solely based on Cuzzi's blown call.

"What happened last night postgame had absolutely nothing to do with arguing, or anything to do with the play that happened at first base," Rizzo said, declining to elaborate.

Rizzo repeatedly declined to explain what happened after the game.

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Posted on: May 19, 2011 8:23 pm
 

Report: Umpires file complaint against Nats GM

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mike RizzoI already wrote about the controversy over Phil Cuzzi's call -- but now there's more. The umpiring crew has filed a report against Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo over a verbal altercation as the crew was leaving the field, the New York Daily News reports.

According to the report, one of the umpires told Mets security guards outside their dressing room to "find the guy in the suit," referring to Rizzo.

Cuzzi wouldn't comment on his call, but said he has filed a report with Joe Torre, MLB's vice president of on-field operations.

The Daily News contacted Torre, who said he hasn't been briefed yet, but said, "I'm looking forward to an interesting morning (Friday)."

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Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:57 pm
 

Strasburg 'close' to throwing off a mound

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Stephen StrasburgOn the same day Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said phenom Bryce Harper will not see the majors this year, another  top pick is getting closer to returning to the big leagues, although the timing suggests it will not be this season.

Stephen Starsburg -- remember him? -- is "close" to throwing off the mound, Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty told reporters, including the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, on Wednesday.

"Everything is going along fine," McCatty said. "I know he's close to throwing off the mound. I'm sure he's getting close to it. I know there were some discussions about it. It will be shortly. Everything has been going fine."

McCatty noted Strasburg is feeling "great" but "bored" with his rehab, which is pretty normal for the long road back from Tommy John surgery.

Last season Jordan Zimmermann threw off the mound seven months and three days after his surgery and made it back to the majors in about a year. Strasburg's surgery was eight months and eight days ago.

"When he's ready, he's ready," McCatty said. "If it's 12 months like Zimmermann or a little longer or a littler shorter, we just can't sit here and say, 'Bang, here's the milestone, now the clock is ticking.' It doesn't work that way. He's feeling fine. He's getting close. Everything is going well. You got to take your time. You can't rush it. And he says he feels great."

The Nationals will likely allow Strasburg to take it easy -- there's no reason to rush him at this point. But even when he does come back, it takes time for a player to really come back to being the pitcher they were before. However, once that happens, the team will have one of the best pitchers in the game back and that certainly can't hurt. 

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Posted on: December 7, 2010 9:00 pm
 

Pavano drawing interest

Carl Pavano made the drive from his West Palm Beach to Orlando to meet with four teams, including the Twins, agent Tom O'Connell told Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press .

O'Connell told Smith the day was "very productive," but "we're definitely going to take our time."

O'Connell, at least, spoke to the Nationals (who hasn't?).

"We've spoken a couple of times with his representative," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post ."That's as much as I can let you know of. We've spoken on several occasions."

One team that's unlikely to sign Pavano -- the Yankees.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 11, 2010 9:34 am
Edited on: November 11, 2010 10:22 am
 

Door not closed on Dunn in D.C.

Adam Dunn There's been plenty of talk about the Nationals moving on from first baseman Adam Dunn, but general manager Mike Rizzo said on Wednesday that the team hasn't decided against bringing back done.

"That's a question that's asked a lot, will Adam Dunn be in the uniform in 2011," Rizzo told the Washington Post 's Dan Steinberg . "We're certainly working toward that end. We've got a lot of irons in the fire, though. There's a lot of questions and a lot of decisions to be made before opening day next year."

Ryan Zimmerman certainly made his feelings about done known.

"If you want a middle-of-the-lineup guy that you know is gonna play every single day and you know is gonna be there, you go with Adam," Zimmerman said. "There's really no other first baseman on the market that really compares with him, I don't think. He's a very good player, and if we can't get him back here, it's gonna be a big blow to our team."

Zimmerman told NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman that he's talked to Dunn nearly every day since the season ended.

"He wants to be here," Zimmerman said. "He's a little upset that stuff didn't get done. But that was not the team's fault."

As for the Nationals' chase of Cliff Lee, the Nationals have contacts his agent, Rizzo told MLB Network/Sirius XM Radio.

"I'd be a fool if I didn't like Cliff Lee or want Cliff Lee on our club. He's the prize pitching guy in this year's free agent market," Rizzo said. "But again, I'm certainly not going to delude myself to the fact that we have a great chance of landing Cliff Lee. … I think the chances of Cliff wanting to come to the Washington Nationals at this time in our franchise is small."

You've got to give Rizzo some points for being realistic. The Nationals have very little chance of Lee choosing to play for them, but if they've got the money to offer, they've got to take that chance.

"If you're asking me if I want Cliff Lee on my team, then yeah, 100 percent," Zimmerman said. "He can take some of my salary if he wants."

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 19, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Nats hand Rizzo five-year extension

Mike Rizzo The Nationals have handed GM Mike Rizzo the keys to the front office, signing him to a five-year extension and promoted him to the additional title of executive vice president of baseball operations.

"Mike Rizzo is unquestionably one of the best baseball minds in the game," Nationals owner Ted Lerner said in a statement . "He has a unique ability to see player talent for what it is, what it can be, and how it fits into building a winning team. Mike has been one of the architects of the rebuilding of the entire Nationals player system, from scouting, to player development, to big league signings. We believe the talent foundation we are establishing on and off the field will make the Nationals one of baseball's most exciting teams over the next several seasons."

Rizzo replaced outgoing GM Jim Bowden in spring training 2009, being named to the position permanently in August. The Nationals went 59-103 in 2009, followed by a ten-game improvement in 2010.

The extension and promotion of Rizzo is curious given the Nationals have shown no real improvement (yet) at the major-league level. Rizzo's work for the Nats as assistant general manager starting in 2006 provides the team with a large body of work to draw from, but the fact remains that Rizzo has just one full year and two seasons under his resume as GM, with most of Washington's upcoming success coming from a robust farm system that Rizzo played a hand in.

In fact, some of Rizzo's moves have been curious. The Nyjer Morgan-Lastings Milledge deal clearly didn't work out, while Rizzo stumbled big time not dealing Adam Dunn at the deadline. He did put together a strong bullpen, aided by the Pirates' inexplicable decision to non-tender Matt Capps.

Ask the Diamondbacks how the eight-year extension signed in February 2008 worked out. Oh, wait. It didn't, as Byrnes was fired during the 2010 season.

A five-year deal is a lot to commit to Rizzo. It may end up being the right move, but it's also a risky move.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 13, 2010 1:02 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:58 am
 

Harper headed to Arizona Fall League

Bryce Harper The Arizona Fall League just got a little more interesting -- Bryce Harper is headed west.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that Harper will be on the "Taxi squad" for the Scottsdale Scorpions, meaning he'll play twice a week.

Rizzo said the team didn't want Harper to be idle for the next two months. The Nationals will have little trouble keeping tabs on Harper, as Rizzo, manager Jim Riggleman, hitting coach Rick Eckstein and special assistant Phil Rizzo will all be in Arizona with Harper.

In a subsequent tweet , Ladson notes Rizzo told him the team will start Harper at Class A next season, presumably with the South Atlantic League Hagerstown Suns.

"He is going to A ball," Rizzo told Lasdon. "Make no mistake about it. he is not going toe a rushed guy. We are going to let his performance and development dictate where this guy goes."

UPDATE: MASN.com's Byron Kerr spoke to Harper , who said he'll go to Arizona on Sunday after celebrating his 18th birthday with his family.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: October 1, 2010 9:23 pm
 

Nats interested in Webb, Darvish

Yu Darvish The Nationals have already made it known they're searching for a possible No. 1 starter -- and it appears they'll look everywhere from the scrap heap to the Far East.

Bill Ladson of MLB.com writes the Nationals will scout former Cy Young Award-winner Brandon Webb and the Washington Post 's Adam Kilgore writes the team could pursue Japanese ace Yu Darvish.

Webb is scheduled to pitch in an instructional league game on Saturday in Tucson, as well as on Thursday at Chase Field in Phoenix. Webb hasn't pitched this season and is a free agent after it ends.

Ladson also writes Webb would be interested in pitching for the Nationals if he doesn't re-sign with the Diamondbacks. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was director of scouting with the Diamondbacks in 2000 when the team drafted Webb.

Darvish could be posted by his team, the Nippon Ham Fighters (Ham, by the way, goes with Nippon, not Fighters -- Nippon Ham is the sponsor of the Fighters). Darvish, 23, started his professional career at 19, when he posted a 2.89 ERA -- his highest by a run in his career. Darvish went 12-8 this season with a 1.78 ERA, 222 strikeouts and 1.01 WHIP.

Darvish could cost as much as $25 million just to win the posting -- that money goes to his team, while his contract negotiations are separate.

Kilgore writes the Nationals have seen Darvish in person at least nine times and have recommended to the front office that he is worth pursuing.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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