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Rizzo: Desmond won’t be utilityman

Mar 14, 2010, 4:02 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Wherever Ian Desmond plays this season, he'll be at shortstop.

VIERA, Fla. — Ian Desmond may get some time in the outfield this spring, but once the season begins, he'll remain an everyday shortstop … either in Washington or Syracuse.

General manager Mike Rizzo said the 24-year-old needs to play every day this season, no matter if he's in the majors or the minors.

"He's [24] years old, and he's going to be an everyday shortstop in the big leagues," Rizzo said. "He's going to play every day at shortstop somewhere this season."

Desmond has been torrid at the plate this spring, carrying a .476 average (10-for-21) with five extra-base hits and 11 RBI into today's game against the Cardinals. He's also drawn three walks, leading to a .542 on-base percentage.

With Cristian Guzman guaranteed $8 million in the final year of his current contract, manager Jim Riggleman has sought to get Desmond more playing time by using him in center field and right field this spring. The manager has said he believes Desmond has the athletic skills to play the outfield if needed, leading to speculation he couldRead more ยป

  1. 320R2S15 - Mar 14, 2010 at 4:13 PM

    So, how long will they give Guz? The ghost of Jimmy will haunt us for yesrs….At some point the Lerners are going to have to eat the sandwich they made.

  2. BinM - Mar 14, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Storen is making an early case for himself this spring, particularly with the struggles seen from Walker & Capps. Strasburg will start the season in the minors, but will be up with the Nationals sometime between mid-May & the trade deadline, imo. Desmond's situation is a little tougher for me to decipher – Guzman is still on the roster, and if healthy will play SS, blocking Desmond down to SYR. At this point, the one opportunity is if Minaya hits the panic button over Reyes' thyroid problem. The Nationals could eat some salary & maybe get something half decent in return.

  3. peric - Mar 14, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    They still desperately need starters … have plenty of relievers. Storen looks like he could be a big league starter. Time to change the plan Stan.Either that or name JD Martin your ace because he is probably the best of all of your "soft tossers" other than Livo of course.

  4. Rich - Mar 14, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    Peric,I don't think he wants to start. Didn't his mom basically say that in Goessling's chat yesterday? If he doesn't want to, we aren't going to get the best results. I'm sure he'd do it… but then he would need a lot more development and he wouldn't be ready for opening day.

  5. Andrew - Mar 14, 2010 at 6:47 PM

    This Desmond utility thing didn't make a lot of sense in the first place and I remember Riggles making the first mention of it. Glad Rizzo put that to rest.2011 the Nats won't have Guzy so if Desmond is the "future", he really needs a lot of MLB time be it in July at the trade deadline or now.

  6. peric - Mar 14, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    I think Desmond has convinced everyone to stop waiting for Espinosa.

  7. peric - Mar 14, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    Now to get Lombardozzi and Kobernus to play like they want it bad.

  8. Doc - Mar 14, 2010 at 7:55 PM

    Time to trade Guzy! He's gone after this season anyway. Why wait for spring–do it now!!!

  9. Anonymous - Mar 14, 2010 at 10:22 PM

    This is a ridiculous statement by Rizzo..what messages does this send Guz, Desmond and Espinosa. Guz will be the regular shortstop he is not an off the bench guy and has no trade value right now. Espinosa is a much better offensive and defensive shortstop than Desmond so what does this say to him, sit an wait in the minors for the rest of your career. We need Desmond's athleticism off the bench, Morse and/or Duncan can hit but neither are athletic..stupid move….hope Desmond enjoys playing in Syracuse until September 1st!

  10. Spike94wl - Mar 14, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    Until Espinosa actually plays in a MLB game you have no basis to say that he is better than Desmond offensively. And if I recall, Espinosa is a 2nd baseman which would allow both of them to play in the same lineup (anybody think we have a vacancy at 2nd base right now or are we still relying on Gonzalez for the future?)

  11. Andrew - Mar 15, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    Anonymous said… This is a ridiculous statement by Rizzo..what messages does this send Guz, Desmond and Espinosa. Guz will be the regular shortstop he is not an off the bench guy and has no trade value right now. Espinosa is a much better offensive and defensive shortstop than Desmond so what does this say to him, sit an wait in the minors for the rest of your career. We need Desmond's athleticism off the bench, Morse and/or Duncan can hit but neither are athletic..stupid move….hope Desmond enjoys playing in Syracuse until September 1st!I don't agree at all about your part about Morse. He is very athletic. He can play every position on the field except pitch and who knows, maybe he can do that too.

  12. Anonymous - Mar 15, 2010 at 3:56 AM

    I don't get it Mark ! You say that Thompson isn't ready and has never pitched above AA. ( FYI, this is his third big league spring training ) and his 6th year in pro ball. and Riggles says that Storen could make the team ! …has never pitched above AA ball and has only played 1/2 year of pro ball. Can you explain ? I do realize that Thompson is SP and Storen is RP but they are some of the very few pitchers that have preformed this spring.

  13. markfd - Mar 15, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    Interesting take on Desmond by all obviously lots of debate, sounds like a lot for later in the season to think about. I would love to see Storen in the Opening Day bullpen. Well, Riz makes the personnel decisions and Riggs makes the lineups on napkins.Mark – all of this leads me to a question, IF Desmond is not one of the 25 that goes north, who are the favorites for the infield reserves and who are the outfield reserves? It looks to me that are 6 bench spots, with 5 openings (Neives guaranteed as the backup catcher). Does Riz go with versatility and have Harris, Morse and Bruntlett take 3 of those spots as they can play the most number of positions? Then who would be the other two? Inquiring minds want to know.

  14. Anonymous - Mar 16, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    Who says Espinosa is better than Desmond? His k rate says you may want to wait on that a bit. Espinosa K'd at a 27% rate in high A at age 21 last year. Desmond K'd at a bout a 20% rate across 3 levels, AA, AAA and majors. And he improved that as the season went on (17% in AAA and majors).When Desmond was 21 in high A, he K'd at about a 21.5% rate. Espinosa displayed more power, and may have the steadier glove. Desmond struggled when younger, and his results last year driven in part by a nice average that may regress. But he is certainly more advanced now, and Espinosa has to show he won't k so much at higher levels before annointed.

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