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Rizzo on LaRoche, Wang, Rendon

Oct 26, 2011, 6:23 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Adam LaRoche, who had shoulder surgery in June, resumed throwing last week.

Mike Rizzo held a conference call with beat reporters a short while ago, and though the Nationals general manager reiterated several points raised in his televised interview with me last week, there were a few new nuggets that came out of this session…

– Adam LaRoche, who had surgery in June to repair a left shoulder tear, began a throwing program last week. Rizzo continues to speak about the LaRoche (who is under contract for $8 million in 2012) as his starting first baseman, despite the presence of Michael Morse and Chris Marrero on the roster and big names like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder about to hit the free-agent market. "His rehab is going great," Rizzo said of LaRoche. "He started throwing just last week. He will be on a throwing program and building up to prepare for spring training. He should be full-go for spring training. That's the word I got, not only from Adam, but from our medical staff."

– Though the Nationals continue to talk with Chien-Ming Wang about a contract extension, the two sides aren't on the verge of striking a deal. "I wouldn't describe it as imminent or close," Rizzo said. "ButRead more ยป

  1. Anonymous - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    Thanks for the update … all seems to be as expected at this juncture …

  2. Steve M. - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Rizzo just could have said nothing has changed from the last speech except LaRoche is ahead of the November schedule as he is now throwing a baseball.

  3. Nats1924 - Oct 26, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    After jumping site to site. I have to admit, Mark Z. is the best for Nats updates. Great job! You all think Oswalt is a possibility?

  4. jd - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    Nats1924, I think the Red Sox and the Yankees having starting pitching needs will drive the market up. I have no problem offering Oswalt big dollars as long as it's not for more than 2 years. I think he'l get more than 2 years on the market and we should pass. With the Lackey injury and the Red Sox collapse you know they will be in on every big name pitcher and this means that people like Buehrle and Wilson will sign for more than they are worth.

  5. jd - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    I am a little surprised that Wang didn't get done and is not imminent. Makes me wonder if we will take a pass on him. Not a great tragedy but it probably indicates Rizzo has someone else in mind and it's not necessarily a FA. The comment about the type A FA and how it may impact our decision process is also telling. I don't expect us to be in play for any type A FA's.

  6. Nats1924 - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    ughhhh cant stand the red sox and yanks.

  7. natsfan1a - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    In Series news, Game 6 has been postponed per the Cardinals official site. It is scheduled for tomorrow night, with Game 7, if necessary, taking place on Friday.

  8. DFL - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    Here's hoping that the Nats don't sign a free agent Type A and instead promote from within. Keep the First Round pick.

  9. Wally - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    I don't think Oswalt gets more than 2 years. I am not sure that he wants more than 2 years, either. One question will be dollars (I'd guess between $20-30m), but in all likelihood, the dollar difference will take a back seat to which opportunity he prefers. He comes off as a pretty down to earth, midwestern guy – farmer and hunter. It is hard to know what he values most – close to home (STL or maybe a Texas team)? World Series chance – (NYY, STL, TEX all fit)? I think that we have a chance to appeal to him as an up and coming team: maybe being big brother to Stras and JZ appeals to him.The dribs and drabs on Rendon over the last few months have me a little worried, like the club is kind of hiding something. Well, let me say that differently: not hiding something, just not sure they know the extent of the problem or whether it truly is behind them, so they say nothing. I am not panicking but it is confusing that they haven't been more forthcoming about him. Even Mark's comment above 'without any setbacks' just feels to me like they are hedging their bets because they don't feel supremely confident that they know what they have.

  10. John C. - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Rizzo's comments on Rendon (that "without any setbacks [Rendon] should be 100 percent ready to go in spring training") tells me that Rendon was not fully healed from his shoulder injury when he signed, much less when drafted. Given the Nats track record with shoulder injuries generally, I'd have to say that my concern level has gone up somewhat.Mark, did anyone ask about Matt Antonelli? :)

  11. sjm308 - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    I am not that concerned at all about losing our #1 pick. Its a big drop from having the top pick or even the #6 pick to number 15. Where we will really do well, in my opinion, is rounds 2 through 6 where our scouting and ability to offer above slot pay will pay off once again. Remember that Purke was not picked until round 4.If we can get a top player and it costs us our #1 pick I think it will be worth it, as close as we are to the playoffs.

  12. Wally - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    I am not as optimistic that CMW comes back as others, primarily because I don't see him giving us a 'hometown' discount, or a reward for paying him $3+m for limited innings over the last two years. I think that he showed last year that he will test the market for the best deal that he can get. I don't really blame him: he put up some high quality years while he was under team control, so never really had a big payday, and he is now in his thirties. He may come back, but only after he tests the market to assure himself that he isn't leaving anything on the table.

  13. Bowdenball - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    jd-I think the extent to which the comments on Type A free agents are telling depends on how the subject came up. If Mark or someeone else ASKED about whether the fact that the Nats have to sacrifice a First Round pick would factor into FA decisions, Rizzo presumably gave the only answer he could- of course it would be a factor. However, if Rizzo VOLUNTEERED that information without prompting, that tells me that the team is less inclined to pursue Type A free agents.

  14. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Bowdenball: Rizzo was asked specifically about the possibility of losing the draft pick. So take his answer as you want given that background.And sorry, but no one asked about everyone's favorite AAA infielder whose name never seems to come up anywhere else but in these comments. :)

  15. Gonat - Oct 26, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    Well, so much for the Wang loyalty that many of the posters here espoused as no imminent deal shows the 2 sides are far apart. The deal isn't done and possibly points to Wang's people pressing Rizzo for a large deal sensing that they might do better on the open market. This is speculation on my part totally but I think in the tea leaves it all connects.

  16. Doc - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    RE: Rendon and Rizzo's commentaryRizzo has never been frank about player injuries, e.g. Marquis, LaRoche, etc., and he gave us very little to go on with Rendon's status.Let's hope that he doesn't give away the bank to acquire Oswalt's sore back. Rizzo has a habit of ignoring a significant injury like it's a minor cut requiring a bandaid.

  17. Anonymous8 - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Wally said… I am not as optimistic that CMW comes back as others, primarily because I don't see him giving us a 'hometown' discount, or a reward for paying him $3+m for limited innings over the last two years. I think that he showed last year that he will test the market for the best deal that he can get. I don't really blame him: he put up some high quality years while he was under team control, so never really had a big payday, and he is now in his thirties. He may come back, but only after he tests the market to assure himself that he isn't leaving anything on the table. October 26, 2011 3:50 PM Loyalty leaves the door once dollar bills are sniffed almost every time. I hate to say I told you so. Go revisit those great Wang posts where people talked of "Asian Pride and Culture" and "Loyalty" that Wang will return in appreciation of the great opportunity Rizzo gave him.If Wang doesn't sign here in that 5 day period after the World Series, Rizzo should publicly announce he has no interest in Wang then the market can fall around that and let it be a buyer beware scenario.

  18. JayB - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    I agree….the fact that Rendon can not get into a fall league game 5 months after being drafted and sold as completely healthy is a very troubling development. Rizzo is not very honest and about these things so it is not surprising that truth of this injury is not what was sold to the fans in June.Rizzo has made mistakes with these injury issues before…see Adam L . and others….this would error in judgement if he can not even play at this point and it holds into spring over a year since the injury. Something smells here.

  19. jd - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    9 times out of 10 the FA will go for the most years and the most money regardless of what they say. So if a FA pitcher figures he has 2 years left in the tank he won't hesitate to sign for 4 years if he can; this is why end of careers are so unelegant.

  20. jd - Oct 26, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Sorry but it's way to early to start worrying about Rendon. If he wasn't coming off an injury he would have gone 1st over all and we wouldn't have a shot at him. Some people look for conspiracies everywhere. I tend to take things at face value. If Rendon does not come into spring training ready to play we will have plenty of time to whine.

  21. Bowdenball - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Thanks for the feedback Mark. That's useful. Seems to be that Rizzo was just giving the politically correct answer, then- obviously when you consider a FA you take all factors into account, and now one of those is the loss of a first round pick. I'd certainly hope he'd do so.

  22. Anonymous - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    The only thing that smells here is JayB. Who let him back in? Rizzo didn't "sell" the fans anything on Rendon or LaRoche or any other player he drafted or traded for. There are no guarantees on any player. Injuries happen, both before and after you acquire the player, and all you can know is what the doctors tell you. And often the doctors don't know either. And Rizzo has never guaranteed to fans that a player is perfectly healthy and would remain so. Sometimes you get really lucky and a player goes his whole career without being diminished by injury (Cal Ripken). Other times it happens before the player ever even gets started (Strasburg). Those are the breaks of the game. Any fan who insists that a GM provide a team with 100% fail safe injury-free team is hallucinating. That fan is going to find himself rooting for a roster as empty as the space between his ears.

  23. baseballswami - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    My guess is that Rendon is just very rusty – and even when he last played it was at the college level. If this was regular season there would be many options to get him back playing again. At this time of the year it's pretty much afl no matter what his skill level is or is not. They just can't worry about how it looks to the fans right now – he needs to start playing again so that he is not deteriorating further leading up to spring training. He may also still be stiff or weak and needs to build himself up. I am ok with him stinking it up right now – we have a minor league system that can help him get back in shape once spring comes.

  24. gonatsgo - Oct 26, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    I was feeling kind of sad that there is no baseball again today until I realized that this might extend the season one more day until the great baseball desert is upon us. I hope it goes seven – the off season is way too long and boring. But – I also know that once the world series is over then trades and such will start to pop again.

  25. Wally - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    baseballswami said…My guess is that Rendon is just very rusty – and even when he last played it was at the college level. If this was regular season there would be many options to get him back playing again… Swami – maybe, but my read is a little different. When I said earlier that I was a little worried, it was a timing comment. Shoulders are almost never career threatening for a position player, so I am sure that it is fixable. When he was drafted, I assumed that if it needed surgery, he would have it as soon as he signed, rehab through the winter and be ready for the start of next year (or shortly afterwards). He could then get close to a full season in the minors, and if he was as good as advertised (like Ackley was), we'd see him in 2013. When we started hearing all the 'Rendon in the AFL stories', I assumed that there was someone in the organization indicating that off the record. That looks liked it has changed, which is fine and certainly within the realm of what happens to baseball players, but it seems like that means that the Nats aren't completely sure they know the extent of the injury (I assume it isn't responding quite the way that they expected, and they are not sure why). So we likely won't know until ST whether it truly is fine and doesn't need surgery, and there is some chance that it has to get addressed next spring, he misses a decent amount of time, and it pushes back his MLB-ETA possibly. That is the worry that I was mentioning earlier.I compare this to Purke, where shoulder surgery is usually very damaging to a pitcher with uncertain long term effects, so trying all avenues of rehab to avoid surgery makes a lot of sense to me.

  26. Mark'd - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    No good news here. About 8 more days on Wang. Disappointing as it stands right now. After his 1st game back some called it a lose-lose and a Rizzo fail. If Wang walks, I wouldn't term it a Rizzo fail as much as it is a Wang moral fail. You took well over $3 million of Nats money and in the end you never lived up to anything near what you were paid for and they gave you a spot with much patience to showcase yourself for 29 other teams.Sure Adam LaRoche, Dmitri Young, Guzman and especially Kearns all had some of their own fails. NatsLady had me convinced Wang was different. I can't even say it was fun while it lasted.

  27. Gonat - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    I guess we shouldn't jump the gun here on Wang. There is a week left to get a deal done. Let's see what happens.I agree that if Wang files for Free Agency that Rizzo should publicly let it be known the Nationals have no further interest in Wang.

  28. Anonymous8 - Oct 26, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    From Bill Ladson on Stephen Strasburg:General manager Mike Rizzo has a general idea as to how many innings right-hander Stephen Strasburg will throw in 2012, but he will not give out the details until he sees Strasburg in Spring Training. "I'm not going to disclose it to anybody, but there is strategy employed in it, and we don't want people to know our business," Rizzo said. "We have a good idea of the parameters. We'd adhere to those parameters. There is nothing concrete, because we want to see how he comes to Spring Training, how he feels, how he develops throughout the season, if there are any setbacks or anything like that. If there are no setbacks, we have general parameters that we would adhere to."

  29. Dawn - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    I wouldn't throw Wang under the proverbial bus yet. Baseball is after all a business, as a player it is smart thing to do to check out your options.

  30. Tegwar - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    I think most of you are reading the CMW delay incorrectly. CMW will get an incentive laden contract and these take time to work out. Unless someone offers him a boatload of money he will sign with Nats.

  31. sm13 - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Rizzo's first priority should by to sign Ryan Z to a long-term extension. Mark — did that come up at all in the press briefing?

  32. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    Dawn said… I wouldn't throw Wang under the proverbial bus yet. Baseball is after all a business, as a player it is smart thing to do to check out your options. October 26, 2011 8:00 PM ______________________________I have always felt that way and then there were quite a few who got upset with me saying that Wang was different. He has loyalty. It is part of his Asian culture. If Wang files for Free Agency, it will confirm how I felt back in July.Still hoping I am wrong about Wang, Show us Chien!

  33. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    Tegwar said… I think most of you are reading the CMW delay incorrectly. CMW will get an incentive laden contract and these take time to work out. Unless someone offers him a boatload of money he will sign with Nats. October 26, 2011 8:15 PM ___________________________This seems clear to me: "I wouldn't describe it as imminent or close," Rizzo said.

  34. McKinley2 - Oct 27, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Since we don't know what kind of salary the Nats are offering Wang, it's a bit disingenuous to jump on him for not having already agreed to a deal. There's already been a declaration that he wants to return and appreciates how the Nats had supported him while he rehabbed. Doesn't mean he totally grabs his ankles when a contract offer is made to him. It's a negotiation and still ongoing. Rizzo has a good track record of excellent production at the midnight hour. He's hardly a make or break signing — just one that most Nats fans would like to see because 1) he's a proven major league pitcher, and 2) he's been carried on the payroll for 2 years with but 2 months of production for the home team. Patience.

  35. Anonymous8 - Oct 27, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    McKinley2, disingeuous to you says Rizzo wasn't fair. One thing about Rizzo is that he is fair.

  36. Gonat - Oct 27, 2011 at 1:34 AM

    Here's some good news. Harper and Norris continue hot at the plate. Both had 2 hits each of the team's 8 hits and Harper hit a 3 run HR and a Sac Fly to finish 2-3 and Norris had 2 singles and a walk to go 2-3 and his BA is now .361Norris did struggle on defense with 2 throwing errors and a passed ball.Walters average keeps falling as he is 4 points above the Dunn line

  37. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    I wouldn't trust anything Rizzo says anymore than I trusted Stan Kasten. My guess is that Rendon is damaged goods and he won't be anywhere near 100% by spring training.

  38. Tegwar - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:24 AM

    GonatIt's strange but I read where Rizzo uses the word not imminent as meaning they need to work something out, otherwise he just would have said they were not close. No reason for Wang not to test the FA water but all things being close to equal I think he will be a Nat. Could be wrong but I think Rizzo wants to sign him.

  39. Grace - Oct 27, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    Before Wang got back in Taiwan, one newspaper said is that 3 innings 60 pitches one start,that Nationals suggested.On the day Wang got back in Taiwan, another newspaper said that the MLB had passed a "manual" for Wang in the series,comfirmed the 3 innings, 60 pitches. Only one start as starter's routine..So now Wang reported to the team, said that he will throw bullpen in about a week, so media guessing Wang pitches one of the games in Kaohsiung.

  40. Anonymous - Oct 27, 2011 at 10:38 AM

    I'll be the first to say it. Rendon is a bust, plain and simple. We didn't do an MRI and he has a torn rotator. He will be DHing in Potomac next year

  41. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 27, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Anonymous said… I'll be the first to say it.Can we quote you on that?Captcha: uncogFTW

  42. nats24 - Oct 31, 2011 at 4:25 AM

    great info, Grace

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