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Rizzo still looking for another starter

Nov 4, 2011, 6:10 PM EST

US Presswire photo
Chien-Ming Wang re-signed with the Nationals for one year and $4 million.

Though he believes his club already has “six or seven quality guys that we can call upon to start in the major leagues,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo acknowledges he’s still looking to add another veteran to his suddenly deep rotation.

Rizzo — in formally announcing the re-signing of right-hander Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year, $4 million contract this afternoon — spoke glowingly about the pitching depth the Nationals have assembled while at the same time hinting at the type of free agent he’d still like to add this winter.

What type of pitcher is that?

“The type of pitcher we’re looking for is a good leader,” Rizzo said. “That throws a lot of innings. That has shown that he can win in the big leagues. And can really lead our staff, not by having the best stuff on the staff, but by showing how to be a professional and how to be a winner and how to pitch 200 innings in a season many, many times in
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  1. NatsLady - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Re-posting this from the previous thread.On what you pay for players:The marginal value for the Nats is very high because we are on the cusp of being a playoff team. If a player adds 5 wins for us (e.g., a pitcher), we are going to pay more for him than a team that projects to win 75 or 95 games would pay for that same pitcher.The marginal value of 5 wins for those teams is not high (80 games will not make the playoffs, and 95 games already will make the playoffs).If we project to win 85 games, and we acquire a player who projects to get us to 90, we are GOING TO OVERPAY for that player. And, it will be the correct decision.

  2. Sam - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Rizzo described Livan Hernandez…and let's face it, no one really wants to see Livo pitch 200 more innings this year. Front office executives (like politicians) have a great way of speaking without really saying anything.

  3. Harper_ROY_2012 - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    The key word here is veteran..we do not have many of those. Rizzo is describing Buehrle to a T. Go get him Mike!

  4. JamesFan - Nov 4, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    A one year deal with Wang is fair. If he works out, he goes on the market. If he doesn't, the team is off the hook.

  5. jd - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    The fact that Wang insisted on a 1 year deal is very good news. It means he is supremely confident that he can have a good year and reestablish his value on the FA market.

  6. Anonymous - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Does Yu Darvish really fit that description?

  7. baseballswami - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    Another Harper-ish, (sort of), question: Who is calling the shots, Rizzo or Johnson? If Johnson wants Harper up, does Rizzo overrule? If Johnson wants to push Strassie just a little further, does Rizzo overule? After watching "Moneyball" I find myself wondering. I think Johnson gets way more of what he wants than Riggs ever did, but how much is Rizzo letting Johnson decide? Mark – the manager/gm dynamic would make a really great article, don't you think? Who is molding this team, Rizzo, Johnson – both together? We heard last year that Rizzo wanted to build a team based on defense and pitching, then we heard that Johnson didn't like that model – how much will the team philosophy change? Who is steering the ship?

  8. Wally - Nov 4, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    Mark Zuckerman said… Though negotiations were amicable and progressed in a timely fashion, there was one sticking point. The Nationals preferred to include a 2013 club option on the contract, ensuring their ability to retain Wang for another season if he makes a full return to his old form….Wang and his agent, Alan Nero, would not agree to the optionI am glad that we were pushing for it, and also fine that we didn't get it in this instance. Wang is getting older and wants to get paid market value at some point soon*, and I think that he is entitled. But I would really like to see us extend Morse and JZimm by buying out their arb years and getting some team options for the first two years of FA. It is a growing trend that many teams and players are agreeing to, and it makes sense for both sides (some guaranteed money for a younger player, and some team control into FA). Glad to see Rizzo focused on it.* I am eating humble pie on CMW's return. I thought that he would gauge the market before resigning, but he was true to his word. Good for him (and us).

  9. Alexei Karamazov - Nov 4, 2011 at 8:34 PM

    As bad as the Orioles pitching is, they would do well to sign any Nat reject- Hernandez, Gorzelanny, Slaton- or potential reject- Stammen, Wilkie, Martin, Arneson. But not Chico or Mock, both of whom might get jobs as cold beer men at Nats Park.

  10. JaneB - Nov 4, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    I agree with Sam. He described Livan. And it feels like a slap in the face to hear him make THAT description and ignore the guy on staff who fits this bill. LannEn only took batting practice seriously because of Livan. That he's a leader is clear. Ugh. I know I am overly sensitive about this, but still. Ugh some more.As I was thinking about Reyes (to change topics), it seems to me that it would diminish Desmond's trade value to do that deal before the trade. But then they could make the trade and not get Reyes. What's the best order of things?

  11. Just saying' - Nov 4, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    fwiw, Rizzo's formal announcement/press conference seems to have generated five stories from Nats-focused beat writers. By my count, three of them (NatsInsider, WashPost, and MASN) point to Buehrle as being the Nats' most likely target, one (Ladsen at points to Oswalt, and the fifth (WashTimes) doesn't mention any names, but steers the discussion away from Wilson.

  12. Tom - Nov 4, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    He may have described what Livo used to be, but I just don't think he can continue to be that at an acceptable level. I would love to keep him, but I wouldn't start him over any of our top 7 (Strass, Zimm, Wang, Lannan, Detwiler, Millone, Peacock) or a potential pick-up like Buerhle, Oswalt or Wilson.I would like us to pursue Darvish, but he doesn't fit the description that Rizzo gave (hmmm, unless it is a smoke screen to keep the posting fee down…)

  13. jd - Nov 4, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    Ladson says Oswalt then it's Buehrle – done deal.

  14. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    NatsLady @ 2:30 p.m.,A very good point on the marginal costs/marginal values of pitchers. I would extend your argument a bit, however, to ask whether acquiring those extra five (or ten) wins might be easier/cheaper by going for additional runs in the form of some higher OBP hitters.Last season the Nats were 6th in the NL in ERA and 8th in WHIP. Three of the four NL teams that made the playoffs had worse ERAs than the Nats; one of the four (which then went on to win the World Series) had a fractionally worse WHIP. So let's stipulate that the Nats pitching was already pretty good — not perfect, but any improvement would really be moving from the merely good to the very good or great.On the offensive side, however, the Nats — as we all know so well — were way down the list in every significant category except HRs. All of the playoff teams were much better offensively than the Nats, particularly in OBP and runs scored.Now, I'm not suggesting that offensive trumps pitching. Far from it. But rather, I'm suggesting that balance is the key. And I would also suggest that the marginal cost of moving from roughly the 6th or 7th best pitching stats to, let's say, the 3rd or 4th would be higher than moving from somewhere around 12th or 13th in runs scored or OBP to somewhere in the 5th-7th range. Said another way, improving from 'good' to 'great' in pitching is going to more expensive than improving from 'poor' to 'above average' or 'good' in hitting.I will spend some time over the weekend looking for the evidence, but my strong suspicion is that it should cost less (and, more importantly, prove to be more valuable) to 'buy' 75-100 additional runs than to shave 0.2 from the team ERA or reduce the staff's WHIP by another 0.05.

  15. Nats1924 - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    I know Livo is not capable SP anymore. But it must be a punch to the gut when your a free agent and an article like this comes out…I still love Livo…go W's!!!!!

  16. SonnyG10 - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:50 PM

    I do believe that getting the run production up is critical to making the playoffs. If we had to, I think our pitching would be good enough to do the job, but we have to score more runs.

  17. Gardner - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    Livan has made more than $50mm playing ball, has more fun than anyone and negotiated his last deal on a napkin. I doubt he's seein anything Rizzo says as a punch in the gut.

  18. Nats1924 - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    ya, good point.

  19. NatsLady - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    Eugene– thanks. Not my original thought, however. Here is the quote:Imagine, for example, that three teams-the Royals, Mets, and Cardinals-are considering signing a certain free agent. All these teams agree that the player will be worth 6 additional wins. The Royals, however, expect to win 65 games if they don't sign the free agent, the Mets 85 games, and the Cardinals 95 games. The teams reach the following conclusions: ♦ Royals: The free agent, who allows them to win 71 games rather than 65, is worth about $4.1 million ($590,000 per win). ♦ Mets: The free agent, who allows them to win 91 games rather than 85, is worth about $17 million ($2.8 million per win). ♦ Cardinals: The free agent, who allows them to win 101 games rather than 95, is worth about $4.8 million ($800,000 per win). Guess which team is going to wind up with the player?Jonah Keri;Baseball Prospectus. Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game Is Wrong (pp. 193-194). Kindle Edition.

  20. Anonymous - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    I usually like and respect mlbtv – but their constant yapping about us getting prince fielder is on my last nerve. For one thing – they seem to have no clue that we have even heard of Adam LaRoche – never mentioned. They are like – hey- if Prince comes to the nats then Morse can move to the outfield! – duh, duh and double duh. At their level, shouldn't they kind of know about LaRoche being our primary first baseman? Sorry about the rant – get tired of so-called baseball people not knowing much about the nats except for harper and strasburg.

  21. Anonymous - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    Oh- and can someone tweet them? I don't tweet and at this point I would just call them morons anyway.

  22. NatsLady - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    The Nats (and Mike Morse) are a well-kept secret. 2012 is gonna be fun!!!I am still miffed that Eric Karabell and KLaw laughed when I told them about Clippard being our best pitcher–and the best relief pitcher in all of MLB–by the stats… In fact, according to Baseball Reference, Clippard was our TOP PLAYER in 2011 (because of RZimm being on the DL for so long).On another show Karabell was looking up the relief pitchers on Fangraphs, where Clippard's name is at the top. Mumble, mumble, mumble. But he NEVER apologized for making fun of me when I told him about Clipp being the BEST. And the fans here know it–I mean, they were playing RADIO ADs about when Clipp comes in to shut 'em down… One "benefit" of having a terrible team for so long is that National fans are knowlegable, because we stuck with the Nats, we know our guys. Remember the ovation Drew Storen got when he WASN'T traded? So, I am never surprised at so-called "baseball experts" being ignorant when it comes to the "Natinals" — on another "baseball show" the guy couldn't even remember the name of the "Washington team" and finally came up with "Natinals"…People, mark down this day. Seriously. We have a wily manager, a smart GM, a nice park, a young and talented team. I'm sure there will be lots of complaints later but right now, "Everything's Coming up Roses."captcha is "nufan" — bet we will have a lot of new fans this year.

  23. Anonymous - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    In REALLY important news, TUNE INN re-opened today!

  24. Gonat - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    Don't be upset NatsTown, the Phillies just snagged the 1st Free Agent signing since the Nats got Wang so they wouldn't be upstaged again by the Nats…..JIM THOME

  25. Gonat - Nov 4, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    jd said… Ladson says Oswalt then it's Buehrle – done deal. November 4, 2011 5:41 PM ___________________________________Yah sure, after Rizzo tipped his hand to spell out B-U-E-H-R-L-E as a 7 letter name that Rizzo needed some diversion so one of his guys give some disinformation in O-S-W-A-L-T to Ladson.BRILLIANT

  26. Another_Sam - Nov 5, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    JaneB — right on. My view on Livan — even at this stage of his career — is well advertised, and unchanged. Let's not go overboard on this staff. Sure, there's potential but it's just potential. Objectively, I think that even with his tailing off at the end of last season that Livan was just as productive as any member of this staff. i think this august group — and perhaps Rizzo — confuse potential with performance. But I wonder — Is Livan a natural fit for Ozzie's staff?

  27. gonatsgo - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:19 AM

    Watching Michael Morse hit a double down the right field line for an rbi on a relaxing Friday night. Thank you mlbtv and thank you taiwan for the off season baseball!

  28. NatsLady - Nov 5, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    gonatsgo, yes. It's fun. How did they pick who went to Taiwan? I see LoMo is there.

  29. Dawn - Nov 5, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    Just checking in on Puerto Rican baseball league. Looks like Pudge and Cora each knocked in a run, while Maya got knocked out of the game after just 1.2 innings. He gave up 4 runs.

  30. DCGuy7 - Nov 5, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    morse goes yard in taiwan. solo shot deep center. i love baseball.

  31. NatsLady - Nov 5, 2011 at 2:46 AM

    Balester looked good, and the announcer said Tyler Clippard might be the best 8th inning setup man in baseball, and the Nats had a REALLY good bullpen in 2011. So not a complete ignoramus, whoever he is. :)

  32. natsfan1a - Nov 5, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Haven't yet watched the game, which I recorded, but I'm guessing it was Larry Bowa, AKA Nick Johnson's uncle. He's been talking up the Nats in all of the games. Oh, he also said that he hated the wave. Atta boy, Larry. 😉

  33. Anonymous - Nov 5, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    One more FA means Rizzo can trade Lannan for Lorenzo Cain (CF from KC) & some low A pitcher. Should be done by end of December.

  34. Tcostant - Nov 7, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    We'll never will know what Rizzo offered for the option year. If he offered a $10 million option with a $500,000 buyout (on top of the $4 million) could that have gotten it done? We'll never know, but that might have. Plus, it could have been a bargin; if CMW goes out and wins 13 games and shows he's healtly, he likely gets a 3 year deal somewhere in the $25 to $35 million range.BTW – when discussing Livan, how come no one mentions his legal issues. He might be in jail for his association with know drug dealers.





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