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Rizzo on the Fielder negotiations

Jan 25, 2012, 10:53 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Mike Rizzo helps Gio Gonzalez put on a Nationals jersey for the first time.

The Nationals did make a run at signing Prince Fielder over the last month, but pulled out of negotiations once it was clear the free agent first baseman would get a contract far beyond what they were willing to offer.

"I had parameters set in my mind what the threshold was for the player," general manager Mike Rizzo said today following a news conference to introduce left-hander Gio Gonzalez. "And once it exceeded that threshold, we felt like if the market didn't come back to us, we were out of it."

Rizzo declined to reveal what those parameters were, or whether he ever actually made a formal offer. However high the Nationals were willing to go, it proved no match for the nine-year, $214 million package Fielder wound up accepting yesterday from the Tigers.

"Prince is a terrific player and got paid like the superstar that he is," Rizzo said. "Congratulations to the Detroit Tigers. They just got a lotRead more ยป

  1. Alex - Jan 25, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    "We're going to do what we have to do to win," Rizzo added. "But it's going to have to work for us in the long term." This is why I'm glad the Nats didn't sign Fielder.

  2. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    I actually agree with Rizzo & the Lerners on this – I would have loved to have Fielder, but not for a nine year contract.

  3. JayB - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Does getting a lead off hitter, a Center Fielder and a bench that is not the worst in baseball count as "doing what we have to to win" Mike?

  4. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Jay B, why don't you tell us where the cf/lead off store is so we can pick one up on the way to spring training.

  5. JayB - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    You do not get them on the way to Spring Training….that has been the problem with Rizzo's approach from day one. You get them in November or July 31 the year before. Rizzo has failed miserably with this "stop by at the Store on they way to Spring Training.Thanks for making the point for me.

  6. Avar - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:35 PM

    Seriously JayB, improving by 10 wins, 2 years in a row with a core of really strong players in the pipeline and only one questionable contract. I mean, what did you actually expect Rizzo to have done by now? And don't go back to Bowden days, Rizzo was not calling the shots then. Of course he has made some mistakes. Every GM makes mistakes, because their job is to predict the future and that can't be done. I'd love to see you pick players for a few years and then let us sit here and criticize you for not winning the world series. I enjoy your posts but you really need some perspective.

  7. Avar - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    So, which CF was he supposed to get in November and what was he supposed to give up for them?Again, if improving by 10 wins two years in a row is "failing miserably", then you clearly can't be satisfied by anything.

  8. JayB - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    I expect him to not wait till Feb and pick up whatever is left over to fill key roster spots each year. Yes he is much better than Bowden….so what does that prove. He still signs Adam Kennedy, Matt Stairs types on the cheap to fill key roles….that is just completely avoidable.

  9. Unkyd - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Avar: Here, Here! I wake up, every day, more impressed with Rizzo…

  10. JayB - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. JayB - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    It is not hard to move up 20 wins in two years and still be under .500…..you need to look at the starting point….worst team in baseball. Of course they have more wins but…….If this team had a lead off hitter and a bench last year they would have been 5-7 games over .500…..The issues as still there and Rizzo has not addressed them again yet again for the 3rd year running. It is not that hard over a 3 year period to get a CF and Bench and a lead off hitter with an OBP higher than .300

  12. Avar - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    You didn't answer my question. What CF should have acquired and what should he have given up for him? You can't say he is horrible for not doing that if you can't say how he should have done it.

  13. pwilly - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    For some it's easier to complain then to actually look at the facts and come to a rational conclusion. Sort of like a 2-year old. "I want my Fielder NOW!"

  14. gonatsgo - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    You can't spend big on every single position. The way you get key people — when they are available– is to save on other positions whenever possible. Do you really want the nats to spend big on the bench? You need to wait for veteran guys to realize that they aren't going to get a starting job and they need to sign with someone. The whole centerfielder thing is so overblown at this point – no, I do NOT want the nats to break the bank with dollars or prospects in panic mode to just grab the first guy available. Contracts are soooo long these days that you are really stuck with them. I want Rizzo to bide his time, watch the market and then find a guy that fits our team and is a good value and doesn't compromise the upcoming years.

  15. JayB - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    M. Bourne from the astros for the same type of deal the Braves gave up……simple

  16. JayB - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    As it is Rizzo is going to lose out on the Top CF FA next winter with the same line he always uses…I had a value for the player and others paid more….MIKE the Value for the player is what the market will bare…CF and Lead off are key parts of a winning team. He can not keep putting it off and putting it off.

  17. Anonymous8 - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    Mark, one of your posters earlier wrote the same thing. How come Steve had the exact story and you are just getting it now? For that matter NatsEnquirer who isn't even an official Nats blogger has had the right story all along.@Mark The Nationals never intended to get involved in the Fielder sweepstakes when the offseason began. Somewhere along the way, though, it began to appear the slugger could be had for significantly fewer years and dollars than originally expected

  18. SpingfieldNatsFan1 - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    I like the way Rizzo handled the PF negotiations…it was either going to occur on the Nats terms or not at all. That said, I'm betting that the Nats are going to dump BIG money on a centerfield FA next year. They see the need for a lead off CF and I'm willing to bet we'll see a Werth-sized contract made to one of next year's free agent class. Let's just hope the Braves don't extend any contracts in the near future….

  19. Gonat - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    Steve M. said… I don't think at first anyone thought the Nats would be bidding on Fielder. When the takers were few out there, why not tell Boras you will take 3 to 5 years and see if you catch the prize while everyone is watching.We all knew Prince was in DC "sightseeing" and we all knew Boras met with Mr. Lerner at the owners meeting. The Nats were in it with the safety net for Boras if he fell and couldn't get a better deal. The Nats helped Boras once again.I don't know how Boras pulled it off. Its insanity. How do you convince a business to sign a 9 year lease and throw away money on a machine that you know will be obsolete in 6 to 7 years? Answer: Mr. Smoke meet Mr. Mirrors January 25, 2012 9:58 AM__________________________________Anon8, I think you may be referring to this post. For some reason, Mark has been in denial. Everything Rizzo did this was perfect. If Detroit didn't jump in, you never know.I believe in fairness when judging performance and an A+ to Rizzo on this one. I was upset at Rizzo on the Gio trade but after seeing Gio I have to say its a good day to be a Nats fan.Also enjoyed Feel Wood's link of the Amber Theoharris blog. Like I said, its a good day to be a Nats fan.

  20. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    JayB you said it's not hard to move up 20 wins in two years. I think it's harder than you think. According to Baseball Reference since the 2000 season it's only been done 16 times by 13 teams. The Cubs, Arizona and SD have done it twice. The Nats, Mets, Phillies, Giants, Rays, Twins, Indians, Rockies, Blue Jays and Tigers have done it once. Of those 13 teams 7 have been to the World Series during that same time frame and 3 have won world championships. Your glass can be half full or half empty. That is your choice. But this team is moving in the right direction.

  21. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    M. Bourne from the astros for the same type of deal the Braves gave up……simpleIt's always simple with JayB. Cuz JayB is a simpleton. And an angry one at that.

  22. Unkyd - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    I don't know…. From my seat, it just seems like many different folks were speculating…all over the board…some of them were bound to get it right, mire or less. I never got, from Mark, that there was no way in he'll that PF would wind up here… just that the FO wasn't gonna go 10 years with him. And did anyone really think Boras wouldn't get what he got? In the end, Mark said PF wouldn't be here, and he's not. And Natslady is the only one who thought Detroit was in… I'm sensing some here feel….betrayed, because Mark didn't read this to us, chapter and verse, as it unfolded? How does that make any sense?

  23. JayB - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    I do not care much about PF….I think we should have focused on the stated needs and filled them by now……you all said if they were not addressed by Feb then I could rant….well tick tock….it is yet again a year without key holes filled with quality….instead another last minute dumpster dive for CF/Lead Off and bench……too bad Willie Harris is gone…you know that would be the type of Pinch Hitter Rizzo would have gotten cheap in March.

  24. Unkyd - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    ….tick tock….. (shaking head…smiles) you're a trip, JayB… Looking forward to that rant, next week :D

  25. Lance Link Secret Chimp - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    I wonder if Boras got the Tigers to bid against themselves.This blog is lacking in only two things:1) requiring a a pseudonym to post2) an ignore function.

  26. Unkyd - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    ….waddyawant, Mata…..

  27. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    JayB, You and Boswell are made for each other. Both MLB GM wannabee's. If you are soooo smart why don't you send your resume to the Nats front office? Maybe they'll hire you and we can see just how you really stack up?

  28. Avar - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:00 AM

    Pretty sure starting pitching was a stated need and pretty sure Gio Gonzalez is not a dumpster dive. But, Michael Bourn is a great example. OK, now we're actually having a discussion, see that isn't so bad, is it? I thought the Braves got Bourn dirt cheap, they didn't give up any Peacock/Millone type proposects. I was disappointed Rizzo didn't offer more than that. I would love to know what Rizzo offered. Here's the thing though, I don't know, neither do you. Sure, it's tempting to say – we could/should have offered more. But, who knows what went down. I'm disappointed we didn't get Bourn, he's a consistent 4+ WAR guy. But, we didn't get him. We got Gonzalez, that's excellent. Hopefully next off-season we get a stud CF.My overall point is just that the team has massively improved since Rizzo took over and the stance that he has done a horrible job cannot be supported by facts.I mean have you never failed to get something you wanted even when you tried hard for it? It happens dude, especially to MLB GMs. If we had traded Bernadina and 3 prospects for Bourn then watched his OBP go .321 after the trade, you would be here ranting that we overpaid him. Especially if we re-signed him for $6.8m like the Braves just did.

  29. water23 - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    For all those wonering what went down with the bourbon trade http://mobile.businessweek.com/magazine/anatomy-of-a-baseball-trade-10202011.htmlMethinks eizzo was the second party.

  30. Avar - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    For what it's worth, I looked up CFs w/ OBP > .350 last year. Want to guess how many? 6. Full disclosure – Bourn was not one of the 6 but was close at .349.Here are some teams whose CF had an OBP well below .350 – Detroit, Tampa, Milwaukee and Arizona.In other words, half the playoff teams had a need at CF that their GM didn't fill before the last off-season.There's more than one way to skin a cat.

  31. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:52 AM

    Mark, thanks for the insight. It was interesting that the reporters seemed to stay away from this topic during the time with Gio, only to get quotes from Rizzo afterwards. Was it understood that Rizzo would talk about Prince later, or was it purely a courtesy shown to Gio?

  32. Joe Seamhead - Jan 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    I honestly didn't think that Rizzo had any interest in Prince.I was wrong.

  33. Donald - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    JayB — I agree in part with your assessment around getting a lead-off CF, but in fairness to Rizzo, he hasn't been putting all of his eggs in one basket on this, either. He did get Brian Goodwin, Michael Taylor, Corey Brown and Eury Perez. Granted, they will take some time to develop, but we were never going to compete in 2010 or 2011. We probably aren't quite there in 2012 either, even with a CF. So if he gets someone by 2013, or one of those prospects is ready by then, I'd say he did just fine.

  34. Roberto - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    "For what it's worth, I looked up CFs w/ OBP > .350 last year. Want to guess how many? 6.Full disclosure – Bourn was not one of the 6 but was close at .349."Thanks for doing the research, Avar. I was thinking about the question while reading previous comments. There aren't that many geniune two-way CFs out there and teams are loathe to part wit them for obvious reasons. I can't help but wonder if, one, front-line starting pitching wasn't a priority and, two, Rizzo thought that if he was going to cash in prospect chips he would be prefer to address that need first. You can only trade Peacock and Cole once — if you use one or both of them to get a Bourn, then you don't have them to get Gonzalez who, IMO, is a much more important piece in the Nats' future.

  35. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    @ JB We have some of the stingiest owners in baseball. Sure they shelled out for Werth (i mean Nats payroll was one of the lowest at the time and still is), but they are usually real hard asses when it comes for spending. You think Rizzo has all control but he doesnt hold the purse strings. Im sure he wouldnt mind going after international players etc…but the issue is if he was given the budget for it (which I doubt)And who exactly did he miss that you wanted the Nats Bench? It isnt fantasy baseball, there are many other factors that play into a GM's decision, with a few of them outside of his control.

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