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Rizzo on Strasburg, Roark and offseason trades

Sep 19, 2013, 6:34 PM EDT

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo doesn’t speak with the media often, but when he does it’s always a good opportunity to get a read on the franchise barometer. As the guy who makes roster decisions, he’s always evaluating and always looking ahead to the future.

Rizzo has been pleased with the Nationals’ run over the last six weeks, is thrilled with the development of Tanner Roark and says he isn’t concerned with Stephen Strasburg’s forearm tightness. Because he covered so many topics, here are highlights of the conversation we had with Rizzo in transcript form:

Are you concerned with Stephen Strasburg’s forearm injury? 

Rizzo: I’ve been told by the doctors not to be concerned, so I’m not gonna be concerned. Until told differently.

Who decides if he pitches again this year? 

Rizzo: We make all our decisions here on the Davey level but there’s input by the medical staff and by me. it’s a group decision. Why don’t we find out how he did today playing catch and I’ll have a better feel for what’s going on.

How pleased are you with the development of Tanner Roark?

Rizzo: Oh, very pleased. I think it’s a great story of scouting and player development. Our scouts identified a player that wasn’t a high-profile guy and we made a trade for him, and our player development guys polished him up and gave him the training to reach his potential. He’s a guy that we feel has pitched extremely really well for us and a guy that we’re going to continue to evaluate and monitor through this year and beyond.”

There’s always a reason why we draft a guy, we trade for a guy, that kind of thing. But  because it’s such a group decision, we’ll just keep it as scouting and player development … You can see it in a lot of the smaller deals we’ve done. Everybody talks about the big deals like  a Ramos and that kind of thing, but we’ve done a lot of nice deals that are on a smaller venue like Walters and Morse and those guys. The Sean Burnett guys, that type of thing. We lean heavy on our scouting staff and our player development staff, and I think you see the fruits of their labor and they do a pretty good job.

Will Roark compete for a starting spot next year?

Rizzo: Oh sure, he’s going to come to spring training and compete for a job, but we’ve got a deep stable of pitchers and a lot of guys with some power arms. It’s gonna be a fun competition for those 12 opening day pitching spots, I’m sure.

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  1. rogieshan - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Rizzo loves his “power arms”, but if given the opportunity, Roark could prove to be an efficient workhorse for this team. Hopefully, the GM isn’t already thinking about flipping him.

    • dgourds - Sep 20, 2013 at 2:37 AM

      Roark routinely hits 94. Yet just because he hits spots, sinks and cuts his two seamer and commands curves he’s not considered a power pitcher. Weird. I think he’s just a really good pitcher, right up there with the top three. Absolutely love the guy,

      • nats128 - Sep 20, 2013 at 7:18 AM

        Yah, I dont get it if he is trying to say Roark isnt a power pitcher.

  2. naterialguy - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    he kinda looks like a grown up Charlie Brown with those shirts he wears.

  3. Section 222 - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    I’m very encouraged by what Rizzo says. He seems to think the Nats have to be better next year, and standing pat isn’t going to cut it. Good for him. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with. Another Gio type trade would be just fine with me.

  4. laddieblahblah - Sep 20, 2013 at 6:05 AM

    To think Rizzo got Roark (plus Ryan Tatusko) for what was left of Christian Guzman. And he just picked up Matt Spann from the Rays for, basically, nothing that the Nats either wanted or needed (De Jesus).

    There are still PTBNLs that have not yet been named from the Hairston deal:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/07/08/nationals-acquire-scott-hairston-from-cubs/2499047/

    Spann effectively replaces Pineyro from that deal, so Rizzo ends up with both Hairston and a Pineyro replacement in Spann. Or maybe Spann ends up being the PTBNL that the Nats still owe Chicago for Hairston, which would mean Rizzo ends up getting Hairston for what amounts to Pineyro and former Cubbie De Jesus, who Rizzo has (presto-chango) turned into Spann. And the Cubbies still owe the Nats their own PTBNL as part of the Hairston deal.

    When all the dust eventually clears, Rizzo always seems to be a step ahead of everyone else. I love watching the guy operate, and I would never buy a used car from him. Never.

    Would the Twins take back Tatusko and Roark for the rights to Guzman? Is there a reporter up north unkind enough to ask the Twins GM that one?

    • nats128 - Sep 20, 2013 at 7:20 AM

      Laddie, the Guzman deal was with the Texas Rangers.

      • laddieblahblah - Sep 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM

        Whoops! Right you are. The Nats snookered the Twins out of Denard Span and, especially, Wilson Ramos, not Roark. The Twins, Rangers and Cubbies have all been victimized by Mr. Rizzo. The Rangers are just another notch on the belt.

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