Nats’ Rizzo: ‘We’ll make decisions sooner rather than later’

By Bill Ladson

NEW YORK — Before the last game of the season against the Mets, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo talked to the local media, but didn’t say whether he was going to dismiss manager Matt Williams and some of his coaching staff.

Rizzo said the process will begin once the team flies out of New York on Sunday evening. The meetings will start as early as Monday.

“We’ll make decisions sooner rather than later about personnel on the field, off the field and in the front office,” Rizzo said. “We are not going to let people twist in the wind. We want to make out decisions and move on.”

Entering Spring Training, the Nationals were expected to be World Series contenders, especially after they signed right-hander Max Scherzer to a seven-year $210 million contract. But the Nationals will finish in second place behind the Mets and not reach the postseason. It didn’t help the team was hit by injuries and didn’t have a productive bullpen.

“We are going to investigate all those things after the season when we do our postseason analytics on what went wrong,” Rizzo said. “Suffice to say, no one is more disappointed than I am about the way the season transpired.

“But I see a lot of positives that come out of the season. We’re playing extremely hard at the end of season, even with very little on the line. I credit that to a bunch of professional players and a coaching staff that really cares. We’ve seen a lot of good things happen with our young players, who have emerged. We are going to bring some positives out of it. We are not happy about what happened [this season] and we are disappointed in it.”

Two players who most likely will not be back with the Nationals are right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and shortstop Ian Desmond. Both are free agents after the season and not close to re-signing with Washington. Rizzo called them two of his favorite players.

“They mean the world to me,” Rizzo said. “Personally, I was one of the instrumental guys when we drafted Jordan Zimmermann. We signed him, developed him. We had the controversial shutdown to extend his career and he pitched admirably and unbelievably for us. He is close to my heart.

“Ian Desmond is the rock of the organization. When I became the GM, he became the everyday shortstop and blossomed into one of the best players in all of baseball. They are in the last year of their decision making years. It will be difficult both personally and professionally. But that’s baseball. On both sides, we have made attempts to put these guys under contract for extended period of time. It hasn’t worked out to this point. I never shut any doors about any players. If this is the last game both of them play for us, I will remember them fondly as two of my most favorite players I’ve ever been around.”

1 Comment

ODE TO A SHORTSTOP
(or perhaps, ‘owed’ to a shortstop)

I Integrity (true integrity – this is not easy to find in sports these days)
A Anomaly (the work ethic and courage he has – at his age is RARE!)
N Nurturing (personally/professionally, to youth and fellow sportsmen)

D Determined (to play every day – not on the bench nursing injuries!)
E Example (all that is good in baseball; would want my children to follow his example)
S Sportsmanship; Sterling (just like his 3 Silver Slugger Awards)
M Makes no excuses (never blames any of his shortcomings on anything/anyone else)
O Outstanding (character! I can spot a fake from a mile away, and I know his is genuine)
N Natural (moves like he was born to play baseball!)
D Dedication (dedicated to family, faith, friends – and baseball)

Ian Desmond would probably not accept compliments easily, as he seems to be one of the most humble individuals in sports today – how refreshing! No doubt, he is loyal to the end. However, I am not so much… He deserved so much better than he got. I don’t know who is really calling the shots; or who the puppets are –but whoever you are: Shame on you! Shame on the NATS! What are you thinking?!
I will not be in league with an organization that treats their best and most devoted players this way; especially, while glorifying players that just don’t seem worth it. What they throw away and what they keep has been a mystery to me in the past – but this was the last straw. It broke my heart. The NATS will not get any more of my dimes. This fan is waiting to see who my new favorite team will be next season… I am following the heart and spirit of baseball.
Thank you, IAN, for the great baseball, and thank you for your CHARACTER!
You will look great in your new colors – whatever they are!

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