Results tagged ‘ Mike Rizzo ’

Riggleman, Rizzo confirm meeting with Guzman

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and interim manager Jim Riggleman said that Cristian Guzman is their shortstop for 2009, but have not ruled out switching him to second base for next season.

It was revealed by on Thursday that Rizzo and Riggleman had a private meeting with Guzman and asked him to switch to second base for the 2010 season.

Guzman, who did not give Rizzo and Riggleman an answer, was in shock and told them he never played second base in his life. The only other position Guzman has played other than shortstop was in the 2008 All-Star Game when he played third base for the National League team.

“We talked with Guzman about that and what I foresee happening and what Mike Rizzo foresees happening is that some move will probably be made for the good of the ballclub,” Riggleman said. “We came in last place. We’ve had a struggling year. We can’t just say, we’re in good shape, let’s go get ‘em

“We’ve got to try to improve and one of the things we’ve identified is that we need one more middle infielder. … If that middle infielder is a second baseman, then Guzman is a shortstop. If that middle infielder is a shortstop, then we need to see if we can make Guzman a second baseman because that’s a pretty good bat. We’ve got to keep our options open.”

Rizzo, who feels Guzman could prolong his career if he moves to second base, is looking for a defensive-oriented middle infielder.

“I’m looking more toward a really good defensive-oriented middle infielder because it helps our pitching staff,” Rizzo said. “I’m not going to rule out an offensive second baseman or shortstop because we don’t want to close any doors but what [are] looking for is a defensive guy, so we’re much stronger up the middle.”

Washington has been concerned about Guzman’s defense almost all season. They have been alarmed that Guzman is having problems going to his left on groundballs.

David Villavicencio contributed to this report.

Nats ask Guzman to play second base in 2010

The Nationals may not be looking to sign a free agent like second baseman Orlando Hudson this offseason.

It was learned that general manager Mike Rizzo and interim manager Jim Riggleman had a private meeting with shortstop Cristian Guzman on Thursday afternoon and asked him to switch to second base for the 2010 season.

Guzman, who did not give Rizzo and Riggleman an answer, was in shock and told them he never played second base in his life. The only other position Guzman has played other than shortstop was in the 2008 All-Star Game when he played third base for the National League team.

If Guzman agrees to the switch, that means the Nationals most likely will look for a shortstop during the offseason.

Will Ian Desmond get that chance to become the everyday shortstop? It’s hard to tell, but he got off to a quick start on Thursday night by going 2-for-4 and driving in four runs in his Major League debut against the Phillies.

Washington has been concerned about Guzman’s defense almost all season. They have been alarmed that Guzman is having problems going to his left on groundballs.

In the past, Riggleman believed that a foot injury has hampered Guzman’s ability to go to his left, but no one knows how Riggleman feels now because he was not available for comment.

Both Rizzo and Guzman declined to talk about the possible move to second.  

Nationals plan to revamp bullpen

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo revamped the bullpen twice this season because the relievers had problems getting hitters out.

The bullpen has improved after the second round of changes, but look for Rizzo to make more changes this offseason.

Entering Tuesday action against the Phillies, the Nationals’ relievers have a combined 5.17 ERA and 25 saves. Washington’s most productive relievers have been Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Mike MacDougal, but it needs more than those three guys to be successful in 2010.

The other five relievers on the 25-man roster — Jason Bergmann, Victor Garate, Jorge Sosa,  Ron Villone and Saul Rivera — will either not be back with the team next year or have to prove once again that they belong on the big club.

“I think it’s a major point of emphasis for the offseason,” Rizzo said. “We have gotten better. We kind of revamped the bullpen and the difficult time to do it is during the season. I think we have done a good job of that. We have many more capable hearts than we did at the beginning of the season. But I’m certainly not satisfied with it.”

Rizzo did not say which relievers he was interested in this offseason, but one person who could help the Nationals is right-hander Drew Storen, the team’s first-round pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

He had a phenomenal first season in professional baseball, going a combined 2-1 with a 1.95 ERA, eight saves and 49 strikeouts in 37 innings for Class A Hagerstown, Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. Storen is considered the Nationals’  closer of the future.

“We are starting the building process [in the Minor Leagues]. We have the makings of guys we can rely on,” Rizzo said.                   

Frank Thomas puts Mike Rizzo on baseball map

In 1989, Mike Rizzo was a Midwest and Southeast territorial scout for the White Sox. That year, Rizzo, then 28, scouted a player named Frank Thomas from Auburn University.

Rizzo insisted that the White Sox draft the right-handed hitting slugger in the first round, but Thomas was not a consensus pick among members of the organization

“I learned how to go after a player passionately, fight for your player and fight to draft the right guy at the right spot,” Rizzo said 20 years later.

The White Sox ended up drafting Thomas in the first round of the 1989 First-Year Player Draft. Not too long after that, Rizzo helped Chicago negotiate Thomas’ first professional contract.It was the first time Rizzo ever dealt with a player agent for such a large sum of money.

Thomas signed and ended up having a great career in the big leagues, hitting .301 with 521 home runs, 1,704 RBIs and two American League MVP awards.

“It was the shinning point of my career.” Rizzo said. 

What happens to Riggleman?

Now that Mike Rizzo has been named the general manager, the Nationals must decide who becomes the manager on a permanent basis.

Interim manager Jim Riggleman has done a good job since taking over the club after the All-Star break, going 17-16 entering Thursday’s action against the Rockies.

But the Nationals will go through a mangerial search during the offseason and then decide who will manage the club.

“I certainly like what Jim has done. I’m the one who made him the interim manager. It was my decision,”  Rizzo said. “He is an old-school baseball guy with a lot of new ideas. He is certainly going to be a candidate for the permanent managerial job, but that’s a discussion we are going to have after the season is over and throughout the winter. There is going to be a process.”               

Rizzo to be named general manager of Nationals

Mike Rizzo is no longer acting general manager of the Nationals. He will be named the permanent GM  at a news conference on Thursday at Nationals Park, according to a baseball source.

The Nationals made the decision that Rizzo was their man a couple of days ago.
In March, the Nationals named Rizzo acting general manager, two days after Jim Bowden resigned from the GM position. Rizzo has handled responsibilities related to the Major League, Minor League and scouting operations of the organization. Day-to-day inquiries related to player personnel have been directed to Rizzo, with team president Stan Kasten having key hands-on involvement.

Since taking the job, Rizzo has made upgrades to the bullpen by adding Mike McDougal, Jorge Sosa and Ron Villone, and he gained authorization to acquire outfielder Nyjer Morgan and left-hander Sean Burnett from the Pirates for outfielder Lastings Milledge and right-hander Joel Hanrahan. The deal with Pittsburgh has played out initially as a considerably favorable one for Washington. Rizzo was also in place during a switch at manager that has resulted in better performance this month.

Rizzo, as expected for any person in his role, was a visible figure in the efforts to get No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg signed before Monday’s midnight ET deadline.
“Mike keeps his energy level high,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “He always comes in fired up — always talking about today’s game and last night’s game. He is very much in tune to the strengths and weaknesses of the club. I really enjoy working with him.

“I think he has been very patient with the roster in terms of the position players, but has not hesitated to make moves when we were failing as a pitching staff. I think he was willing to go down to Syracuse and keep changing it up until we found the right mix. So it’s a great combination. He’s showed aggressiveness and patience.” 

Flores has setback with shoulder

Nationals catcher Jesus Flores was scheduled to be activated from the disabled list on Friday, but he suffered a setback with his right shoulder and will be shut down for at least three days.

Flores is expected to fly to  Birmingham, Ala., to see Dr. James Andrews to check on the shoulder. There is no timetable as to when Flores will return to action.

“Let’s let us evaluate what’s going on with the films and let the doctor do [his job] before we talk about the seriousness of the issue,” acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. “There has been a setback. You will be updated when we know more over the next few days.

“We got an MRI and we are going to evaluate it. We’re going to get a second opinion for him on Monday.” 

Flores suffered the shoulder injury against the Diamondbacks on May 9. In the bottom of the seventh inning, the backstop was hit on the shoulder by a Chris Young foul tip. Flores was in pain for several minutes, but he remained in the game before being taken out in the bottom of the ninth inning.

– Bill Ladson and Michael Radano

MacDougal set to make decision

The Nationals must make a decision on right-hander Mike MacDougal, who is currently pitching for Triple-A Syracuse. They could bring him up to the big leagues as early as Tuesday or let him become a free agent.

In fact, MacDougal has an out clause that could make him a free agent after Monday’s game against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. There is a possibility MacDougal could stay with Syracuse.

I saw acting general manager Mike Rizzo before the game and he told me MacDougal has not made a decision. Entering Monday’s action, MacDougal has given up one run in 6 1/3 innings for Syracuse.     

Nationals interested in Crow

Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo acknowledged on Friday that he had talks recently with advisors Randy and Alan Hendricks about the possibility of selecting their client, right-hander Aaron Crow, in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.

Washington drafted Crow last year, but both parties couldn’t reach an agreement by the midnight ET deadline on Aug. 15.  

This time, Crow must sign a re-consent form to allow the Nationals to select him on June 9.

The Nationals have been scouting Crow for several weeks. He is now pitching for the Fort Worth Cats of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.

By not signing Crow last year, the Nationals will get the No. 10 pick in this year’s Draft as compensation.

Rizzo, Boras meet at Dodger Stadium

Nationals acting general manager Mike Rizzo and agent Scott Boras met on Wednesday at Dodgers Stadium, but most of the discussion was not about San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who has Boras as an advisor. 

According to a baseball source, Rizzo informed Boras that he was going to scout the right-hander on Friday. Rizzo and Boras did not talk about a contract for Strasburg. 

The Nationals have the first pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, and Strasburg is expected to be their top choice provided that he is healthy on June 9.

Published reports indicated the Nationals will not be scared off by the price tag — believed to be $50 million-plus — for the right-hander. But the source expects the negotiations between the Nationals and Boras to go down to the wire.


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