The Diamondbacks Mistake Could Be The Nats Gain

July 2, 2010

I’m taking my first day off of work next week in 2010, and decided to go with the whole week off. I won’t be posting anything on the site, but I’ll be updating the Twitter feed occasionally. Hopefully by the time I get back Cristian Guzman will be traded for something of value, but that’s my usual farewell for the last four years, so I’m not that hopeful.

On to the D-Backs

Arizona Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes was fired last night. Via Twitter, Buster Olney said:

Byrnes will be unemployed for about 0.2 seconds. First, the Diamondbacks have him under contract for the next five years, and secondly, he is very, very, very highly regarded — and now some team can hire him as a consultant until he gets his next GM job, and it will be on the D-Backs’ dime. Today I posted a poll of 12 GMs, and of those, 2 said that of all the other GMs in the game, they would hire Josh as their GM.

Josh Byrnes is talented, and while Rizzo was passed over for the job in Arizona in favor of Byrnes, I hope there’s no hard feelings. I think it would be incredible if the Nats were the team that hired Byrnes as a consultant. I personally know one of Byrnes’ talented young staffers, their Director of Baseball Operations was a grad school classmate of mine, Read the rest of this entry »


Welcome Davey Johnson

November 19, 2009

Last week, I mentioned that Davey Johnson was hired by the team. I guess it was a little premature, as he wasn’t officially hired until yesterday. He is now a senior adviser to the GM, Mike Rizzo. Everyone knows Johnson was a great manager. He won the World Series with the Mets in 1986, and won 2 division titles. He also won 2 division titles with the Red and took them eds to the NLCS in 1995. He took the Orioles to a division title and to the ALCS in 1997. In 14 seasons, he finished in first place in the division 5 times, in second place 7 times, and finished 3rd or below… you guessed it, just twice.

I think he is a great manager that can win with any type of team (crazies on the ’86 Mets, rough and tumble types on the 91 Reds, stars on the late 90s Orioles), so there is of course speculation that he’ll come back and manage after the team is ready to compete. But I’m not convinced he wants to do that anymore. Rather, I expect him to be a positive force around the team and the clubhouse. I don’t think his influence should be oversold. He will not be managing day to day, and probably won’t be speaking to the media nearly as much as Riggleman or Rizzo. But a guy like that being intimately involved in the team probably isn’t a bad idea.

Additionally, even at 66, he may be the best second baseman on the roster.

Waiting For Bobby

November 10, 2009

Riggleman2A week after the World Series, the Nationals still don’t have a manager for next season. That is, unless they intend to leave their interim manager as an interim manager indefinitely. By default, doesn’t that just make him a regular manager? Originally, I was going to title this posting “What Are They Waiting For?” as all the talk pointed to Jim Riggleman getting the job. That is, until I read the latest rumor from Ken Rosenthal.

Before that, I thought that if Riggleman was getting the job, why wait? Call a press conference and say that he’s got it. However, now Rosenthal says that while Riggleman is a finalist, so is Bobby Valentine. According to Rosenthal, “Interim manager Jim Riggleman is one of the finalists, Rizzo said. Bobby Valentine is the other, according to major-league sources.” So one of those is confirmed by Rizzo, Bobby V is more on the unconfirmed but highly suspected side.

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Some Medicine for a Rough Monday

September 28, 2009

You may be having a rough morning. The Nats lost their 103rd game over the weekend and were swept by an NL East rival. If you watched the game, you know that they had a great chance to win on Sunday but blew taking the lead late in the game (man on third nobody out). That translated into extra innings, and a loss. Apparently this town had some problems in other sports as well. So rather than spend the WHOLE day complaining or being upset, here are a few things about the Nats that should make you happy:

  1. Ryan Zimmerman – Signed to be a franchise player this past offseason, people criticized the deal, saying he wasn’t worth the same money as guys like Youkilis and Markakis. He’s really come on this year, still very young, he has hit 32 HRs and is hitting .288/.361/.519 with only a week to go. Over 100 runs and RBIs are nice, too. As for the guys he was compared to, his WARP of 6.6  puts him at #23 in the majors, Youkilis’ 5.6 is 46th and Markakis’ 1.2 is way down at 428 on the list. Zimmerman also has a higher VORP (49.6) than the other two (48.3 and 20.5). By the way, today’s Ryan’s birthday, he’s turning 25. Youkilis is 30, Markakis will be 26 in 2 months. Happy Birthday, Ryan!
  2. Mike Rizzo – There’s a real GM here. Isn’t it nice to hear this guy speak rather than the last one? The level of competence just seems off the charts compared to the previous GM, and compared to GM-types on other local teams. (Speaking of that – hey Daniel Snyder, look up the road to Baltimore. No, not the Ravens, the Orioles. Remember the meddling owner who had to get his hands in everything and always needed to have his opinion heard? He’s been a paragon of virtue since he hired Andy MacPhail. I’m just saying… you can do it!)
  3. Read the rest of this entry »

Live Blogging and More to Love on Rizzo

August 21, 2009

Sunday is Blogger Day II at the park. I’ll be there, hopefully doing some sort of live blog. So if you’re gonna watch Sunday’s game, check back in to the Nationals Review and hit refresh. You can see comments as we make ’em, from all of our incredulous reactions at blown calls to excitement at Dunninghammerman home runs. Yeah that’s my new nickname for the middle of the lineup. Dunninghammerman.

One more reason to love Mike Rizzo, from Boswell’s column in the Washington Post today:

Yes, scouting, for that is Rizzo’s deep root system. For the last decade, baseball has had a debate between those baseball lifers with an eye for the game — like Rizzo’s dad and Boras — and the younger, polished, generally more educated “Moneyball” types.

“I’m a hybrid,” says Rizzo, who then does his ode-to-Sabermetrics riff about the value of knowing Value Over Replacement Player and WHIP. “My dad still doesn’t buy it. But there’s a place for it. Why not use all the tools?… it’s not that tough.”

For me, evaluation is about stats the way it is about makeup, build and character. There all just tools and pieces and measurements. If you ignore EITHER (SABR people who think character means nothing, and old schools scouts who think the “new” stats are worthless) you’re missing the whole picture. Good to see the new GM is the kind of guy who seems to embrace it all.

Yahoo Does Mean Yokel

August 20, 2009

According to Yahoo! Sports yesterday, Mike Rizzo was going to be replaced by Jerry Dipoto as the Nationals’ GM. Of course, according to Google, the first definition of the word “Yahoo” is “Yokel: a person who is not very intelligent or interested in culture.” I wonder if it’s coincidence that that’s the first thing that comes up on the competitor’s search engine? On to the subject at hand, and what’s most important: that rumor was false, and Mike Rizzo got the job full time as General Manager and Senior VP of Baseball Operations. And there was much rejoicing.

As I said yesterday, I’d hire Rizzo full time, so I’m happy. Having not sat in any of the interviews, not known truly that much about the candidates, from an outsider looking in, my instincts tell me Rizzo is the man for the job. So it’s good to see that the ownership liked what they saw, and envisioned great things from him. Probably his biggest flaw, not being slick with the media, is less important when you have a guy like Stan Kasten working the room. He’s biggest strength, scouting, is very important for a team like the Nationals, who are in the building process. He also seems to have a knack for knowing who can play good baseball as opposed to who is just a talented athlete, which is nice to see.

Again, as I’ve already said, most of all I welcome the stability. Rizzo’s been in place now for 6 months, so making him permanent feels like a formality, except for all that noise yesterday.

Speaking of  Promotions

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Good Job, Rizzo, Please Leave

August 19, 2009

After pulling off a great trade with the Pirates, unloading some of the veteran talent and signing some pitcher, Mike Rizzo is reportedly being canned. Whaaaaaaa? Seems to me like if that you do everything that everyone expects of you, your job shouldn’t be in jeopardy. My first reaction is one of surprise and disappointment. After all, this just seems like more bumbling from a bumbling organization. But taking a step back, I realize that this decision was probably already made a few days ago, and the Strasburg signing wasn’t going to affect it either way. Additionally, I didn’t get to sit in those interview rooms, I don’t know what these guys are like, heck, I don’t even know what a GM in this organization is expected to do every day. So for me to say that Rizzo was the RIGHT hire and Dipito is the WRONG one is me going out of my element.

On the other hand, I am pretty bummed for Rizzo. He did all that was expected and more, which is alot for a Nats GM. He was classy, intelligent and a good representative for the franchise. I have a feeling he won’t have trouble finding work in baseball after his performance the last few months. He did alot more than just trade a few guys and sign a few others. He cleaned up the organization inside and made it a functioning one. It is amazing that his reward for all the work, regardless of the Strasburg deal, is walking papers. Then again, the Nats may have always seen him as a cleaner, not a permanent replacement, so I can’t say that this is completely insane.

Meanwhile, Who Is Jerry Dipito?

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