Rizzo On Trades, Leadoff Hitter, Draft, Harper

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo sat down for a Q&A with MLB.com's Bill Ladson, so let's round things up…

  • Rizzo didn't rush out to make a trade following Ryan Zimmerman's injury because "panic shows a lack of confidence in the rest of the players." He believes they have a strong bench with Laynce Nix, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Alex Cora, but unfortunately those players were pressed into everyday duty.
  • The Nationals are "always looking" for ways to improve their starting pitching and want front-line starters. They're also looking for "two-way players," guys that can contribute on offense and defense.
  • They want someone within the organization to step up and be the leadoff hitter, a role that Jayson Werth has filled recently. "If we can’t find that guy within the organization, we will look elsewhere."
  • "We are both buyers and sellers," said Rizzo. "We always have been, always will be. If we have a chance to acquire a player that is going to help us in 2011 and beyond, we are not going to shy away from that. If there is a trade to be made that will help us down the road, we will trade a player away to get a piece for the future. But we are not in sell mode. There are a lot of games to play, a lot of games to win. We are here to win games."
  • Rizzo says the Nationals are doing well when it comes to signing their draft picks. They have about 15 players with pending contracts, and they are in communication with their top picks.
  • As you'd expect, the Nationals are very happy with Bryce Harper's development, and Rizzo emphasized that he "will be developed at a rate that allows him to be an impactful guy."
  • Manager Jim Riggleman's option for 2012 will be addressed "when it needs to be addressed."

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