Rizzo On Gonzalez, Pitching, Center Field, Bench

The Nationals and Athletics made the Gio Gonzalez trade official today, with Derek Norris, Tom Milone, Brad Peacock, and A.J. Cole going to Oakland as expected. Washington also received Robert Gilliam in the swap. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo discussed the trade and other topics with reporters during a conference call this evening, so let's recap…

  • The two sides started discussing Gonzalez "probably over a month ago," and they first exchanged names just before the winter meetings. Rizzo said he met with the Athletics several times in Dallas, and they increased their efforts to acquire Gio after losing out on Mark Buehrle.
  • "Being left-handed was really a key for us," said the GM, noting that Gonzalez can slot between power righties Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg in the rotation. "[The trade] gives us a young core of starting pitchers at the major league level."
  • "To acquire a player like this you need to give up some painful players in return," said Rizzo. "[It took] four players that are near and dear to our heart … They'll be sorely missed."
  • When asked about Gonzalez's walk rate – career 4.44 BB/9 and an AL worst 4.05 BB/9 in 2011 – Rizzo said "we see his walks trending in the right direction, we see him having general command, and as he progresses into his career, he's going to improve on his command each and every year." Gio has improved his walk rate every year of his big league career, and the team believes the "changing of leagues will positively affect [his] performance."
  • Rizzo said they like Gonzalez's "moxie and attitude on the mound," and noted that they've clocked his fastball as high as 95 mph using the PitchFX system.
  • "We feel we have great depth in the starting rotation," said the GM, noting that Tom Gorzelanny and Craig Stammen can start with Sammy Solis and Alex Meyer representing the next wave of pitching prospects. "We feel that we're still very deep in starting pitchers. We like the talent level of our pitching staff, and it's going to be great competition to see who comes out of [Spring Training] as the starting five."
  • Rizzo confirmed that Solis has not yet visited Dr. Yocum about his sore elbow due to strep throat. Once that clears up, he will have his elbow checked out.
  • "We're always looking to improve our ball club," added Rizzo, who said they will "certainly be aggressive" if the opportunity to acquire a long-term center fielder via trade or free agency presents itself.
  • When asked if Adam LaRoche will be the Nationals first baseman in 2012, Rizzo replied flatly: "That is correct." The Nationals have been mentioned as a possible suitor for Prince Fielder this offseason.
  • "We'd like to improve our bench. We'd like to improve our depth in the minor leagues to help us if need be at the Major League level," said Rizzo when asked what else he'd like to accomplish this offseason.


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44 Comments on "Rizzo On Gonzalez, Pitching, Center Field, Bench"


ironnat
3 years 8 months ago

“[The trade] gives us a young core of starting pitchers at the major league level.”  That’s the key.  They gave up a lot of “potential” talent and I am sure a couple of those guys are going to have stellar careers, however I believe DC fans were getting a little impatient on the rebuilding process and wanted something more than just baby steps.  I still think there is another big shoe to drop.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 8 months ago

Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them suddenly up the bidding for Fielder. Gio Gonzalez gives them a potentially solid arm in the front of the rotation. They may have overpaid but the Nats are better off. All else being equal I would be surprised if the Nats don’t go down to the wire for a playoff spot.

Does anyone know if the second wild card is being added in this season or next season when the Astros move to the AL.

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

Yeah but if you get Fielder, Michael Morse has to play the outfield for the rest of his career, we just need a centerfielder so by 2013 you can have an infield with Ramos C., Morse 1B, Rendon 2B, Espinosa SS, Zimmerman 3B, Harper and Werth in the corner spots.

brett
3 years 8 months ago

Exactly. I still would like WAS to go after Parra. However, there should be quite a few good CF next year in FA

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

I like Parra too and your right next year has good centerfield free agents. And again, Michael Taylor is gonna be a stud.

brett
3 years 8 months ago

I think Goodwin is probably the CF of the future if Rizzo has his way

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

I heard if we didnt sign Goodwin he would have been a top 5 pick next year.

brett
3 years 8 months ago

I really think it is a testament to the scouting and development staff that despite the package we gave up, we still have an above average farm system 

johnsilver
3 years 8 months ago

LaRoche’s approach at the plate have to wonder how long he will be able to even go with it when he does get himself fully healthy…

that flat footed style, bat held so low.. It is an awful awkward like stance and he has to do a lot of movement for a guy heading to early-mid 30’s to generate power, plus it’s not like he is/was a glove guy standing out there at 1B.

He really is going to need to change that style pretty soon have a feeling, his arms always were his power and it took a LOT of movement with them before to generate the power.. Just don’t see him keeping it up much longer without using his legs more and changing his stance considerably.

hallwagner
3 years 8 months ago

adam laroche is one of the best fielding 1st basemen in the mlb

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

Thank you.

johnsilver
3 years 8 months ago

Wouldn’t go that far there now.. Might have been a bit far when said he was not a glove guy, cause it’s his bat people want him for..

Then lets not go put him into the category of tex, Kotchman, Gonzalez, Youkillis and a few others could name at 1B.

hallwagner
3 years 8 months ago

i would

Guest
3 years 8 months ago

He’s actually pretty close…a lot closer than people give him credit for.

In fact, he is a lot better than people give him credit for.

Guest
3 years 8 months ago

He’s actually pretty close…a lot closer than people give him credit for.

In fact, he is a lot better than people give him credit for.

Josh Gedert
3 years 8 months ago

Geez, Rizzo makes it sound like the Nationals former prospects died or something..

3 years 8 months ago

improve their depth in the minors?! so they trade 4 guys for a pitcher who is just like Dice-K?? interesting!

grownice
3 years 8 months ago

What? DiceK? Odd comparison.

Fifty_Five
3 years 8 months ago

Obviously if you trade your top prospects, you’re going to want to fill that void a little bit. Don’t see why you think thats so interesting. And Dice K? really?

3 years 8 months ago

bc he traded his depth for what?! someone proven to be great??? NO!! haha thats why its interesting

3 years 8 months ago

compare their stats bro. im a baseball sports writer. im not a complete fool haha

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

Dont say your a baseball writer and than write this. Please dont.

3 years 8 months ago

Why not? He didn’t say he was a good one.

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

Good point.

brett
3 years 8 months ago

Gio has dominated for 2 years and has won 15 games each year on a below .500 team. He is a very good young pitcher. 

3 years 8 months ago

Very good trade for the Nats. But “dominated?” That’s tough. He dominates at home, in a terrible offensive division, in a huge park. Against teams with real offenses (Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers) he gets killed. A very good pitcher, but not as good as the number suggest. At least he’s a work horse.

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

Its not that bad of a division because he doesnt get to face the A’s, Texas and the Angels arent that bad.

3 years 8 months ago

Texas was great, but the Mariners and Angels were terrible last year. If you have Vernon Wells batting in the middle of your lineup, that’s a problem. I think he’s a very good pitcher, but not an ace.

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

I always liked Gio, he was one of my favorite players so I am probably not the right person to ask.

Guest
3 years 8 months ago

He is a likeable guy ( I was actually listening to an interview with him on MLB Network radio and right when they hung up they announced they just heard about the trade, that was my happiest grocery store shopping of my life).

3 years 8 months ago

not at all…compare their stats per game…walks and era and k’s…go ahead check it out

brett
3 years 8 months ago

If I’m Rizzo; I may try to make a trade for a guy like Parra from Arizona. He could help solve the CF problem. 

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 8 months ago

Isn’t Jayson Werth going to be the center fielder long term once Harper is promoted?

brett
3 years 8 months ago

I  think a few things are in the air. Long term, they dont want Werth in Center

Guest
3 years 8 months ago

Not long term…not sure the exact plan to be honest, he could go there as a stop gate.  That wouldn’t be smart to put a guy in his mid 30s in center for the long run haha

johnsilver
3 years 8 months ago

Why not just sign Crisp??

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

Yeah I agree we need a centerfielder, and Laroche isnt why we shouldnt get Fielder, Michael Morse is the reason, in the long run he is gonna be the first baseman with Ramos, Rendon, Espinosa, Zimmerman, with Harper and Werth in left and right, so we just need a Cfer.

3 years 8 months ago

What about Harper in CF? With that speed and arm, it wouldn’t surprise me.

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

I also like Michael Taylor or Brian Goodwin in the future. But I think Harper can handle it too.

3 years 8 months ago

He looks like he’s gonna be one hell of a player. He even needed contacts this past season. How scary is that for other teams? He didn’t even know he couldn’t see.

nats2012
3 years 8 months ago

He is a beast.

johnsilver
3 years 8 months ago

2 years out of 8 full seasons had injuries and is 32YO?

That makes a lot of sense.

Then players, or people in general who play all out would mean little to you anyway unless they just run off all the time.. Like Guillen.

johnsilver
3 years 8 months ago

Quit talking about things you know nothing about.

Crisp was a 4th outfielder in 2008 with Boston, WAS injured in 2009-2010 and played in 136 games last year. he also was a 4th OF during much of his tenure (or latter) with the Sox in general.

i make a lot of mistakes here for sure, but please.. cease this nonsense when you are 100% acting like a dolt where you know nothing about what you are posting.

johnsilver
3 years 8 months ago

Quit talking about things you know nothing about.

Crisp was a 4th outfielder in 2008 with Boston, WAS injured in 2009-2010 and played in 136 games last year. he also was a 4th OF during much of his tenure (or latter) with the Sox in general.

i make a lot of mistakes here for sure, but please.. cease this nonsense when you are 100% acting like a dolt where you know nothing about what you are posting.