Results tagged ‘ Mike Rizzo ’
Hello everyone. I suppose a “Happy New Year” is still in order as this is my first blog of 2012.
We are only 26 days shy of pitchers and catchers reporting to Viera for Spring Training. It really is coming quick.
But not quick enough!
If our fans are half as excited about ’12 as I am, we’re in for a loud and enjoyable summer at Nationals Park.
With this first blog of ’12, I want to talk about Mike Rizzo’s last major strike of 2011. Namely, the acquisition of Gio Gonzalez from the A’s on Dec. 23.
We are thrilled to have Gio join our family. We’ve heard nothing but fantastic things about him as a pitcher, teammate and a person.
I am excited to meet Gio, as he is flying into town this afternoon. Later tonight, I’ll meet him and his family at the Caps-Bruins game at the Verizon Center.
Here is what we know. Gio is a front-line starter. Those do not grow on trees.
What’s better: Gio is a 26 year-old front-line starter who throws left-handed. Those too don’t grow on trees. And if they did, they’d reside only in the nation’s finest botanical gardens.
This is a 26 year-old pitcher who won 31 games and posted a 3.17 ERA for the A’s the last 2 seasons. While pitching for Oakland in 2010-11, Gio’s A’s went 36-29 (.554). When anyone else started for the Athletics in those same two seasons, they finished 119-140 (.459).
A South Florida native, Gio’s return to the East Coast and his exposure to our growing fan base will provide his system (and ours) a healthy jolt. Couple these factors with a good-old fashioned pennant race and there is good reason to believe Gio’s talents can rise to new heights.
Gio, 26, joins John Lannan, Ross Detwiler and Tom Gorzelanny as left-handed options in Davey Johnson’s rotation stable. Not bad weapons to have, especially in lieu of the annual 72 intradivision contests featuring either Jason Heyward, Ryan Howard, Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Logan Morrison or Chase Utley.
This was hardly one of those spur-of-the-moment trades your read about from baseball’s glory days. I know Mike Rizzo and his baseball ops brain trust were working on this deal for at least two months. I sat in on a good number of the internal discussions, some of which took place during the Winter Meetings in Dallas.
It was tough to give up A.J. Cole, Tommy Milone, Derek Norris and Brad Peacock. All four of these youngsters possess considerable talents that made them desirable, not only by the A’s, but numerous other teams. And they are fantastic young men. We’ll be watching from afar where those talents take them and we thank them for their efforts and wish them nothing but the best. That said, I am glad they will be in the American League, at least in the immediate future!
As all our fans know, we have placed an inordinate emphasis on scouting and player development since coming on the scene in 2006. This is precisely what we had in mind upon crafting our organizational philosophy.
Think about the Gio trade. As stated, we (begrudgingly) dealt four talented players to Oakland. But digging deeper reminds us that none of the four were acquired with premium draft picks. Rather, they were 4th- (Cole, Norris), 10th- (Milone) and 41st-round (Peacock) selections.
Gio Gonzalez will toe the rubber for your Nationals during the first home series of the season (April 12-15 vs. Cincinnati) with the collective wisdom of our scouts and the diligence of our development staff.
So, I salute Mike and his various staffs for “a job well done,” which was essentially six years in the making. Yes, six years.
Remember, Brad Peacock was scouted and drafted in 2006.
Until our next blog meeting …
There is something refreshingly cathartic about the cycle of years and seasons. The end of the old always brings with it the beginning of a new era, another chance to be better than before. While this is true of every baseball season, it is no stretch to say that the buzz — the excitement, the energy, the hope — that is floating around the 2012 Nationals is unlike anything that Washington has seen since the team moved to The District in 2005.
This hope does not come without good reason. There is the prospect of a healthy Stephen Strasburg electrifying the top of the rotation every five days. He will be followed by two more dynamic, budding stars in Jordan Zimmermann and the recently acquired Gio Gonzalez, all three 26 years-old or younger. Solid, sturdy veterans Chien-Ming Wang and John Lannan will be in the mix with the promising Ross Detwiler, bringing stability to the back end of the starting staff.
From there, another set of power arms takes over in the bullpen, led by 2011 All-Star Tyler Clippard and anchored by closer Drew Storen, who in his rookie campaign became just the second National ever to notch 40 saves in a season. Add in flamethrower Henry Rodriguez, who regularly touches triple digits on the radar gun, and you’ve got three more exciting arms, again all under the age of 27.
In the lineup, the Nationals will look for a healthy year from Ryan Zimmerman. DC’s under-the-radar superstar began last season hot before suffering an abdominal strain that hampered his production throughout the year. Still just 27 years of age, the third baseman will look to return to his form of the previous five seasons, during which he averaged 37 doubles, 23 home runs and 89 RBI while playing in an average of 145 games.
Jayson Werth, meanwhile, will look to reestablish himself as the player who received MVP votes in each of his two seasons prior to joining the Nationals. While he reached the 20-home run plateau for the fourth consecutive season in 2011, a return to form across the board in his numbers would make the middle of the Nationals lineup that much more formidable to opposing pitching staffs.
Joining that pair will be 2011’s breakout star, Michael Morse. The numbers don’t lie — Morse hit .303 with 36 doubles, 31 home runs, 95 RBI and a .550 slugging percentage. But to understand just how good Morse’s season was, consider the following: he had more doubles and home runs than Troy Tulowitzki, and a higher slugging percentage than Albert Pujols (see for yourself). In fact, besides the NL MVP, Morse was the only player in the National League to bat over .300 with 35 or more doubles, 30 or more home runs and a slugging percentage of .550 or better. The return of “The Beast” to the middle of the lineup should be a welcome sight for Nats fans everywhere.
Another returnee for 2012 who impressed last year was rookie infielder Danny Espinosa, who will look to build on the power potential he flashed during his 21-home run performance last season. Coupled with the slick glove work he often showed at second base, the former Long Beach State shortstop may just prove he owns that rare combination of being a versatile middle infielder with pop from both sides of the plate. Oh, and he won’t turn 25 until after Opening Day.
Even after trading four prospects to the Oakland Athletics in the Gonzalez deal, there is still plenty of talent waiting in the wings, ready to contribute in the future. Top prospects like lefthander Matt Purke and infielder Anthony Rendon are poised to join Bryce Harper in the years to come, but that discussion is for another time.
While the future remains very bright for this team, make no mistake, the window has officially opened. With the Gonzalez trade, EVP of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo not only added one of the premiere left-handed power arms in the game, he announced that he is not waiting for some distant tomorrow to contend.
“Gio’s ample talents are well known and chronicled,” said Rizzo after inking the lefty to a five-year extension on Sunday. “Now both Gio and our fans can shift their focus and excitement to his debut in DC knowing that their relationship won’t be ending in the short term.”
Of course, the road will not be easy. With the flurry of acquisitions made by the new Miami Marlins, the NL East has improved to the point of challenging its American League counterpart as the toughest division in baseball. And speaking of that AL East, the Nats will draw the perennial powerhouse in Interleague Play this year, making the schedule that much tougher. The good news is, should Washington survive this gauntlet and (gasp!) force its way into the picture for the potentially expanding postseason field, this young Nationals squad will have already faced the toughest teams in the league.
If you’ve been following the Nats from the beginning, your best days certainly appear to be ahead of you. If 2012 marks the beginning of your fandom, then welcome. Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.
You asked, and Nationals EVP of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo is ready to answer. We gathered questions from Nationals fans far and wide for this exclusive fan Q&A with the man tasked with shaping your Washington Nationals.
From Facebook, Bryce J. wants to know: Higher priority, finding a dominant #2 to follow Strasburg in the rotation or a positional player to shore up the 3-4-5 while Harper learns the ropes?
Mike Rizzo: I think it’s imperative to find both. We feel we have in-house candidates for the number two starter behind Stras’. Jordan Zimmermann had a terrific year last year, really a breakthrough year for him. We expect bigger and better things – it will be his first full season off of Tommy John surgery – so we’re excited for big things from him. We’re always looking to improve the rotation. You can never have enough good, quality starting pitching in this division, so we’re always in the market for that.
A big bat would be something that would really jump-start our offense. We feel like we’re going to be stronger and better than we were last year with the current players that we have. We feel like a year of experience for our young, middle-of-the-field guys like Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond is going to do nothing but help them. We’re looking for another outstanding season from Michael Morse, a healthy season from Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche, and a bounce-back season from Jayson Werth, so we feel like we’re going to be better in that regard. But you can never have too much offense, and good, young two-way players – offensively and defensively with athleticism – are always what we’re looking for.
On Twitter, @gonastynats asks: So what IS #RogerBernadina’s future w/ the #Nationals? Is he our CF next year, or what?
MR: Roger is a terrific talent, he’s got great skills. He’s a guy who can play defense at all three outfield positions, gives us some pop from the left side of the plate, can steal you a base when he has to steal a base, and he’s got great versatility. He’s going to be a big part of our ballclub and is going to compete for the CF job. In the worst-case scenario, he’s going to be a terrific fourth outfielder for us that who can fill in for extended periods of time. He brings great energy on the baseball field and a great attitude in the clubhouse.
Our email inbox was overflowing as well. Don B. has an interesting idea for the starting rotation: Since there are a number of promising young arms, could it be possible to have a six-man rotation of Strasburg, Zimmermann, Wang, Peacock, Milone, and Lannan, perhaps keeping Zimmermann on a five-day schedule? In addition to getting a longer look at the young prospects at the major league level, it would cut down on Stephen Strasburg’s starts and consequently, his innings. If he is on an innings limit, this could allow him to pitch deeper into the season. Is this a possibility?
MR: We’re not going to go to a six-man rotation. What we’ll do, we’ll keep the traditional five-man rotation and we’re going to protect Stras’ whenever we can and whenever possible. And we’re going to have two or three quality pitchers in the Minor Leagues that are ready to come up and ready to pitch extended and important innings in the Major Leagues. We’re going to extend our pitchers out, but be prudent about it knowing in the back of our minds that we’ve got really good quality pitchers to summon from the Minor Leagues when need be.
While Danny B. writes in about the outfielders: What outfielders are being targeted by the Nationals?
MR: We’ve overturned every stone. We’ve talked to every team where we think a center fielder fits for us. The trade market is very difficult for such a quality position; they are in high demand. We’ve kicked the tires on many center fielders via the trade route, we’ve looked internationally for some international talent and we’re looking at all aspects to try and improve our ballclub.
We feel that we do have an in-house candidate with Jayson Werth. He can always move and play center field, if we have to have him play there, which opens up a whole different pool of players for our corner outfield position.
Jim W. surely has his wish list, but wants to know what are the top priorities for the Nats this offseason: What are the top three needs in acquisitions going into the 2012 season?
MR: We certainly would like to upgrade our rotation with an arm that could fit in with Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann and give us a real potent top three guys in the rotation – to go along with Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Detwiler, John Lannan, Brad Peacock and Tommy Milone. We like to have great depth and versatility there. So that’s our number one priority.
And lastly, to strengthen our bench. We need good veteran players off the bench to allow Davey Johnson to do what he does best, which is to strategize and control the game at the end with pinch hitters and really out-managing the guy in the other dugout.
Our loyal readers here on the Curly W Live blog also chimed in with some great questions in the comments, led by Donald L. He wants to know, what’s the word on Yoenis Cespedes?
MR: Cespedes is a big, powerful center fielder with a great skill set. We scouted him extensively in world competitions with our scouts. I personally went down to the Dominican to see a private workout with him. He’s an impressive young man with great physical skills. He’s got great strength and great speed, and shows flashes of being a five-tool player. With our knowledge of him and his skill set, he’s a guy that we’re monitoring seriously.
Meanwhile, Dan D. wonders if a familiar face from the past could fill a hole in the Nationals outfield plans. Could Josh Willingham fill in as RH bat, 5th OF and 1B? Great pop, good guy, fans like him.
MR: Josh is a terrific talent. He’s way over-qualified to be a fifth outfielder or a right-handed bat off the bench. This is a guy who came off last season with 29 homeruns and 98 RBI’s in a tough Oakland ballpark to hit in. He’s going to get an everyday job somewhere and he’s going to be a guy who fits in somebody’s outfield as a regular. He’s a great quality person, and a great human being, and a guy we really like around here.
That’s it for the Winter Meetings Q&A, thanks for all of the great questions! Check back throughout the offseason for the inside scoop on your Washington Nationals.
You asked, and Nationals EVP of Baseball Operations and GM Mike Rizzo is ready to answer. We gathered questions from Nationals fans far and wide, and the first two answers are below. Check back Tuesday, Dec. 13 for the rest of this exclusive fan Q&A with the man tasked with shaping your Washington Nationals.
To kick it off, Vincent M. asked on Facebook: Brad Peacock is very good and many people don’t notice how good. Is he in the starting rotation plans?
Mike Rizzo: Brad Peacock, as he showed last year, was our Minor League Pitcher of the Year, came up to the Major Leagues and excelled. We think he’s a power pitcher with terrific stuff. He’s the type of guy that could be our next Jordan Zimmermann-type performer. We have big plans for him. What we have in this organization is we have great depth at the starting pitching position from big leagues through our system, which is really unheard of in the Major Leagues. We’re looking forward to seeing him compete in Spring Training and we’re going to leave camp with our best five starting pitchers.
Next, @fopack asked on Twitter: When will @BHarper3407 [Bryce Harper] be called to #bigs???
MR: Bryce is a unique talent. He’s got outstanding abilities and a great skill set. He’s going to be an impactful player when he gets to the Big Leagues. His development and his performance is going to dictate when he actually gets to the Big Leagues. There are no restraints on him, we’re not going to hold him back. If he’s legitimately ready and prepared for the Major Leagues, we won’t feel bad about bringing him to the Major Leagues. We’re going to bring the best 25 players north [when Spring Training in Viera, FL breaks] and try to win as many games as we can, and we need the best players we have to do so. If he’s one of the best 25 and he fits, and his development curve is right where we want it to be, then he’ll be in the Big Leagues.
For more of this exclusive Q&A, check back on Tuesday to see if your question is answered.
An update from the 2011 Winter Meetings in Dallas, from the desk of Mark D. Lerner, Nationals Principal Owner:
Day 2 is in the books …
* I have sat in on most of Mike Rizzo’s internal meetings and things continue to progress. Tuesday’s various chats, both on the free agent and trade fronts, were more concrete than Monday’s. Mike is exploring every avenue possible, but remember – it takes two to tango.
* One thing I know that Mike is NOT concerned about is leaving Dallas without consummating a deal. If a trade or signing happens here, well that is fantastic. But sometimes these meetings set the stage for something to happen next week, next month or even next year.
One of Mike’s challenges is that he is being asked more and more about our young talent. Some of that talent has already reached D.C., while some if it continues to develop in our farm system. Keep in mind how much our talent has matured over the past few years. So I think it is fair to say Mike’s call volume is higher than ever.
*Tuesday night marked our annual Minor League Affiliates Reception. It is always fun to see our extended family from Syracuse, Harrisburg, Potomac, Hagerstown, Auburn and Viera (GCL) and reaffirm to them just how much they are part of our maturation as a franchise.
Twenty-five years from now, Bryce Harper will remember Hagerstown. And he’ll remember his first post-season race as a pro, which took place this August in Harrisburg. Tommy Milone will be able to cite chapter and verse his 12-win campaign with Potomac in 2009. These smaller towns provide the backdrop for the game’s development, and the support and structure provided by the various front offices is not taken for granted, especially at Nationals Park. Thanks you Chiefs. Thank you Senators. Thank you P-Nats. Thank you Suns. Thank you Doubledays. Thank you GCL Nationals!
* One thing I have noticed is the collective glow emanating from our game. In my mind, it dates back to the last night of the regular season and carried on through one of the best World Series ever. Then it culminated in the signing of a new CBA just prior to Thanksgiving. It is a good time to be a baseball fan. More specifically, an even better time to be a Nationals fan! We cannot wait to begin making our own October memories in the years to come.
An update from the 2011 Winter Meetings in Dallas, from the desk of Mark D. Lerner, Nationals Principal Owner:
Hello Nationals fans!
It’s that time again … the Winter Meetings have begun. This blog comes to you from the Hilton Anatole Hotel, located in the shadows of downtown Dallas. Well, if there were shadows, that is. Most of the Nationals contingent arrived in the Big D on Sunday afternoon. However, the bulk of the activity did not begin until Monday (well, except for the Marlins… our 18 matchups with Miami in 2012 sure will have a different feel, won’t they?).
Speaking of teams with new, state-of-the-art facilities, I headed over to Dallas Cowboys Stadium early this morning for a behind-the-scenes tour. I think “wow” is a good word to describe the experience, but since they do everything big in Texas, I’ll go with “WOW and WOW!” It really is quite a facility and the scoreboard is just awe-inspiring. Now I know why all the sideline shots during Cowboys games always feature players looking straight up.
In case you haven’t heard, we’re holding a Q&A with the Nationals Executive Contingent here in Dallas with questions from you, our loyal fans. We’ll get answers from a couple different corners of the organization, so if you haven’t already, ask your questions in the comments below, or by email, Twitter or Facebook. Check back Wednesday to see if your question was answered.
When I returned to the meetings, we found out that Mike Rizzo is ranked 19th on the general manager’s seniority list. Yep, hard to believe, isn’t it? Note that the rankings include time spent with a GM’s current club. So, for instance, Mike is higher on the list than Kevin Towers of the D-Backs, even though Towers has been a GM for more than 15 years. It almost seems like Mike took over just yesterday, but then you look at our roster and our Minor League rosters and it is clear that he’s been in charge of our baseball operation for three full seasons. And he’s been quite busy. This just goes to show the commitment that Nationals ownership has to Mike’s vision and his plan to achieve it. That level of trust and stability shouldn’t be underestimated.
Which brings me to my final point for the day. Mike’s scouting and player development staff have done a great job of building an impressive stable of talent within out Minor League system. Some of that talent has already percolated to D.C. (Stephen Strasburg, Tommy Milone, Danny Espinosa, Drew Storen … you know all the names). We are thrilled with the initial returns on our 2011 draft class and look forward to watching that next wave of Nationals as they rise through the ranks on their way to D.C.
While free agents and trade rumors will be floating all over the internet for the next few months as we approach Spring Training, just remember that we have already achieved our primary objective from when we gained control of the club in 2006; we wanted to have a steady pipeline of impactful talent spread throughout our Minor League system because we felt strongly about the fact that this is the best method to sustain success. Here’s looking forward to continued excitement throughout the busy offseason, leading into what we all expect will be an exhilarating 2012 campaign.
Until next time…
Welcome to Hot Stove season, Nationals fans!
With Winter Meetings taking place next week, baseball is back in the headlines as fans eagerly await news of who will be the latest players to don the Curly W. Here’s your chance to join in on the action and get some inside information straight from the Nationals Executive contingent in Dallas! You can submit your questions in the comments below, by email at CurlyW@nationals.com, or via Facebook and Twitter (include #NatsQnA with your question). Check back here on Wednesday, December 7 to see what the execs have to say!
Yesterday evening, the Nationals formally introduced their top three draft picks to the media, as well as to Nats fans everywhere via MASN. Third baseman Anthony Rendon, right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer and outfielder Brian Goodwin sat on a panel that included general manager Mike Rizzo and the players’ agent, Scott Boras.
The draftees agreed that signing with the Nationals was an incredible experience for all of them, and coming to the Nation’s Capital for the first time was just as memorable. The earthquake that happened shortly after 2 p.m. made the visit that much more unique.
Rizzo said that the three young men will fly out this week to begin their professional careers in Viera, Fla., at the Nats’ spring training facility.
In case you missed seeing the press conference on MASN yesterday, you can listen to it in its entirety here.
If all goes well, Nationals fans could see Stephen Strasburg back in a Major League uniform by the end of this season.
It was reported this week that the pitching phenom and 2009 first-overall Draft pick hit 95 miles per hour with his fastball off a mound in a simulated game. He’s been throwing live batting practice at the Nationals’ Spring Training Complex in Florida and has been increasing his pitch count. It’s clear his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery is going smoothly so far.
Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo told the media recently that he wants Strasburg to throw 50 innings before he returns to the Majors. That would mean he’d pitch several more simulated games in Florida before moving onto rehabilitation assignments in their Minor League system.
If we look at Jordan Zimmermann’s recovery from the same injury and the same surgery last year, it’s clear Nats fans have the right to be optimistic about Strasburg. Zimmermann pitched in 10 Minor League starts last summer beginning on July 3, and made his return to the Big Leagues at the end of August. In his time in the Minors last year, he pitched to a 1.59 ERA with 31 strikeouts. His return to the Majors came almost exactly a year after he underwent Tommy John surgery—and on the day of his season debut we learned that Strasburg would take the same journey Zimmermann had just completed.
Zimmermann has been solid in his starts since returning from surgery, so it may be fair to expect Strasburg to do the same. Though we may only see the fireballer make a select few Major League starts this season, the excitement level from his Major League debut is sure to return to Nationals Park.
And just think—should his progress continue at its current pace, wouldn’t a one-two punch at the top of the rotation like Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann be pretty spectacular in 2012?
Greetings from the Nationals 2011 Draft War Room. I am John Dever, the Nationals Sr. Director of Baseball Media Relations and I am collaborating with Principal Owner Mark Lerner and Mike Gazda (Dir. Baseball PR) on various observations gathered in/around the Nationals’ Draft efforts. Tonight promises to be an exciting event.
In talking with friends and colleagues in this room and around the game, one underlying theme is that the 2011 Draft class is extremely deep. One cohort outside our organization told me that individually, each of the top 6 or 7 picks in this year’s Draft would have gone second—behind our own Bryce Harper—if they were somehow eligible for the 2010 Draft. So, while no one in this room wants to annually pick in the top 10, we also feel that there is an opportunity here to grab impact players at #6, #23 and #34.
By the way, the Nationals second (23rdoverall) and third (34th) selections in the 2011 Draft were granted as a result of Adam Dunn signing as a free agent with the White Sox. Also, understand that Washington forfeited its standard second-round selection with the signing of Jayson Werth. That is why and how your Nationals have three picks among the Draft’s top 34 selections.
We are in the same room, the Media Interview Room, we have used since 2009. We are located adjacent to the Lexus Presidents Club, just down the concourse from the Nationals Clubhouse.
I am going to attempt to draw a visual for those of you who are not glued to the telecast on MLB Network (seriously, how did Seamheads survive before this fantastic network was born three years ago?).
First and foremost there is the Draft Triumvirate of Mike Rizzo (GM), Roy Clark (Asst. GM, VP of Player Personnel) and Kris Kline (Director of Scouting). This is THE biggest day of the year for these gentlemen. This is what they live for. This is when they thrive. These three are located in the middle of the room, essentially at a 10-foot long table that serves as the War Room’s Epicenter. They are our Sun and everything else revolves around them.
Think of Mike Rizzo as an orchestrator. Mike’s been a scout for 30+ years. He’s run Draft rooms before, but now he is a GM. Yes, Mike engages in trade talk on an almost daily basis. Sure, he adds and subtracts players from the 40-man roster on a weekly basis. Indeed it is true, he’s signed players to eight-figure contracts. But if you cut Mike open, he’s a scout. Always has been, always will be. This is what gets Mike’s blood pumping. But, he is also smart enough to know he cannot be everywhere at once. So, he hired…
Clark and Kline. Both of whom I’d put on a short list of the nicest folks I have met in this game. But to see these gentlemen in DC is rare. To see them together… that’s as rare as a solar eclipse (wow, do I get paid by the solar reference or what?). Why are they “never” around. Because they are out beating the bushes. Watching high school talent in rural Georgia (Clark’s nook) or taking in a junior college game in Florida (Kline). Meeting with coaches, a parent, school administrators, fellow scouts, perhaps a pastor. Their eyes just DON’T deceive them like they may for you and I. But just in case, they do their homework on hundreds (thousands?) of players. Their breadth of knowledge is downright scary.
Beyond the Triumvirate, picture two rows of tables orbiting the Sun. The inner orbit consists of the three cross checkers (Jeff Zona, Jimmy Gonzalez, Mark Baca) and a few choice area scouts (Mitch Sokol, Reed Dunn, Eric Robinson). The coordinated efforts of these guys set the table for the likes of Clark and Kline. Their knowledge and roles are respected because they do their jobs, gladly, with little coming their way in terms of frills. We are talking seemingly never-ending 8-, 10- or 12-hour drives from the lower reaches of Michigan to the interior of Arkansas. Do they sleep? Do they have families? The answer to both of those questions is most often “yes,” but understand these are the truest form of emissaries in our game. Just think about it, they do all this, and they may not have a player drafted by the Nationals from their territory.
Tis almost time to get started as we approach 7 p.m. ET. But before we get there, let me inform you of the days culinary treats. For lunch, the staff feasted on steak, shrimp and crab cakes from Jerry’s Seafood (did I say no frills?). Delicious. Dinner consisted of 10-12 pizzas, while snacks consist of Red liquorish, granold bars, oreo cookies, gum, mints and M&Ms (plain, peanut, almond). You can gain eight here if not extremely careful.
Alright the draft is underway … hello Commissioner …
*The Pirates take UCLA RHP Garrett Cole. No shock there.
*Ok, Draft shock waves just hit DC as the Mariners draft local product, UVA LHP Danny Hultzen, second overall. He attended St. Albans in DC before becoming a Cavalier. Back story is that Danny’s brother, Joe, is interning for Mike Rizzo in baseball operations. Joe has a smile on his face as wide as the day is long. Lots of good cheer for Danny, Joe and the entire Hultzen clan. What a proud day this must be. Back to work…
*The D-Backs take RHP Trevor Bauer. Some draft experts had us selecting Bauer. Won’t be the case.
*Royals take prep OF Bubba Starling, who makes sense as he is from Kansas.
With the Starling-to-KC announcement, Mike Rizzo decries “Rendon.” There was a lot of talk before the Draft about being “true to the board,” to use the 6th selection on the top name left remaining. And Rendon is that name. Everyone in this room is excited. But there are also equal parts surprise. No one, not even the Triumvirate, expected the consensus top hitter in the draft to fall to number 6.
I just caught Mike’s eye and he laughed at me. Why? Because over the weekend, he gave me four names and asked me to put together some press releases so we are ready and prepared at No. 6. I will not be disclosing those names, and they did not reflect the order of our board, but that foursome were all selected during the Draft’s first 5 picks. I am scurrying, BIG TIME!
Ok, I am back, briefly. Mike Gazda just conducted a press gathering with Rizzo to talk about Rendon. Mike freely admitted that he was “surprised” we were able to secure Rendon at No. 6.
No time to gloat, I just put out the Rendon release, about 25 minutes after the actual selection. And that leaves me only 9 or 10 picks until we get to #23. And #34 will not be far behind.
Now, after some internal info gathering, I was given the names of RHP Alex Meyer (Univ. of Kentucky) and OF Brian Goodwin (Miami Dade College). Somehow, (make that THANKFULLY) we were able to select both players. Roy Clark has a country grin on his face. Like he stole something, has it and knows he got away with it.
The funny back story here is that I finished the Meyer-Goodwin press release, which contained both Meyer and Goodwin, around the 27th selection. I was on the verge of sending this release to both Mark Lerner and Mike Rizzo for approval when my computer froze. I had to re-write the entire Meyer portion from memory, while Gazda had actually written the two paragraphs on Goodwin, so I was able to retrieve those from my email once I rebooted. Boy, I was hot for about 10 minutes there. Still simmering to be honest.
As we wait for the sandwich round and MLB Network Coverage to finish, everyone in the room is in a mood that reminds me of how I felt every year in college when I finished my last final exam. Time to slap some backs one more time as we depart, head home and get some sleep. There is more work to be done here in this room once the sun comes up.