February 23, 2012; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo on the fields during camp at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE
In spite of the injuries and the persistent rumors this Spring, D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told reporters on Friday that he didn't see any significant moves happening before Opening Day. "'We’re not going out there looking,'" the general manager was quoted stating in Washington Post writer's Adam Kilgore's story on the conversation with the D.C. press corps entitled, "Feeling good about Michael Morse, Mike Rizzo expects the Nationals to stand pat." "'We haven’t made any calls,'" the GM continued, "'We like the team that we have right now. If something comes up and we can improve ourselves, we’ll certainly investigate it.'"
CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman wrote again this week that teams (the Tigers in particular) continued to show interest in Nats' lefty John Lannan, but in the article entitled, "Tigers still showing interest in Nationals' Lannan", Mr. Heyman acknowledged that, "The Nats may be slightly less inclined to deal him since Chien-Ming Wang's hamstrong injury," though he did add that the thinking was that the Nationals, "... could employ Ross Detwiler, who has been impressive, as their fifth starter if they dealt Lannan.'" The Nationals, reporters noted after yesterday's conversation with the GM, would have to be blown away by an offer if they're going to deal Lannan at this point.
Though the Nationals reportedly had scouts in Arizona this week, with reporters speculating that the Nats were once again watching Gerardo Parra, when Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro (@NickPiecoro) brought the rumors up again with a D-Backs' "source" and asked, "...if they’re going to trade him to the Nats or what[?], Reply back [was], ‘No.’" The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore wrote Friday that he spoke to, "... one Nationals’ official [who] said he did not expect the team to strike a deal for Parra, and Rizzo reiterated the team is not actively seeking help.'"
Besides, if it's up to the top outfield prospect in the Nats' system, they'll have another outfielder sooner rather than later. As CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler (@DKnobler) wrote on Twitter Friday afternoon, "Bryce Harper hit 2 HR in minor league exhibition the other day. He's telling people he will be in big leagues quicker than Nationals plan." Though the Nationals maintained that the decision on Harper would primarily be based upon his development, and Mike Rizzo, in an article entitled, "Bryce Harper focused … and learning", did tell ESPN.com's Jayson Stark after the Nats sent their 2010 no.1 overall pick to Triple-A Syracuse last week, "'I've said all along that my development plan is, I like players to touch each level in the minor leagues,'" he also, however, acknowleged in another article entitled, "Can't get enough of Bryce Harper", that contract and service time considerations did impact the decision.
"'It's a piece of the equation,' Rizzo said. 'There's no question about it. But sometimes you're forced to make decisions that, long-term financially, aren't the smart thing to do.'" The Nats' GM went on to note that faced with decisions in the past, they'd brought players up (with Drew Storen an example) knowing it might cost them long-term, but as the general manager put it, "'... we brought him up because we felt he was ready to pitch in the big leagues and ready to contribute to us and we had a need there.'"
The Nationals, apparently, might have a need at the back end of the bullpen now, or at least for the start of the season. Reports this week had Storen, who saved 43 games last season, dealing with bicep/tricep issues that were troublesome enough that the 24-year-old closer had an MRI on his arm this week. Though reports on Friday said that results of the MRI Storen had showed no signs of damage, Davey Johnson spoke to reporters this morning, as reported by NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) and told them that the right-hander might not be ready for Opening Day. "If Storen isn't ready," Mr. Zuckerman wrote, "Davey says his closer will be [Brad] Lidge or [Henry] Rodriguez. [Tyler] Clippard too valuable as setup man/guy who puts out fires."
Michael Morse. Adam LaRoche. Chien-Ming Wang. Drew Storen. There are a lot of injury concerns and question marks heading into the last two weeks before Opening Day, but at least publicly, the Nationals aren't panicking...