Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo made the rounds this afternoon to talk about the Nats' trade with the Detroit Tigers last night which brought 29-year-old, 6'8'' right-hander Doug Fister to the nation's capital in return for infielder Steve Lombardozzi, left-hander Ian Krol and left-handed prospect Robbie Ray.
Rizzo first talked to reporters on a conference call which NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman transcribed. In that wide-ranging conversation, the Nats' GM talked about how the trade with the Tigers happened; if he's talked about an extension with Fister, who's under team control for two seasons; his reluctance to trade the Nationals' top prospects like Lucas Giolito and Anthony Rendon and the battle for the starting job at second which Rizzo says is Rendon's to lose when the teams heads to Florida for Spring Training.
After the phone call with reporters, Rizzo was all over the radio dial, talking to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier, ESPN980's Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan and MLB Network Radio's Casey Stern and Jim Bowden.
Here are some of the highlights of what Rizzo had to say and links to the audio where available:
• Rizzo on Fister on 106.7 the FAN In D.C.:
"He's a workhorse type of pitcher. He's going to log a lot of innings. He's a sinkerball/slider-type of guy who throws a lot of ground balls. Doesn't walk anybody and pitches a lot of innings. Controls the running game. Can handle the bat as a hitter in this league, and is a terrific athlete. 6'8'. Comes at you at a very unique angle and has good stuff."
• Rizzo on Fister being a ground ball pitcher:
"We like the fact that our infield defense is going to be solid. And he's a 54% ground ball pitcher and a guy who, like I said, he works all four quadrants of the strike zone, can get some weak contact, balls on the ground and allows his defense to help him out. But this guy is a well-rounded pitcher who really knows his craft, he controls the running game extremely well, fields his position well, and... pounds the strike zone, doesn't walk anybody, doesn't give up many home runs..."
• Rizzo on Nats Park roof story:
"I've been a little bit busy thinking about other things other than roofs."
• Rizzo on getting down to final deal for Fister on ESPN980's The Sports Fix:
"We made it pretty clear throughout the people we were talking to throughout the industry that we weren't going to make a deal that included a handful of what we call our top, elite prospects. And [Anthony] Rendon would fit that category. And so, I mean, the teams that we talked to realized that we weren't going to discuss those guys in a trade and we soon got past that small group of guys that we didn't want to discuss and came to some other players with a team that recognized that we have a deep farm system. We've got a lot of talented players beyond the top five or six of our top prospects. And the Tigers realized that there was a deal to be had and they were comfortable with what they were getting back."
• Rizzo on Nats' fifth starter in 2014. Ross Detwiler?:
"Detwiler, when healthy, is a very capable major league starting pitcher. He's going to go out there in Spring Training and compete with [Tanner] Roark and Taylor Jordan, Nathan Karns, Sam Solis and then the next wave of minor league players coming up. We feel that we've got great depth in starting pitching. The most depth that we've ever had here in starting pitching. And very talented depth at starting pitching. So we feel good about where we're at."
• Rizzo on pursuing Doug Fister vs Max Scherzer:
"Well, honestly, the extra year of control and the projected cost for Doug was really an incentive for us to make the deal. I've got a history with Max and he's obviously a terrific pitcher, front of the rotation-type of guy. But we really did focus in on Doug. It was kind of a collaboratory agreement here in the front office with our sabermetrics guys and our scouts in the field kind of both really [identifying] this guy as a guy that was undervalued and a guy that could really step into our rotation and really aid us in kind of completing the rotation and giving us what we need to maybe take the next step in our progression."
• Rizzo on Robinson Cano on MLB Network Radio:
"I think that we feel good about Anthony Rendon and backup options like Danny Espinosa as our second basemen. And I think that they're going to come into Spring Training as guys that we're going to count on this year. Anthony took great strides last year in playing a lot of games, which he hasn't done on the professional level before. We really think he's got a propensity to hit. He's going to hit with a high average. We think some power is going to come and he really took to second base well last year. This guy did a position change at the major league level and still made adjustments at the plate which is a testament to his baseball instincts and his baseball IQ."
• LISTEN TO MIKE RIZZO ON MLB NETWORK RADIO:
- Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo And Matt Williams On Defense And Doug Fister
- Nationals Improve Rotation, Team By Trading for Doug Fister
- Wire Taps: Nationals Acquire Doug Fister From Tigers; Nats Sign Ross Ohlendorf
- Nationals Sign Ross Ohlendorf To One-Year Deal, Avoiding Arbitration
- Nationals Acquire Doug Fister From Tigers For Steve Lombardozzi, Ian Krol And Robbie Ray: Reactions