They touched all the bases with D.C. GM Mike Rizzo this morning on the MLB Network's Hot Stove Show. The CBSSports.com report on Drew Storen's back spasms? Check. The Strasburg shutdown? Check. Gio Gonzalez's alleged ties to the Biogenesis clinic? You betcha. The Washington Nationals' 52-year-old general manager and Executive VP of Baseall Ops answered them all and at the end of the interview Rizzo had host (and former major leaguer) Harold Reynolds saying he wanted to get on board and sign on to play with the Nats after hearing the GM's enthusiasm.
There's no room, Harold.
The Nationals' general manager said he thought the team was set up nicely to compete for the next couple years with a lot of their young players locked up for the near future. "I think as you look at us in '13," Rizzo said, dispensing with the "Two thousand," and, "Coming off what we felt was a strong '12, didn't finish the way we wanted to but a strong season, nonetheless, we like the young core players that we have in the system. We've got control of a lot of our young players for multi-years beyond '13 and we feel each and every year they're getting a little bit better."
We saw Ian Desmond have a breakout season last year," Rizzo continued, "We're looking forward to another young player or two take the next step in their progression, and we feel that we have a good plan set up and the landscape long-term is good and our focus on '13 is to also have a strong season."
The team has been built the right way too from the ground up, as Rizzo explained when asked about the organization's philosophy. "The draft and player development is really the only way I know how to build a franchise and build a club," the former scout, scouting director and assistant GM said, "You're solely dependent on your scouts and your minor league coaches, managers, trainers, etc. I think the epiphany came to me in '09 when we were allowed to really open up the checkbook and go out and go land some big-time scouts and some coaches that we knew were really good and pay for those guys and bring them over. And without finding the talent and then developing the talent, you really are going to struggle to have any kind of consistent basis of winning. And we feel that we've brought in the right people to do that and we're proud of not only the players that we have in the system but also the personnel that we have in the Washington Nationals' scouting and player developlment systems."
Rizzo was just getting started. Check out the rest of the interview with the MLB Network's Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgersian below: