(ed. note - "Acting" DC GM Mike Rizzo was on Sirius/XM's Inside Pitch with hosts Jeff Joyce and Joel Sherman on Monday to talk about Manny Acta's dismissal, Jim Riggleman's move to "Interim" Manager and what the future holds for the lineup in the second-half... Here are some of the highlights or noteable quotes..."):
Read Part One w/ Comments From the DC Faithful...(Complete Post After The Jump)...
Mike Rizzo: "We've already made what I believe is a good, prudent baseball deal by getting Nyjer Morgan to be our everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter and getting a good young controllable bullpen arm in Sean Burnett. We're going to continue to speak to other general managers, and try and improve the club not only in the short term but looking forward into the long term, and certainly, signing all of our 2009 draft picks, including Stephen Strasburg..."
Complete Post And Notes After The Jump...
Rizzo: "I have the greatest respect for Jim, I think he's a great baseball guy, and uh, you know, he certainly would be a candidate for the full-time position. What it's gonna take for him? I just need to see the team play the game the right way. For them to continue to play the game hard, stress fundamentals, be more fundamentally sound, keep the team focused, have the players take accountability for their performance on the field and their preparation, and to continue the developmental process of, specifically, our young starting pitching and our good young core players."
Rizzo: "Well probably the biggest disappointment and the most unanticipated part of it is our poor defense. Even good defensive players such as Nick Johnson and Ryan Zimmerman, who is, you know, Gold Glove caliber at third base, have made their fair share of errors. And it's really tough to put your finger on what it is, uh specifically, it kind of like snowballs on us and we just don't execute at times...but I would think defense has been very troubling, because it not only effects your young core of starting pitching and it effects your bullpen also by giving...it's just so tough in this game and especially in the National League East to give up extra outs to teams and we've been burnt many, many times by giving up extra outs..."
What Are You Trying To Find Out In Second-Half...?
Rizzo: "I think you have a young good-looking, controllable player in Josh Willingham, he's a 29-year-old player, playing on an everyday basis and really coming into his own, I think he's got a strong future here. Alberto Gonzalez, we have to find out if he's an everyday middle infielder in the major leagues or not. He's hitting .327-ish I think as we speak right now in limited at bats. We have to find what is the role for Anderson Hernandez?...The second-half of the season we're going to be doing further evaluations of our roster...and as the season progresses, Elijah Dukes will be back in the major leagues and we will, we'll certainly see what type of player we have there on an everyday basis. It's an evaluation process, so we can go into the offseason and the winter and make good prudent baseball decisions."
Anyone going to see an increase in playing time with Riggleman?
I don't forsee any major changes in personnel. Like I said, I think there's going to be an emphasis put on playing the game the right way...continue to stress fundamentals and to prepare and stay focused throughout the course of not only a nine inning game but over the course of the entire season. That's what we need to stress.
Trades? Nick Johnson, Austin Kearns? Willingham? Sign Strasburg? How do the Nationals build for the future?
Well, I think those are certainly vital components of what we're trying to do in the future. I think that from now until the trade deadline we're going to be extremely busy. We're not, I'm not forced to dump salary which really unties the general manager's hands, you can make good prudent baseball-based deals at the trade deadline. So we're going to be active in that market. We've already made what I believe is a good, prudent baseball deal by getting Nyjer Morgan to be our everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter and getting a good young controllable bullpen arm in Sean Burnett. We're going to continue to speak to other general managers, and try and improve the club not only in the short term but looking forward into the long term, and certainly, signing all of our 2009 draft picks, including Stephen Strasburg, is an important part of the rebuilding of the franchise.
What type of manager is best suited for the Nationals the way they're built?
I think with any young ballclub, you need, specifically a ballclub that's learning at the major league level, you need to have a manager that's a teacher...that's a developer and knows and has been through the rigors of developing young players at the major league level...So, that's a very important aspect of the manager's job at this particular time, at this particular organization. So, I think a teacher that's developed players before and knows what it takes to prepare yourself not only to play a full game in the major leagues but a full season.
• Making good prudent deals and preparing every night and all season, very important.
• Dukes coming back? When? Soon? Please?
• If you're going to take a long look at Anderson Hernandez and Alberto Gonzalez, what's Guzman going to do?
• You're not kidding about "being burnt many, many times" by the costly errors...
• DNTNJ!!!! Don't trade Nick Johnson...Sign him up, please?