Toward the end of Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo's interview with MLB Network Radio "Inside Pitch" hosts Jim Bowden and Casey Stern, the former Nats' GM asked the current general manager about Matt Williams and the first-year skipper's willingness to work with the stat-based analysts in the front office in the nation's capital.
"How open was he to analytics and the information that department provides," Bowden asked, "and then secondly, could you talk a little bit about the research and development department that you guys continue to really build on quietly behind the scenes in Washington?"
"Well we do, we really do and I'm glad you noticed that," Rizzo said.
"We have a terrific staff," he continued. "We have a full analytics department now, headed by Adam Cromie, who is a savant, an extremely intelligent guy.
"We've got Ivy Leaguers back there that have a respect for baseball and a respect for the scouting aspect of it and we really blend the analytics with the eyeball test I think as well as anybody.
"We utilize it a great deal. We put a lot of money into our analytics and our system that we use. We built our own system and I'm really proud of how far we've come."
Can Rizzo, his scouts and his statistical analysts identify and agree on a target for second (or third) base like they did when searching for a starter last winter?
After the trade that brought Doug Fister from Detroit to D.C., Rizzo said the right-hander appealed to everyone in his front office.
"'We thought he was an undervalued asset,'" Rizzo told reporters including The Washington Post's Thomas Boswell last winter.
"'We had an extremely strong Sabermetric report here. It’s a good day when our Sabermatricians and the scouts agree. Makes things easier for me.'"
Have they identified the infielder they're after yet? Will we find out this week? We didn't find out on Monday, the first official day of the Winter Meetings. But there's plenty of time to talk trades over the next few days.
Here are all the links we could find from Day 1...
NATS BEAT (Winter Meetings Edition):
• "The Nationals will do some more legwork on their search for a second baseman this week." - "Welcome to the Baseball Winter Meetings" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "Nearly all talk about Zimmermann so far this winter has focused on the possibility of a trade, with the Nationals trying to recoup a significant package of young players..." - "Nationals will resume negotiations with Zimmermann at Winter Meetings" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
Let's try boosting Storen's confidence this time...:
• "Even after Storen stumbled in the playoffs for the second time this October, Rizzo gave him a vote of confidence. 'We trust Drew,' Rizzo said." - "Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says Drew Storen is ‘penciled in’ to be team’s closer in 2015" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
Mike Rizzo says Nats have received interest in Tyler Clippard from other teams. Right now, Clippard is penciled in 8th & Drew Storen in 9th.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) December 9, 2014
• "'We trust Drew,' Rizzo said when asked about Storen’s high-profile blown saves in both the 2012 and 2014 playoffs following dominant regular seasons." - "Mike Rizzo gives vote of confidence to Drew Storen as Nationals closer" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
Kerzel's hearing things:
• "Odor is part of a wave of young talent the Rangers have been waiting on, and he was pressed into early service last season..." - "Nationals Pastime: Rangers' Odor may be of interest to Nationals" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
Rizzo talks to reporters in San Diego:
• "Nothing is imminent as far as trades are concerned, but the Nationals are listening to potential offers from other clubs." - "Rizzo: Nats are 'open for business' at Winter Meetings" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "With Day One of the Winter Meetings pretty much in the books, Rizzo says he and the Nats will continue to consider all options, and are willing to listen to any offers put in front of them." - "Nationals Pastime: Mike Rizzo: "We'll continue to be aggressive and bold" (with video)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
.@Nationals GM Mike Rizzo with the simple answer. Is Ryan Zimmerman definitely at first base for 2015? "Yes."— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) December 8, 2014
• "Rizzo’s preferred avenue toward acquiring a second baseman, then, likely would come via trade. Ideally a young player under team control for several years." - "Nationals open to variety of options at second (or third) base" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
No RSOD, or at least no clear answer:
• "Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo wouldn't say whether Espinosa would abandon switch-hitting. 'It's something we're not going to comment on,' Rizzo said." - "Nationals Pastime: Notes on Espinosa's switch-hitting, Nats' search for infielder" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com
Rizzo wouldn't comment about possibility of Espinosa giving up switch-hitting, except to say "we've had conversations."— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) December 9, 2014
Zimmermann negotiations chatter:
• "There also are a number of people within the industry who see the Nats as a player in the Max Scherzer sweepstakes..." - "Nationals Pastime: Considering the factors on Nats' negotiations with starters" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
Rizzo said there was no progress to report as far as trying to extend players such as Zimmermann, Fister, Desmond, Clippard and Span. #Nats— William Ladson (@washingnats) December 9, 2014
Boswell chats with readers, drops k-nowledge, teamates want Moore to get a shot:
• "[Tyler] Moore's teammates can't wait for the day that he is free to leave and try to find a full time job somewhere..." - "Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post
Byron Kerr/Baseball Prospectus on Michael A. Taylor:
• "Chris Mellen, co-director of the Baseball Prospectus prospect team, said Taylor has the tools to play center field in the majors." - "Baseball Prospectus No. 3 Nats prospect: Michael A. Taylor" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
Baseball Prospectus No. 3 Nats prospect: Michael A. Taylor http://t.co/loXW9olYL1— Byron Kerr (@masnKerr) December 8, 2014
• "Deric Ladnier might have been long removed from his days as the scouting director for the Kansas City Royals, but that didn't make it any less meaningful to watch his old club play in October." - "New Diamondbacks scouting director Deric Ladnier hopes to match Royals success" - Nick Piecoro, AZCentral.com
• "The highlight of the meetings still will be the day Lester signs his $150 million contract, while rumors will be flying whether Max Scherzer gets $200 million from the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals or that infamous mystery team." - "MLB winter meetings will be a mad dash for bats" - Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports
• "Imagine hanging out with Matt Williams and his coaching staff or spending time with the Nationals' grounds crew." - "Lunch with Williams among Nats' charity auctions" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "Even if President of Baseball Operations & General Manager Mike Rizzo makes no major splashes near the Southern California beach this week, he’ll have plenty to say when he greets Season Plan Holders..." - "NatsFest gives fans an insider’s view" - Mike Feigen, Curly W Live
• "The minor league playersare Drew Hayes (Cincinnati Reds,11th round), Taylor Hill (Washington Nationals, 6th round), and Mark Lamm (Atlanta Braves, 6th round)." - "Spring Hill ptcher/catcher camp schedule for Dec. 29-30" - Columbia Daily Herald
• Braves: "A lot of folks ask why the Braves would trade Justin Upton or Evan Gattis, the only two hitters who had more than 18 homers on a team that last season ranked 29th in the majors in runs and tied for 23rd in homers." - "Why would Braves trade J-Up? For future" - David O'Brien, AJC.com
• Marlins: "Miami is exploring numerous trade scenarios and a few free-agent options, but not at the expense of creating a weakness in another part of its roster." - "Marlins try to fill one void without creating another" - Joe Frisaro, marlins.com
The #Marlins have signed C Jhonatan Solano to a minor league deal, uniting him with his brother, second baseman Donovan.— clarkspencer (@clarkspencer) December 9, 2014
• Mets: "Despite Jenrry Mejia’s success in the ninth inning in 2014, the job is Bobby Parnell’s to lose." - "Collins: Sorry Mejia, Bobby Parnell’s the closer" - Mike Puma, New York Post
• Phillies: "The Phillies do not plan on contending in the immediate future, a sobering admission that does not bother Chase Utley nor Jimmy Rollins." - "Phillies Notes: Rollins and Utley staying put with Phils" - Matt Gelb, Philadelphia Inquirer