Not everyone is sure that Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo is done dealing. On Wednesday night, the Nationals acquired veteran infielder Yunel Escobar from the Oakland A's in return for Tyler Clippard, acquiring what Rizzo said today was the second baseman they've been after this winter.
"I think it really solves some problems for both teams," Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier this afternoon, describing the deal as a "win-win" for both sides.
"We were in need of an upgrade at second base," Rizzo continued. "We certainly needed depth and experience at the middle infield position. We got ourselves a guy who plays extremely good defense both at shortstop and second base. Who is a major league veteran. Who has played on championship-caliber clubs. Who can perform offensively and defensively that we control for two possibly three years if we want it to be and to get a player like that you've to give up a good player. We gave up one of the best eighth inning guys in the history of baseball with one year of control left and a great teammate."
As for the people who are not quite sure the Nationals are done? Count FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and ESPN's Jayson Stark among them, at least based on what they're hearing from their respective sources.
Most of the chatter involves Ian Desmond...
Rosenthal and Stark on Nationals:
• "Well, what if the Mets offered second baseman Daniel Murphy, a player whom the Nats tried to acquire last July?" - "Mets should go all-in for Nats' Desmond; Braves should capitalize on Kimbrel's value" - Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports
Exec who has spoken w/ #Nationals isn't buying spin they dealt for Yunel Escobar to play 2B. Says they're still trying to move Ian Desmond— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) January 15, 2015
Here's what Rizzo had to say about last night's trade and some of the persistent rumors when he spoke to the beat reporters covering the Nationals:
#Nats Pres. of BB ops Rizzo on Escobar: "We feel confident we got a very good MLB player who is very versatile & upgraded our talent level."— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) January 15, 2015
Rizzo on @TylerClippard: "The longer you're w guys the harder it is to see them move on. This was certainly a tough conversation... (cont.)"— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) January 15, 2015
Rizzo: "I told him how I feel about him & what a wonderful role model he is for young players. I wished him well&he thanked me for the opp."— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) January 15, 2015
#Nats Pres. of BB Ops Rizzo:"Ian Desmond is our shortstop. He’s the leader of our team. He’s one of the best shortstops in all of baseball."— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) January 15, 2015
Here's what the rest of the baseball world is saying about last night's latest Nationals/A's trade...
What did Jim Duquette say on MLB Network Radio?:
Jim Duquette: "The Nationals are a lot closer to moving Ian Desmond to the Mets than you think"— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) January 15, 2015
Jim Duquette clarifies: "They WERE a lot closer to moving Ian Desmond to the Mets than you think"— MLB Network Radio (@MLBNetworkRadio) January 15, 2015
NATS BEAT on Yunel Escobar for Tyler Clippard:
• "Nationals GM Mike Rizzo explains why he was comfortable trading Tyler Clippard to the Athletics for Yunel Escobar." - "Mike Rizzo discusses his trade of Tyler Clippard for Yunel Escobar" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "The loss of Clippard, an all-star last season and in 2011, will require some late-inning shuffling in bullpen." - "Nationals acquire Yunel Escobar from A’s for Tyler Clippard" - Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post
Rizzo on Escobar's character: "We've vetted him quite a bit...and we're satisfied he will fit in in the #Nationals clubhouse."— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) January 15, 2015
•"The trade — incredibly, it’s the ninth between the Nats and A’s since 2010 — was finalized after both sides examined physicals for both players." - "Nats trade Clippard to A’s for Escobar" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
Rizzo likes in-house candidates to replace Clippard, depth of current group, but says it's only Jan. 15. "We're not taking any vacations."— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) January 15, 2015
• "The Nationals and Athletics have agreed to yet another trade. And this one involves more than just prospects or players that can fill out the back end of a roster." - "Nationals Pastime: Nats acquire Yunel Escobar for Tyler Clippard (updated)" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
• "Escobar, 32, is coming off a season in which he hit .258 with seven home runs and 58 RBIs for Tampa Bay, making only 16 errors at shortstop." - "Nats send Clippard to A's for Escobar, flexibility" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
Tyler Clippard said he was emotional after talking to pitching coach Steve McCatty.They were together since the Minor Leagues in 2008. #Nats— William Ladson (@washingnats) January 15, 2015
• "At some point later on Thursday, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo is expected to hold a conference call with reporters to explain Wednesday night’s deal..." - "The ripple effects of the Tyler Clippard-Yunel Escobar trade" - James Wagner, The Washington Post
• "At first glance, this indeed seemed like a head-scratcher of a deal from the Nationals’ perspective." - "More thoughts on the Tyler Clippard-Yunel Escobar trade" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
By the way, Rizzo referred to Clippard as "maybe the best eighth-inning setup man in the history of the game." High praise, indeed.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) January 15, 2015
• "But now Clippard is gone from the organization with which he had spent the last seven years. And now the Nationals will need to figure out how to replace him." - "Nationals Pastime: How to fill the eighth-inning role?" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com
NATIONAL(S) BEAT on Escobar for Clippard:
• "For a while, I’ve personally been interested in Tyler Clippard. I’ve considered on several occasions writing about him..." - "Many of the Ways that Tyler Clippard Is Unusual" - Jeff Sullivan, FanGraphs Baseball
ICYMI - FanGraphs: Many of the Ways that Tyler Clippard Is Unusual http://t.co/pttiBHSHGq— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) January 15, 2015
• "A's traded with Tampa Bay on Saturday for second baseman/outfielder Ben Zobrist, but the condition of the deal was that they had to take Escobar as part of the package..." - "A's send Yunel Escobar to Nationals for reliever Tyler Clippard" - John Hickey, San Jose Mercury News
• "Enter Tyler Clippard. Clippard is projected to earn $9.3 million at arbitration according to the Matt Swartz model, which is really a lot of money for a reliever." - "Athletics trade: Tyler Clippard is not Jim Johnson, Yunel Escobar was no panacea" - Jeremy F. Koo, Athletics Nation
• "It seems from both projections, as well as general approximations of value, that Yunel Escobar can potentially give more value to a team than Tyler Clippard could." - "The Athletics Trade a Shortstop for a Reliever" - Eno Sarris, FanGraphs Baseball
Other Nats-related links, quotes, etc.:
• "Nationals pitcher Drew Storen understands there’s more to Frank the Tank than a beer-bong-swilling, quad-streaking wild man." - "Drew Storen has ‘Old School’ reaction to Tyler Clippard trade" - Gabe Hiatt, The Washington Post
• "Seeking to bolster their catching depth, the Nationals acquired minor-league veteran Dan Butler from the Red Sox..." - "Nationals acquire catcher Dan Butler from Boston for Danny Rosenbaum" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "'When (Nationals scouts) saw him late in the regular season just before he got hurt, they use a 2-to-8 scale, they had with a 7 fastball, a 7 slider and a 6 changeup,' Manuel explained." - "Baseball America No. 5 Nats prospect: Erick Fedde" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com
Baseball America believes No. 5 Nats prospect: Erick Fedde can be front line starter http://t.co/U847uPi9EI— Byron Kerr (@masnKerr) January 14, 2015
• "Butler is the second catcher the Nats acquired this week. On Tuesday, Washington signed Steven Lerud to a Minor League deal..." - "Nationals add catcher Butler in deal with Red Sox" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "Ankiel said he is eager to work with top outfield prospects Michael Taylor and Brian Goodwin, as well as Bryce Harper, his teammate in 2012 who is still only 22 years old." - "Ankiel continuing Dorfman's legacy with Nationals" - Andrew Simon, nationals.com
• "Manfred can be the one to tell Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos that he needs to start playing nice with the Washington Nationals on their TV contract before any good-will gestures are granted." - "Big chapter in Bud Selig's 'wonderful life' winding down" - Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY Sports
• "The Rangers are moving Detwiler back to the rotation after he spent last season in the bullpen with the Washington Nationals." - "Rangers exchange salary figures" - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Texas Rangers Blog, ESPN Dallas
• "Baseball stadium talks resumed Wednesday in the bid to bring two more Major League Baseball spring training teams to Palm Beach County." - "New negotiations begin for baseball stadium deal" - Andy Reid, Florida Sun-Sentinel
NL EAST UPDATES: Braves keeping Kimbrel? Philly prospects, Cisek sells seashells, Mets? See above, stop being greedy...
• Braves: "A day after trading away popular slugger Evan Gattis in the latest in a series of offseason moves, Atlanta Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said Thursday the team has no plans to deal closer Craig Kimbrel." - "Atlanta Braves' John Hart says team has no plans to trade star closer Craig Kimbrel" - Creg Stephenson, AL.com
• "Now that the Braves have traded Jason Heyward, Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, some fans and media members have opined that they should now move Craig Kimbrel." - "Hart says he will not trade Kimbrel" - Mark Bowman, Bowman's Blog
• Phillies: "First things first: Maikel Franco should spend the first couple of months of the season at Triple A so that he is not eligible to become a free agent until after the 2021 season." - "Pays to keep Franco in minors a while longer" - David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News
• Marlins: "Cishek has a side-arm delivery, but the Marlins do not want to take a chance in the event that he were to get hurt." - "Marlins' Steve Cishek wants multiyear deal" - Scott Gelman, Fish Stripes