In an MLB Network Radio interview over the weekend, Washington Nationals’ Vice President and Assistant General Manager, International Operations, Johnny DiPuglia talked about the club’s starting rotation, and particularly the starters at the back end, telling the shows hosts that it was one area where the team wasn’t getting what they needed.
“What our issue has been, has been that fourth, fifth starter giving us some innings, and the young guys haven’t stepped up and they need to step up,” DiPuglia explained. “We need our fourth, fifth starter to step up and we’ll be fine.”
Though he didn’t mention anyone by name, Austin Voth, in particular, has struggled to go deep in his outings, though he isn’t the only one.
Manager Davey Martinez said after Voth’s two-inning outing on Sunday afternoon in Boston that the club needed to reassess what is going on with the 28-year-old right-hander.
Is the back end of the rotation something that is going to be addressed before the 4:00 PM deadline today?
DiPuglia said he knew that GM Mike Rizzo would do what he thought was in the team’s best interest.
“Mike Rizzo is going to be Mike Rizzo. He’s going to be aggressive, he’s going to do the best trade for the organization, that’s why he’s probably, in my opinion, one of the best GMs in the game. He’s going to do the best for what the Nationals need for this year, whether it’s trade pieces or acquire pieces, I know what’s inside that man, I know he doesn’t like to lose so I know he’s going to search and try to discover anything he can to make that team better. Mike Rizzo is going to do the best for the organization.”
Over the weekend, MLB Network analyst Jon Heyman wrote on Twitter that from what he’s heard, there is “no inclination to sell” in the nation’s capital, in spite of their rough first half of the 60-game campaign.
“It’s not something they do, not in their DNA. If they do anything, it’ll be buy.”
While teams have been calling about some players like, “... Howie Kendrick, Kurt Suzuki, Asdrubal Cabrera and others,” Heyman added, the Nationals, “... have never been in sell mode, and they aren’t now.”
There isn’t much in the way of rumors about targets, though The Athletic’s Jayson Stark wrote that the Nationals are, “looking to buy today.”:
“They’ve asked about a wide range of available starters.
“A name that could fit: Robbie Ray. Drafted by the Nats in the 12th round of the 2010 Bryce Harper draft. Later dealt for Doug Fister.
Trading for a pitcher that he drafted and developed and the dealt away? Sounds like Rizzo.
UPDATE: Scratch Ray off the list of potential additions...
Left-hander Robbie Ray has been traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, a source familiar with the deal tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 31, 2020
The GM did, however, say in a recent Zoom call with reporters that when it comes to the starting depth in the organization, he likes the options.
“We like the depth that we have at starting pitching, and we’re one of the organizations that have depth at that spot,” Rizzo said.
“We get calls about our starting pitching all the time and we feel very, very fortunate that we have that type of depth of young arms that can contribute on the big league level.”
What will Rizzo do? The trade deadline is at 4:00 PM ET this afternoon...