Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo told reporters this spring the main focus this season would be on player development, and getting the in-house talent in the Nats’ organization playing up to their potential so the club can see what they’ve got, while trying to compete for a postseason berth.
“What I’d like to see is the progression of our young players and I think that’s an important part of our process here,” Rizzo explained.
“We need to get our young players competing at championship-caliber performances. To me that’s our No. 1 priority.”
As he has said from the start of the reboot, at the July 30th trade deadline last season, the GM in D.C. thinks the organizational knowledge gained in building up previous contenders gives them a blueprint for what they have planned.
“We have the knowledge and the front office staff to do it,” Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies in mid-May this season. “We have the coaches and the managers in the big leagues and the minor leagues to do it, we’re all on the same page with ownership on down that this is the plan we had since the trade deadline last year.
“And I think that we’re accomplishing a lot of our goals.”
Rizzo said last winter they would proceed accordingly in terms of free agent signings or trades going forward, building up the talent they’ve assembled, supplementing it at the trade deadline and in the draft this season, and then seeing where they need to add more talent.
“We’ll see where we’re at as far as where our prospects in the minor leagues are,” Rizzo said.
“It’s always a balance of everyone coming to the big leagues and impacting the big leagues at the right time, so you don’t want to — you saw what we did the last time we rebuilt this thing into a championship organization.
“Right before the impact at the big leagues, when our young players came to fruition, and we became a really good team, we went out and made some impactful free agent signings.
“I think that’s the best way to kind of combine the two, is grow your own, develop your own guys, and when they become ready for impacting the big leagues, then you go out and get your guys to finish it off.”
We asked this week what you thought of the Nationals’ progress in their organizational reboot, and surprisingly (maybe?) a slim majority is holding out hope, or at least saying maybe it’s too early to tell. A total of 38% of those who responded chose that option.
It barely beat out the “Complete Disaster” folks (37%) and 24% said things are at least going as they expected, whatever that means to them.
Maybe we should have taken a bit more time thinking about our options for answers.
Anyway, here are the results in picture form...
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