2 Out of 3 Ain’t Bad:
Davey Martinez’s club took the series finale in Arizona, and the first two in LA, snapping an 11-game home win streak (and 8-game win streak overall) for the Dodgers in the opener in Chavez Ravine. Getting two wins in Los Angeles was a surprising development, in context, with the way things have gone for Washington this season, but as the Nationals’ fifth-year manager said on Tuesday night, it all starts, as it always has, with good pitching.
“I’ve always said this,” Davey Martinez told reporters,” ... if our starting pitching can keep us in the game, we’ll score some runs, and our bullpen’s been pretty good. So they’re playing well right now, and I’m proud of the guys. Because all year long we fell short, but they don’t quit. And I love that about them.”
The Nationals fell behind early in the third of three with the Dodgers, trailing 6-0 after one, but they did take 2 of 3 in Dodger Stadium, where Los Angeles was 34-13 going into the 3-game series.
“I’m proud of them,” Martinez said after the series finale. “Today, like I said, we fell behind early, but we had a good series here, and we finished off strong in Arizona, we go home with a day off, get some rest and come back, we’ve got another tough team in St. Louis coming in, let’s come back and continue to play good baseball, good hard baseball, like I said, for me it starts with our starting pitching. Our starting pitching gives us some length, we’ll score some runs, and our bullpen has been doing a great job.”
Patrick Corbin, who gave up six runs in 2⁄3 of an inning in yesterday’s loss in LA, has been struggling for two and a 1⁄2 years now, after a solid showing in the first year in D.C. in 2019, and there are two years remaining on the 6-year/$14OM deal he signed in 2018-19, with $24M and $35M salaries in each of the final two years of the deal, respectively, so reports the Nationals might try to foist the rest of the contract on teams interested in acquiring Juan Soto (who turned down a 15-year/$440M offer, prompting the team to go and look at the possibility of a trade).
But GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies yesterday his front office has not explored that possibility when discussing Soto (or others) with interested teams.
“It’s frustrating and maddening for me to read most of it,” he said of the reports out there which say they’re trying to tie Corbin to Soto. “We’ve never contacted a team and talked about Juan Soto and attaching any contract to any player. We’re not going to dilute a return for any player by adding a bad contract, that’s not where we’re at in our organization at this time. We want to get the most for each and every trade that we do, so we certainly are not going to tack on anybody’s contract to anybody’s deal including Juan Soto’s or Josh Bell’s or anybody’s.”
Rizzo, did, however, confirm they have spoken to other teams about Soto.
“We’re in conversations with Juan Soto, with several teams that I think have real interest in him, also with several other players that have had interest with other teams.
“I’m not going to handicap if we’re going to trade [Soto] or not. I will say this, we’re going to have to get the deal that we want that makes the most sense, that gets us an opportunity to become a championship organization faster than not trading him, so that’s it in a nutshell.”
Asked about the possibility of parting with Soto after Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner, Max Scherzer, and more have left the organization (via free agency or trade) over the last few years, and how the fanbase might react to a Soto trade, Rizzo explained at length how he thought fans should view all of the above.
“That tells me that we’ve got a lot of good players coming through Washington, D.C.,” Rizzo said. “We’ve got division titles, we’ve got World Championship trophies, we’ve got Silver Sluggers, MVPs, Cy Young award-winners, we’re running a lot of talent through Washington, D.C. I grew up a Cubs fans, and they didn’t win a World Series for 109 years. In my lifetime as a Chicagoan, when I lived there, they never won it. If the fans like the product on the field, if it’s a winning product, if they play the way the fans want them to play, if the team really embraces the name on the front of the jersey, and is a good role model and a good team for the fans of Washington, D.C. to get behind, they’re going to love this team. And we’ve had some really good players through here, some have stayed and some have gone. And we continue to put a good, championship-quality product on the field. We’re down right now, we’re easy to kick because we’re in last place, but we’ll be back. We’ve got a tried and true formula, we’ve got a plan to make this thing work, the plan is in place. This reboot started at this time last year, around August 1st, around the trade deadline, so we’re one year into this reboot, and I see progress in the minor league system. I see guys at the upper ends of the minor leagues that are going to be big contributors in the near future.
“We’ve had three solid drafts, we’ve had a great trade deadline last year, and we see this organization going in the right direction.”