The Nationals farm system helped general manager Mike Rizzo make a trade this week for Tom Gorzelanny. Two minor league pitchers, Graham Hicks and A.J. Morris, were sent to the Chicago Cubs along with outfield prospect Michael Burgess.
The team still has prospects that have impressed. making it easier for Rizzo to make such moves because there is finally some organizational depth to work from now, and other major league teams are taking notice.
Rizzo has some pieces to play with now. The team can go out and pay the most competitive rate to get a guy like Jayson Werth. They also can go the veteran-for-prospect route like they did for Gorzelanny.
Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa said on 106.7 The Fan last week that the organization has a lot of prospects on the offensive side that are grabbing headlines.
“There are a lot of great prospects in the Nats’ system, Espinosa said. “It is hard to just sit there and say one guy. I think that Jesus Valdez is a great outfielder that we have. He is a real good hitter. Valdez makes contact, hits for a good average, and drives in a lot of runs.”
Valdez has been consistent. He hit .273 for Harrisburg and in the Dominican Winter League. For the Double-A Senators, Valdez smacked 31 doubles, nine triples, four homers and had 65 RBIs in 139 games.
Espinosa also likes catcher Jhonatan Solano, saying “He has done a great job for us.”
Solano hit .252 for Harrisburg in 90 games with 42 RBIs and .471 in five games (8-for-17) in the Dominican Winter League.
“Obviously, Tyler Moore has gotten a little bit of play,” Espinosa said. “He had a great season in Potomac. I think there is a lot of talent (in the Nats’ system).”
Moore was the Carolina League player of the year, hitting 31 homers with 111 RBIs and batting .269 in 129 games for the Single-A P-Nats.
Espinosa told me about these guys before the Gorzelanny trade, further emphasizing that Rizzo did not have to give away the Nats’ top prospects to make a deal for a proven veteran on the mound.