Here’s hoping you and yours enjoyed the best Christmas possible yesterday. I’ve taken two naps during the family festivities at the home of my stepbrother in Newark, Del. - one before dinner, one after - and am so stuffed with homemade goodness that I may not have to eat for several days. The downside of the post-turkey, tryptophan-induced food coma is that I’m wide awake as Dec. 26 dawns.
You can only spend so much time counting the gift cards - and I’ve amassed a plethora of free dining options, from Outback to Chili’s to Ruby Tuesdays to P.F. Chang’s. So much for making any headway on that diet between the holidays. Well, there’s always next year, right? What do you mean it’s only six days away?
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has been busy this offseason, though his work has been selectively targeted. He’s filled all the major holes he wanted to fill - nabbing groundball machine Doug Fister via trade to bolster the rotation, signing free agent Nate McLouth to a two-year deal for some outfield/bench depth and dealing for left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins at the Winter Meetings.
Those are the moves Rizzo made, the ones he hopes will pay dividends as the Nationals try to reclaim the National League East title in 2014.
But what about the moves Rizzo didn’t make? You know the old baseball axiom about the best moves sometimes being the ones that didn’t come to fruition? How did Rizzo fare by that measuring stick?
The regular season was barely over and the playoffs had just begun when the Blue Jays were linked to a possible deal for Nats catcher Wilson Ramos. Yet, here we are as one year is ready to morph into another, and Ramos is still a Nat, cemented as the starting backstop for next season. Maybe this non-move fits the bill as Rizzo’s best of the offseason, in your opinion?
Before Rizzo acquired Fister from the Tigers for a three-player package of infielder Steve Lombardozzi and left-handers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray, the Nats had been said to be eyeing Detroit starter Max Scherzer, the American League Cy Young Award winner or Rays ace David Price. Assuming you’re satisfied with getting Fister without giving up too much, did Rizzo do the right thing by not raiding his farm system’s depth in a deal for Scherzer or Price?
For much of the offseason, there were rumors that one of the Nats’ two right-handed set-up men, Tyler Clippard or Drew Storen, would be dealt to fill another need. Yet, both are still Nationals, with the club hoping Storen can be the pitcher he was once he returned from getting his mechanics tweaked in Triple-A in August and that Clippard can again be a durable presence out of the ‘pen. Perhaps your favorite Rizzo non-move is keeping both relievers instead of dealing from a position of depth.
Second baseman Danny Espinosa has both his champions and his detractors, those who want to see him get another shot and those who feel he’s worn out his welcome. Though other teams have inquired, Rizzo has held firm that he feels Espinosa has a future in D.C., perhaps as a second baseman if the infield is eventually reconfigured or, in the short term, as a multifaceted reserve. Is the fact that Espinosa is still apparently in the Nats’ future plans a good thing?
Those are just some of the beneficiaries of the moves Rizzo hasn’t made so far this winter. Which one do you think impacts the Nationals the most? And if you think there’s another I haven’t listed, feel free to state your case in the comments section.