Chatting with a fairly prominent big league scout - not affiliated with Washington - who regularly covers the Veneuelan Winter League produced some encouraging remarks about newly acquired Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez.
"I've seen him throw for years down here," he said, "but he's never shown the command that I saw this year." Rodriguez is a Veneuelan native who signed with Oakland as an amateur free agent at the age of 17. "He throws very hard, upper 90s with little effort and a 89-91 slider. He'll make the big league club."
OK, but in what role?
"I doubt he closes right away, but I know they think he can handle that role, now that he's throwing more strikes," the scout said.
As a situational reliever for the A's in 2010, Rodriguez appeared in 29 games, pitching an inning or less in 28 of those appearances. Subtract his two worst performances, in which he allowed six earned runs over one complete inning, and his 4.55 ERA falls to about 2.50. It's why most scouts will tell you they look at a reliever's season outing-by-outing.
Also, you may have read that the Kansas City Royals wanted Jordan Zimmermann</a>, Danny Espinosa and Drew Storen in return for Zack Greinke. My source says that K.C. also wanted Derek Norris as part of that deal.
I like Greinke, but not quite that much.