Nationals GM Mike Rizzo and manager Jim Riggleman addressed the Nationals’ All-Star selection (Matt Capps), their Final Man Vote candidate (Ryan Zimmerman) and their most high-profile snub (Stephen Strasburg) after Sunday’s game. And while Riggleman was more diplomatic about Strasburg -- who has a 2.45 ERA in six starts but who has been in the majors for a month -- missing the team, Rizzo finally tipped his hand.
He’d said all month that the Nationals would be happy to send Strasburg to the July 13 game in Anaheim if Phillies manager Charlie Manuel picked him for the team. But after Sunday’s game, Rizzo admitted Strasburg didn’t have the credentials to be there.
“As far as his numbers and his stats, I don’t believe he deserved to be on the All-Star team this year, because just too many people would’ve been left off if he would’ve been put on,” Rizzo said. “Like Jim said, there’s many All-Star Games in his future if he stays healthy. He’d rather have it done the right way and legitimately.”
Said Riggleman: “I certainly see the logic in that he hadn’t been out there that much to be on the (National League) club.”
Rizzo said he was surprised the Nationals only had one All-Star, citing Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, Ivan Rodriguez and Josh Willingham as players who could’ve been there.
“But there’s only so many spots,” Rizzo said. “It’s a tough job for Charlie Manuel to pick the team. There’s always guys that are left off, and hopefully they use that as incentive to show that they did belong in the All-Star Game in the second half of the season.”
Rizzo also said he was very proud of Capps, who the Nationals signed in the off-season after he was non-tendered by the Pirates. The Nationals made Capps the centerpiece of their plan to remake their bullpen in the winter, signing him for $3.5 million and installing him as their closer. He’s rewarded them with 22 saves in 26 opportunities.
“He fit our profile,” Rizzo said. “He was a guy that had had success in the past. He had a track record. I’d seen him pitch in the past and really liked his stuff. He was a 26-year-old guy that we can control for a period of time. He was good for us in 2010, and we believe, beyond. So that was why I thought it was an important signing then, and I think he’s an important part of the ballclub now.”