Rizzo's rap sheet revisited

I have revised Rizzo’s rap sheet since the last iteration. Here is the new, revised version, with a few additions and modifications to the last version. See below for the details.

Rizzo’s rap sheet – a felonious history of theft, chicanery, larceny and fraud:

Guilty, guilty, guilty – each count merits life in solitary, without hope of parole:

2009 – Seattle gets Ryan Langerhans………………………………Nats get Michael Morse
2010 – Texas gets Christian Guzman + $8.2 mn………………..Nats get Tatusko, Roark
2010 – Minnesota gets Matt Capps………………………………….Nats get Ramos, Joe Testa
2012 – Minnesota gets Alex Meyer………………………………….Nats get Denard Span
2014 – Tampa Bay gets Nate Karns………………………………….Nats get Lobaton, Rivero

“Do not buy a used car from this man” category:

2011 – Cubs get Morris, Hicks, Burgess……………………………Nats get Tom Gorzelanny
2012 – Oakland gets David Freitas (who?)………………………..Nats get Kurt Suzuki
2013 – Oakland gets Michael Morse…………………………………Nats get Cole, Treinen, PTBNL
2013 – Detroit gets Lombo, Krol, Robbie Ray……………………Nats get Doug Fister
2014 – Cleveland gets Zach Walters…………………………………Nats get Asdrubal Cabrera
2014 – Texas gets Ross Detwiler………………………………………Nats get Bostick, Dos Santos

Jury still out, but an eventual guilty verdict seems very likely:

2014 – Tampa Bay gets Steven Souza……………………………….Nats get J. Ross and T. Turner
2015 – Oakland gets Tyler Clippard………………………………….Nats get Yunel Escobar
2015 – Yanks get Tony Renda………………………………………….Nats get David Carpenter

Hung jury, ordered back into deliberations:

2011 – Oakland gets Peacock, Cole, Milone, Norris……………Nats get Gio Gonzalez
2011 – Milwaukee gets Nyjer Morgan………………………………Nats get Cutter Dykstra
2013 – Tampa Bay gets David DeJesus……………………………..Nats get Mathew Spann

Nothing to see here – Mutually inconsequential huff-puffing, with no significant impact on baseball’s competitive statusphere:

2009 – Pirates get Joel Hanrahan, Lastings Milledge……………Nats get Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett
2010 – Arizona gets Josh Willingham………………………………..Nats get C. Brown, MPHRod
2011 – Arizona gets Jason Marquis……………………………………Nats get Zach Walters
2011 – Milwaukee gets Jerry Hairston……………………………….Nats get Erik Komatsu
2013 – Oakland gets Kurt Suzuki………………………………………Nats get Dakota Bacus.
2013 – Cubs get Ivan Pineyro……………………………………………Nats get Scott Hairston
2015 – Mets get Jerry Blevins…………………………………………..Nats get Matt den Dekker

The con man, inevitably, is conned, himself:

2013 – Oakland gets Billy Burns……………………………………….Nats get Jerry Blevins

Revisions from the last iteration

I added the Gorzelanny trade in 2011 to the list of steals by Rizzo, who traded 3 prospects in exchange for veteran lefty starter Tom Gorzelanny. That trade is the exception that proved the general rule that Rizzo knows prospects like no one else does, especially those within his own system. Neither Morris nor Hicks (pitchers) nor Burgess (an outfielder) ever made it to the bigs. Gorzelanny, on the other hand, started 12 games for the Nats in 2011, with a 2.88 ERA, and 7.8 Ks per 9 IP. Gorzo became an important part of the Nats 2011 staff, while none of the “prospects” that the Cubs received ever played a game for them, or anyone else, in the majors. The Nats non-tendered Gorzo in December, 2012, after rarely using him the previous year except for long relief in the role of mop-up guy for games that were deemed already lost. He made only one start in 2012. Nevertheless, that was a real one-sided deal that turned out much better for the Nats than for the Cubbies.

I also added the Nyger Morgan for Cutter Dykstra trade in 2011 to the list. Getting rid of Morgan was probably the priority in that trade (addition by subtraction) and Morgan quickly wore out his welcome in Milwaukee, just as he had done in DC. But Cutter Dykstra has surprised a lot of people by having a decent MiL career. He is still only 25, and Rizzo may yet get something in return for him in a trade. This one looked like a big nothing for a few years, but now has, at least, some promise of actually paying off for the Nats. We’ll see.

I have also downgraded the 2013 trade for Doug Fister by one notch – it no longer appears to be as lopsided as it once did. Fister was great last year, but has been as big a disappointment this year as he was a success last year. Robbie Ray, still young, has been a sometime starter in the bigs, who may yet find his niche. Nevertheless, Fister was a key reason why the Nats rallied to their 2nd division title in 2014, so they are still way ahead on that deal, but not by quite as much.

The Karns trade for Lobaton, Rivero (and Drew Vettleson) also does not appear as one-sided as it did at first, mainly because of the emergence of Karns as an effective starter for the Rays. Nevertheless, the Nats got a solid, if not great, backup catcher which they sorely needed, at the time, and a young lefty power arm in Rivero. Rivero still has upside, is younger than Karns, and controllable for years to come at a reasonable cost. Vettleson has become organizational depth.

Rizzo’s method and approach

One of the reasons I did this compilation was to try and read how Rizzo worked his trades, and I think the results are there to suggest a consistency in his approach. If you look at that list, you will see that Mike, time and time again, traded older vets for younger prospects in hopes of winning the long managerial game rather than going for the big prize in the short-term, e.g. trading Josh Willingham for Corey Brown and Henry Rodriquez. That one did not work out for the Nats, but the D-Backs got very little use out of Willingham, and parted ways with him even before his first season with them ended.

Then there was the Morse trade for AJ Cole, Blake Treinen and the PTBNL, which turned out to be Ian Krol. Cole is now ranked in the top 5 of Nats pitching prospects, Treinen has some of the best stuff in baseball, and has been an on-again/off-again reliever with big upside. Krol was subsequently used in the trade that brought Doug Fister to the Nats. Morse was never the factor in Oakland that he had been in DC, and has never had the success anywhere else that he had while here in 2012.

In 2012 Rizzo actually got Texas to take Christian Guzman off his hands in return for 2 young prospects, Ryan Tatusko and a throw-in named Tanner Roark. See? Sometimes the method really, really pays off.

And in 2010 Rizzo unloaded old Matt Capps for Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa. Ramos has been the Nats starting catcher ever since. Capps never worked out for the Twins.

In 2014 Rizzo snookered Texas (again!) by getting them to take a flyer on struggling veteran Ross Detwiler in return for Chris Bostick and Abel dos Santos. Detwiler was a flop in Texas, but Bostick has been showing promise as a versatile talent who has played both 2nd and SS, as well as some LF in the Nats MiL system. I have been following him since he first arrived, and have him tagged as a sleeper. He could be a 5th outfielder or a backup infielder for the Nats, or both. Some day he could prove to be one of those chips that Rizzo could use in exchange for a more pressing need. Lately, Bostick has shown that his swing has some real pop to it. And Abel dos Santos has also shown signs of promise as a RH reliever. Both guys are still very young. Rizzo is, once again, playing the long game with prospects while giving up nothing to get them. Smart, and consistent with his basic approach.

Also in 2014 Rizzo traded a mid-20s outfielder, Steven Souza, for Trea Turner and Joe Ross, trading an older rookie for his SS of the future and a young pitcher who has turned out to be a regular in the Nats starting rotation in his very first year with the Nats.

He also traded an aging Jason Marquis to get a very young Zach Walters, who turned into the trade chip that brought Asdrubal Cabrera to the Nats for their stretch run last year. He traded old Jerry Hairston for young Eric Komatsu (they don’t always work out), but the pattern is clear. The same can be said for trading veteran Kurt Suzuki for young Dakota Bacus, who may yet turn into a productive asset for the Nats. And in 2015 the Nats traded an over-30 reliever, Jerry Blevins, for a backup outfielder still in his prime, Matt den Dekker.

Listen to what they say

But watch what they do. Rizzo’s approach is to play the long game. You can tell that by what he has actually done. Never mind when he says he is satisfied with the team as it is. He is never satisfied.

This entry was posted in Analysis, Roster and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
  • These discussions are fun to have. Billy Burns went 3-4 yesterday. While many skeptics said he would come back to earth, hes still batting .293 with XBH speed for doubles and triples to push that OPS over 700. He is also 24-29 on steals. His defense is very good. Rizzo right now looks like he got billy-burned or billy-beaned on that trade!

    • rayvil01

      Eventually you get burned if you play often enough. Rizzo’s success rate is still pretty good. Compare him to that guy in San Diego!

      • nats128

        Its okay the way I see it. Rizzo has done fine overall and like Renda there were too many players blocking Burns. The A’s got quite the player.

  • rayvil01

    Excellent analysis and a lot of work on your part. Great job!

    The decline of Doug Fister remains one of the great mysteries of the year.

    • Still hard to believe that Fister couldn’t turn his season around. It was like a Dan Haren horror movie. The HR rate was frightening.

  • I’m not as all in on the Souza trade. Given what has happened this year with the lack of quality OG depth, I think Souza would have immensely helped. I knew Jayson was going to miss at least 2 games a week, which I was/am all for. But we see with Clint R playing OF, how that has hurt the team.

    Glad for J Ross of course but our lack of OG depth is hurting the ball club too. I mean, we had to see Clint R play OF. That kinda says it all for me.

    • Ugh, Ghost/admin…. please change OG to OF.

      Thanks.

    • rayvil01

      I’m “All-in” on that Souza trade. The OF depth is an issue, no question. But, we’d be in much worse shape without Ross. I could argue that since July 4th or so that he’s been the best arm on the staff.

    • virginiascopist

      I definitely agree having Souza would have been great, but even looking at the trade at present, given what a revelation Ross has been, I think it’s a phenomenal trade. Also, given that denDekker pretty much constitutes our outfield depth, I would also move that trade up, out of the “inconsequential” category, especially since we have several more years of him and Blevins played all of, what, a week?

      • If Souza was still with the Nats he probably would have started before Michael A. Taylor and at this point in both Souza and Taylor’s seasons I think MAT has outplayed him.

        Getting Ross turned out to be huge in the scope of things as Fister needed to be replaced. Add to the Souza trade the potential of the #12 rated prospect in all of baseball in Trea Turner and this could be the best trade in Rizzo’s lifetime if both Turner and Ross turn out to be future stars.

        den Dekker could be a good bench component for years to come.

  • Ny efffing J er.

    How many times do we have to go over this??

    • I got the edit. @laddieblahblah is recovering from surgery and the meds are playing havoc. If you see any other edits let me know. He got it right in the Milledge trade!

      • Thanks, G. Get Well Soon, Laddie!

        • @laddieblahblah hasn’t been able to log in yet on his home computer. He’s feeling better he said today. Hopefully he figures out how to comment back.

  • manassasnatsfan

    Forgot mention all the non deals this year, which probably allowed the Nets to pass us. The deals you don’t make can be as important as the ones you do.

  • “Jury still out, but an eventual guilty verdict seems very likely:

    2014 – Tampa Bay gets Steven Souza……………………………….Nats get J. Ross and T. Turner”

    I have a feeling this could go down as the greatest fleecing of this decade.

    You just never know as the Fister trade went sideways quickly.

  • Way to go @laddieblahblah Welcome to the Going Deep With The Nats community. This will be a good thread to update and repost from time to time.

  • zmunchkin

    Just two FYIs: added a read more tag – don’t want to clutter up the main page with entire posts; added some categories and tags.

    And good analysis!