Mike Rizzo and Davey Martinez give the State of the Team address!

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

When the Washington Nationals‘ general manager, Mike Rizzo, spoke at the Hot Stove event for full-season ticket holders this weekend, he said you cannot fool smart baseball fans and sell them on something that isn’t there. He was clear that the team was in a retool/rebuild, and that he would not venture to guess on how many wins the team would get this year. After mistakes in the last offseason when he built a team that was severely lacking in defense, Rizzo vowed, uh promised, to use his exact wording, that the defense would be better. 

“We’re going to be a young, energetic group of guys. Defensively we’re going to be better — I promise you,” Rizzo said. “which makes our pitching staff better — I promise you. We’re going to be scrappy to try to score enough runs to win games. Our goal is to win. I’m not going to set a win number. … We want to have a swagger about us. … That’s my promise to you guys.”

That is a lot of promises. And I think Rizzo gets it. He got away from the team’s foundation of a sound defense last year as the team lost its way as a bottom dweller on defense.

The future is all about the prospects who will be in the system after the 2023 draft, and the young core of players aged 25-and-under. Both manager Dave Martinez and Rizzo talked extensively about CJ Abrams, Luis Garcia, and Keibert Ruiz as well as the young pitchers of Cade Cavalli, MacKenzie Gore, and Josiah Gray.

“This is the most lush and successful prospect list that we’ve ever had,” Rizzo said. “It’s the most talented players we’ve ever had in the farm system at one time.”

Emphasis on the word ‘ever’ by Rizzo. Lush fields of green with the sound of baseball. Google that sentence for the photos if you want to see those images.

Maybe the best quote came from Ryan Zimmerman.

“Everybody is happy when you win. But you learn a lot about people when you lose,” Zim said.

This is a really interesting part from Zim in talking about enduring all of those 100-loss seasons and how it was worth it when a World Series championship was at the end. He said he would do it all over again with the same results.

Another telling part of the event was Rizzo and Assistant GM Mark Scialabba naming names for the Fredericksburg National roster. Elijah Green of course topped the list. Not part of this video was a discussion that Brady House is healthy and that’s good news. A side conversation revealed that they were not sure if he would start in Single-A or start the season at High-A Wilmington. Of course, like T.J. White, you can also imagine a position change is in the offing for House to third base. Also not mentioned in the video, expect top prospect James Wood to start in Wilmington and Robert Hassell III in Harrisburg Double-A.

Hope springs eternal.

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