Mike Rizzo joined Holden and Danny, as he does every Wednesday at 11:30 p.m., to let the guys know how he felt about being swept at home by the red hot New York Yankees, where the team is in contract talks with their 1st-round pick, 17-year-old Lucas Giolito, and whether he had any prior knowledge of Joel Peralta of the Tampa Bay Rays being a cheater.
First things first, the Nationals invited the Yankees into their home over the weekend in front of sellout crowds, only to be laughed out of it in a New York sweep. Mike Rizzo spoke of the talent-level of the Yankees, and how those games can be used as a measuring stick for where the team stands amongst the league’s elite. He mentioned how diligent the Yankees bats were, with veteran leadership behind every swing, and how good they were at working pitchers deep into the count, adding that the Nats’ starting pitching held up through it all. It was the offense that failed them against the gold standard from the Bronx. Rizzo alluded to youth no longer being an acceptable excuse.
“We were in each game with them, but those days are long gone. We need to beat those teams, especially at home and we didn’t do it.”
Holden asked the general manager if he thought instant replay needs to be expanded in baseball, after a questionable call at the plate, in which Tyler Moore was called out, potentially stole one victory away from the Nats. Rizzo was inherently against any revisions in the system that would delay the game any further but did add that the MASN broadcast had the replay up in a matter of seconds.
“There’s ways for certain plays that really affect the outcome of games to be reviewed in a quick efficient manner and if they could do that I would probably be for that.”
A ritual that almost seems normal now to Washington fans, the Nationals made national headlines during their 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday. By the urging of Davey Johnson, umpires stopped the game to closely examine the equipment of Rays relief pitcher Joel Peralta, who was promptly ejected from the game after they discovered a “foreign substance”, later to be revealed as pine tar in Peralta’s glove.
A couple of things were odd about this. 1) How did Davey know Peralta was doing something to gain a competitive advantage without seeing him throw a pitch? And 2) Peralta was a member of the Nats just two years prior, so, did Davey know of this practice occurring while he was on the staff here?
Rays manager Joe Maddon called Davey’s request “bush league” after the game, insinuating he broke an unwritten rule of baseball. Rizzo’s take:
“Well if Davey or somebody in the dugout knew that there was a foreign substance on the glove and it was assisting the pitcher and they didn’t call him out, then they’d have a problem with me because we’re trying to win games too. We knew Joel because he was with us before and we thought that that was the case, and Davey called him out and he happened to be right.”
As for the Nationals breaking one of the “unwritten rules” of baseball per Joe Maddon, Rizzo disagrees.
“The unwritten rules of baseball. I know Joe Madden as well as anybody. We were signed by the same scout in the Angels system. This is gamesmanship and sticking up for your players and that’s what you have to do.”
Headlines. Headlines. Headlines.
With the Washington Nationals in the headlines every day as a result of many players that were cultivated through this farm system, it’s only fair to ask about the future crop, in this case 17-year-old 1st-round draft pick Lucas Giolito. The GM was asked to specify where the team was in negotiations with the 6’6” pitcher who boasts a 100-mph fastball.
“We’re in the negotiation stage. We brought him into our campus to kind of recruit him and show him what we’re all about. We didn’t talk any kind of terms or money but we’ll be engaged with his representatives in the very near future.”
The Nationals have until July 13th at 5 p.m. to sign players selected in the first-year player draft.
The rumor mill is swirling about the Nats moving Ross Detwiler back into the back of the rotation after Chien-Ming Wang had another poor outing, allowing 5 earned runs off 7 hits and 3 walks in 3 1/3 innings against the Rays. Rizzo said his velocity is there, but “mechanically he’s off”, something they may need to address by moving Wang to the bullpen.