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Rizzo: Espinosa Likely Won’t Lose Job After DL Stint

by Chris Lingebach
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - The Nats made surprising string of roster moves on Tuesday, some of which could have some serious long-term implications on the future direction of this franchise.

The beauty of this happening on a Tuesday is not having to wait past Wednesday for direct answers, which Mike Rizzo gave in his weekly radio appearance with 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny, and in rapid fire.

And as Rizzo told the guys, “each move kind of had an individual cause and effect,” so here they are, by his words, stripped down. Make of it what you will.

Danny Espinosa placed on the Disabled List:

Danny, we felt it was time to get him healthy, just because he wasn’t helping performance-wise, the team offensively, and he certainly wasn’t helping himself. So we put him on the disabled list. He’s going to see the wrist specialist and see if we can put him on the road to being healthy finally, because he’s certainly not playing offensively anywhere near his capabilities.

This guy’s a guy who can hit upwards to 20 home runs and have 20 stolen bases, and can be a good hitter in the big leagues from both sides of the plate, and he just wasn’t doing it. And we believe that although he played through the injuries, and they weren’t hurting him, but they were certainly affecting him in some way, shape or form.

He had seen a specialist. He had seen two specialists – a shoulder specialist and a hand-wrist specialist – and the hand specialist, we diagnosed what was wrong with the wrist, but it was something that the doctor felt, and Danny felt he could play through. But his performance showed me that he couldn’t play through it, so we finally made sure that he’s going to get healthy, and then go get his mechanics straightened out, come back and help the team like I know he can.

I see him as an everyday impactful second baseman, both offensively and defensively, a guy who’s hit twenty home runs and stole twenty bases in a single season, a gold glove defender at second base that’s a gutty, gritty character player.

Anthony Rendon Re-Called:

We brought Rendon up because he’ll lengthen our lineup. He’s a guy who could put the bat on the ball at the bottom of our lineup, drive in some runs, and be a guy that can be a productive RBI guy for us at the lower part of our lineup, and he’s one of our best offensive players that we could substitute for Danny. So that was the reason for that.

All moves with players with options are tenuous at best. Suffice it to say, Anthony Rendon is a Major League, he’s going to be a really good Major League player, and in the very near future he’s going to be  a Major League player to stay. I can’t put a timetable on it, but he’s a great player and he’s going to be a successful Major League player sometime in the very near future.

Zach Duke Designated For Assignment:

And Zach Duke, he just wasn’t feeling comfortable with his role out of the bullpen, even though he successfully did it last year for us. He wasn’t feeling comfortable with the workload he was doing.

Ian Krol Called Up:

We brought up Ian Krol, who’s a power left-handed pitcher who attacks the strike zone and has shown very little fear about throwing ball over the plate with two-plus pitches, and really performed admirably in the Double-A level. When we were looking for a left-handed replacement for Zach, it was clear this was the guy that this is the guy that had to be brought up.

Henry Rodriguez DFA’d:

And Henry, he just wasn’t performing and we couldn’t count on him. And when Erik Davis came up and showed a propensity to throw strikes and pound the strike zone, with three good pitches, we felt it was time to designate Henry and go with the best possible bullpen that we feel we could put out there. We tried extremely hard to get the maximum out of Henry because his stuff; he’s a guy that we thought that if we pitched on around, he could be a great asset for us. It didn’t work out. It played its course and it was time to move on from that.

Effect:

And as for that desired effect Rizzo spoke of above, well, he addressed that as well.

“It was to the part where we felt that we didn’t have our best 25 on the field,” Rizzo said. “If it shocked and woke some people up in the clubhouse, then that’s a good byproduct of the moves that we made, but they weren’t conscious moves to shock the team and say ‘hey, wake up or we’re gonna make moves.’ These were moves that I felt it was time to make.”

We should all have a little clearer understanding now of the whirlwind of changes that took place yesterday in and around Nats Park.

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