Like an animal stocking his prey, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo seems to pounce when we least expect it.
A year ago, Stephen Strasburg was re-signed by the Nationals in December and then a plethora of free agents were signed in January. There was even a minor trade after the new year, when Ryne Harper was acquired. Should we have been concerned when the calendar turned to 2021 and the only new face on the roster was Josh Bell?
No, we shouldn’t have. General manager Mike Rizzo does good work at the trading deadline each year, though, he may do his best work in January.
For those who lost hope in Mike Rizzo’s ability to play the market, be aggressive, or put a competitive team on the field, check the transaction wire. The addition of Brad Hand gave the Nationals their front line closer and in the process, kept him away from the Mets.
Until recently the Nationals were not directly tied to Hand. Speculation was there he would be a great fit, the Nats needing both a left-hander and a more tenured stopper.
Seems to be the reputation Mike Rizzo has had for some time now. He lays low in the weeds and lets the talking heads talk, then when you least expect it, he announces his presence with authority.
As fans, we know the general manager is actively engaged with agents, players, other team’s GM’s, and so on, though when very little from these talks gets leaked we begin to wonder. The Toronto Blue Jays have been tied to dozens of free agents this offseason. Almost everyone who is on the market, has been rumored to be a good fit for the Jays or someone the Jays are interested in.
They have George Springer and Robbie Ray for their troubles, this is just a small fraction of the players they have sought. While the Nationals haven’t been connected to many this year, they seem to have captured the ones they’ve pursued. Carlos Santana comes to mind as one who got away, though either the Nationals don’t leak their interests or they haven’t been spurned much.
For those in the business of trolling, don’t sleep on Mike Rizzo, your tweets may not age well.