(AP Photo. Mike Rizzo has had a busy offseason so far, hiring boatloads of scouts, advisers, directors, senior advisers to directors, and is dad in an attempt to rebuild the mess in Washington left behind by Jim Bowden.)
"We don't think that the free-agent class leads us to [pay big money]. I believe the things we need or want the most are out there, and we are going to address it. I don't see us going after that super free agent like Matt Holliday or Jon Garland. I don't see us playing on that level. We don't think it's a fit for us."
(Mike Rizzo, via Nationals dot com, 12/2/2009)
Hard to argue with Mike Rizzo's assertion that the quality of this year's free-agent class leaves a lot to be desired; but reading various accounts of poor Brian Cashman and the constraints he's being forced to work within for the Yankees going into the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis makes us wonder if Mike Rizzo is working under a similar (albeit on a much smaller scale) mandate for the Nationals this offseason:
"Everybody had input and Cash was given a number to take to the Winter Meetings to execute a game plan with. We feel it's a pretty definite budget, but any business has to respond to circumstances."
(Yankee President Randy Levine, via NY Post, 12/5/2009)
Gasp! Can you believe "Cash" has to trim $15 million from his $201 million 2009 payroll? Oh, the humanity!
But with several bad contracts coming off the books -- most notably Austin Kearns and Dmitri Young -- it begs the question: What sort of budget is Mike Rizzo working with as he makes his way to Indianapolis for the Winter Meetings? Yeah, you know: the Nats ranked 27th in payroll in 2009 ($59,328,000). But they almost broke the bank to sign Mark Teixeira last December. And in the wake of the failed bid for Teixeira, Stan Kasten told us last winter we're not supposed to care about payroll -- we just think we care about it. Remember the Stanifesto? Stan set everybody straight at NatsFest last January:
Couple other things people ask me when I talk to them that I wanted to address here. First, payroll. 'Stan, what is the payroll gonna be?' I get that question a lot. I've always had it for all of the years I've been in sports, any of the sports I've been in, and I am bewildered why fans ask me that. Because first of all, I don't know. Second of all, if I knew I wouldn't tell you -- because I've never talked about payroll, and you know why? It's because you really don't care. You think you care. I know you don't care. And here's why: You don't care about payroll. Who here wanted us to sign Mark Teixeira? Show of hands. Anyone? OK. Me, too. But let me ask, do you care -- do you care -- if we paid him $180 million or $18 million dollars? You don't care what we're paying. You just want him here. I get that.
(Stan Kasten, via Nationals Journal, 1/26/2009)
Long story short: we're not worrying about the Nats 2010 payroll here at the offices of The Nationals Enquirer, because Stan told us not to; but we're just wondering if Mike Rizzo is.
- Over at PennLive dot com (Patriot-News), a good little feature on Drew Storen:
"I have my own expectations that outweigh [those of the Nationals or fans]. I want to show the Nationals I deserve to be there and that I can help them win."
(Drew Storen, via PennLive.com, 12/5/2009)
- Collin Balester started his offseason throwing program today, and followed that up with a round of golf:
"First day of throwing went really well, Now off to the links to play scratch golf.."
(Collin Balester, via ballystar40/Twitter, 12/5/2009)