Nats' Mike Rizzo: 'We're very impatient people'

Brian Tinsman
December 02, 2018 - 11:29 pm

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


The MLB Winter Meetings are still one week away, but the Washington Nationals continue to make modest moves while the market for bigger names (like Bryce Harper) develops.

Already, the team has added two veteran catchers in Kurt Suzuki (free agent) and Yan Gomes (trade), as well as relievers Trevor Rosenthal (free agent) and Kyle Barraclough (trade). Armed with a roster core that could already compete for a championship, general manager Mike Rizzo is determined to find the missing pieces this time around.

"We're very impatient people," he half-jokingly told the media at Nationals Winterfest. "We have a wishlist and we try to get things done."

On the relievers added, Rizzo said: "We felt that the two relief acquisitions were value deals that wouldn't be there long. The opportunity to get a young reliever like Barraclough for some international money was something we felt like we needed to do and move on quickly. The Rosenthal situation was there--he was going to sign with somebody soon, so we wanted to step out and get him."

On the catchers added, Rizzo reflected: "We saw some values out there and we moved quickly, but not in lieu of getting somebody we didn't want. These guys we were focused in on. We were fortunate enough to go after them and get both catchers that we wanted...Gomes is a terrific player. He's always been an elite defender. The analytics loved the defense and the framing, they type of thing. Our scouts like the performance last year. He's handled some elite staffs and handled Cy Young award-winners. He's played on the biggest stage that you can play on and played well. He's a front-line, durable catcher at an age that we like and control that we always like...

On Sunday, Rizzo joined Chris Russell on 106.7 The Fan to discuss some of the logic behind Gomes and Suzuki instead of landing a big fish like J.T. Realmuto. He offered this nugget:

That made this pairing the priority, as he explained on Saturday: "It's a fluid situation. We had a lot of different options. We could've went for the big free agent, everyday catcher, or trade for a younger, more everyday player. We felt that the most bang for our buck was to go after both of these guys. We identified them early in the offseason, really focused on these two guys specifically and went after them."

While Rizzo is unlikely to admit if the offseason isn't going according to plan, he does sound confident about the team's to-do list over the next several months before Spring Training.

"We go into the offseason with a checklist every year. We’ve checked a few things off so far but we're far from finished," Rizzo said, "I think that the Bryce situation and fulfilling some of the other things that we’re trying to do are independent of one another.

"We’ve always been an organization that ownership has given us the resources to do what we need to do to build a championship-caliber club, and I don’t see that changing."


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