Nationals Baseball: Choose your own adventure Rizzo style

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Choose your own adventure Rizzo style

You look out over the park and watch the Nats take BP.  It's a good team you think. Real good. But is it good enough? Ever since you stepped into the quantum leap accelerator and vanished, only to find yourself in Mike Rizzo's body, you've been wracked with doubt.  The team is playing well, first place, best record in baseball good, but the bench has you worried, especially with the injuries mounting up. You've got that whole Strasburg thing coming up. You are going to shut him down. Ziggy says there's a 88% chance you are here to stop Mike Rizzo from blowing out Strasburg's arm, which happened on October 1st, 2012.  But can you do something so the team carries on without him? Plus the pen has been worrying lately. This is why Jim Bowden must act the way he does, you think.  Driven insane by the pressure.

You go to the phone and pick it up. Sara says "Can I get anyone on the line for you?". It's time for you to respond.

If you say "Get me Theo on line 1" go to paragraph 1
If you say "Dan O'Dowd, please" go to paragraph 2
If you say "Let's give Mike Hill another ring" go to paragraph 3
If you say "Theo, and let them know it's for a bat" go to paragraph 4
If you say "Daniels in Texas"  go to paragraph 5
If you say "Why should I care, this isn't my real... forget it I'm tired.  Let's just go crazy.  Get me Towers" go to paragraph 6
If you say "Potbelly. I need something to eat"  go to paragraph 7

Ryan Dempster stares down the Cardinals as the Nats crowd shifts restlessly.  He's already given up 5 and it's only the 3rd inning. He has only been this bad one other start for you but it doesn't matter.  You've decided the only way he starts a game for the Nats in the playoffs is if they are up 3 games to none. It's not like Dempster's been a total failure. Remember that gem vs the Dodgers?  Could Lannan have done that? 

You fall back in your chair. Sure hope Rosenbaum and Ray don't pan out. You look at the injury report. LaRoche is still out.  Desmond doesn't look healthy.  The Nats are still in first, but aren't scoring any runs. A bat. I should have gotten a bat.

There are two outs in the 6th and the Nats are up 6-2 on the Cardinals. Lannan comes out to a nice little ovation and you scoff.  He gave up 10 hits and 3 walks. That gets an ovation?  The ovation dies out and you see Davey is bringing in Betancourt. In the 6th. What the hell was I drinking getting a relief pitcher?  He's been fine sure, but so has everyone else for the most part.  And we didn't need him. Sure things got tight there for a week or so after Strasburg was shut down but the Nats are still in first. So what if the offense is looking at little slim with the injuries. The Nats are in. What else do fans want?

You fall back in your chair, still thinking about it. But that's what GMs do right? Trade for relief pitchers? Ah at least I didn't give up anything... I hope. 

Emilio Bonaficio hustles down to first but can't beat the throw.  Game over. Cards win 5-4. The Nats fall for the third time in a row. Sure they clinched the pennant yesterday, thanks to the Pirates beating the Braves but this is not how you want to go into the playoffs.  Bonaficio hitting an empty .210 while the 4 runs the Nats scored today are the most they've scored in the past week. Pitching has been fine but did I really think Bonaficio was going to make a difference with all these injuries?

You fall back in your chair. You hear over the radio that Goodwin has hit another homerun for the Marlins. You weren't planning on giving him anything good but Mike Hill was just talking so fast! Obviously this is not the line of work for me. Maybe I'll jump into a chef next time.   

Bryce settles under the ball and closes his glove. That's 100! The team crowds around the mound and you've never seen a happier bunch, especially Soriano.  Ok his fielding has been rough and he swings at everything but that's what this team does. Patience and good OF D is on the backburner for now in lieu of offense. And what a couple months it's been. Everyone has been hot.  Werth, Desmond, Zimm, Morse. You barely miss LaRoche, but even he's been great off the bench this past week.  He'll make a hell of pinch hitter, defensive replacement, and maybe even spell Morse against tough righties. Better yet it's been like a homecoming. You barely remembered Soriano being a National but apparently they never forgot in DC.  They absolutely love this guy.

Sure you have no clue what you are going to do with they guy for the next 3 years, but at least you got the Cubs to eat half of that remaining salary and didn't have to give up anything they were so desperate to deal him.  You bang on the front of the luxury box window and shake hands all around. 100 wins. I hope Rizzo appreciates this.

Torrealba stands on first after smacking a single up the middle. It's his first hit in a couple games, but he's the only Nats catcher to have a hit since the 20th of September. Yeah, it was the right move picking him up.  He's not great but I'd rather roll the dice with him in the playoffs. You can't just dismiss the guy like pitchers have done with Solano at this point.

You sit in your chair and review your playoff lineup. The team isn't scoring runs like it was for a month there but it's an average lineup even with LaRoche still out. That's better than it had been to start the year. Average with this pitching can be good enough. Dodgers in the first round can't hit. We'll be fine. I better start checking out Cincinnati hotels.

You look at Justin Upton and Steven Drew on the bench. You can tell they aren't happy, but who would be hitting a collective .215? Upton should pick up next year, right? And maybe you can flip Drew in the offseason, but for what I don't know. The kid looks done.  The Nats team stares out the dugout at another shutout loss, this time 8-0. 

You kick your chair in frustration. You wonder if you should even bother showing up for the Wild Card game.  The crowd is just going to boo the hell out of you. And why shouldn't they, dealing Jordan Zimmermann and Lombardozzi to the Diamondbacks for these two.  Sure some have defended you.  How were you to know that Gio would go down the start after you shut down Strasburg, but you know it's your fault. Hopefully I'll jump tonight.  Maybe if I concentrate really hard I can do it right now. 

No?  Damn.

Mmmmmmmmmmm.  That was a good sandwich. 

You pop open your laptop. Let's see what's on sale on Steam.  You notice that you have some unread emails.  139!  Ha! It's just a game people! You close your laptop and instead pull out your iPad and a beer. You've got a half-hour to kill before the new Rizzoli and Isles. 

Being a GM sure is easy.

(Note: Of course the above is all nonsense. What do I really think? A back-up catcher would be smart even a Shoppach/Torrealba one as long as you give up nothing. I'd like another good bat on the bench but that's easier said than done. After that it depends on the injury situation.  If Desmond and LaRoche will be back soon doing nothing is ok. But if the Nats even think they could be out for an extended period, say into September, and they do nothing - that's a bad non-move)


michael k said...

I really enjoyed this one. That Mike Hill sure is a crafty one!

Anonymous said...

man, my heads hurts after reading this.

Where's my bourbon?

Wally said...

Cool post. You left out the John Jaso/Brendan Ryan trade for TMo, Perez and Kobernus, though.

Anonymous said...

Loved the Alfonso Soriano piece. If the Nats had a hole in their outfield he would be the perfect fit. But I'll settle with a back up catcher at this point, no need to really rock the boat.

Very good article.

Ben said...

Scott Bakula would not do any of these things. Scott Bakula would reunite Mike Rizzo (himself) with his long lost son (Anthony Rizzo) and then acquire him by blackmailing the evil Theo Epstein with that dead hooker into trading Rizzo (and lets say Garza too) for Cutter Dykstra. The Nats then win the World Series over the Yankees and Scott Bakula jumps into Harper Gordek's body to write his bestest column ever about how he is switching his baseball allegiance to a team where he doesn't have to pretend he likes A-Rod or Roger Clemens.

Anonymous said...

Ben. I will put money up to have you write that as an actual screenplay, and we can do a reboot of Quantum Leap on SyFy. Mull it over.

Harper said...

mk - He somehow turned Emilio Bonaficio into something the Nats wanted again. That's talent.

Anon - There's a mostly empty bottle beside your shotgun and stack of cheeze doodles.

Wally - Only room for so much. Also eft off DeRosa for a bag of balls. Decided it was too unbelievable they'd get a bag of balls.

Anon - Alfonso would be fun, terrible (3 years 54 million left!), but fun.

Ben - Oh Boy.

(I don't dislike A-Rod, kind of ambivalent. I always hated Clemens and rooted for 11-10 wins in his starts)

Froggy said... the game...

two things...Tim McClelland is the absolute worst umpire in the league.

...and DeRosa totally is a waste of an at bat. He sucks.

Anonymous said...

Very nice. I especially liked the different color types - I guess you know that was Faulkner's original plan for The Sound and the Fury.

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