Monday, December 07, 2009
Considering that Mike Rizzo traded away a player not even in his possession this day for a potential back of the bullpen set-up man, or even closer, at The Winter Meetings, seems pretty shrewd. The trading of Our Washington Nationals First Pick in the Rule V Draft later this week to The New York Yankees for Pitcher Brian Bruney gives Washington a hurler whose Big League potential can be determined right now.
Rizzo knows what he is getting in Brian. He drafted Bruney originally for The Arizona Diamondbacks back in 2000. It also doesn't hurt that Bruney has 230 Major League Appearances under his belt, including 44 last season and a 5-0 record for the World Series Champions. That's Big League experience which Our General Manager determined any Washington First Round 2009 Rule V Pick could not provide in a Nationals Jersey in 2010.
Mr. Rizzo feels no one better is available to draft.
Now remember, anyone chosen in the Rule V must be retained on the Major League Roster all next season--or be offered back to the originating team. And while no question, there have been success stories in past Rule V Drafts. There have been many misses as well--like Pitcher Terrell Young last season for Washington--now back in Cincinnati's Organization.
Catcher Jesus Flores was a fabulous find three years ago for Washington. Pitcher Johan Santana was too--for The Minnesota Twins back in late 1999. So was Outfielder--and all around pest--Shane Victorino, when The Phillies drafted him in late 2004 from The Los Angeles Dodgers. In fact, Victorino has been drafted twice in the Rule V--The San Diego Padres sent him back to Los Angeles in 2003 when The Friars determined Shane wasn't Major League ready. And maybe you've heard of Roberto Clemente? The Hall Of Fame Outfielder for The Pittsburgh Pirates. Roberto was drafted from The Brooklyn Dodgers before the 1955 season. The only Rule V Draftee to ever be inducted into Cooperstown.
22 players chosen in the Rule V Draft since 1955 became All-Stars. At least 38 others have become Major League Players themselves over the same amount of time. Clearly, there is opportunity to be successful cherry picking another teams hidden gems. But more times than not--Rule V Draft Picks do not work out and are returned to their original teams.
What Mike Rizzo did today was go for the known quantity, not the risky toolsy guy with potential upside. Our General Manager went for a pitcher that can help Our Washington Nationals in 2010--and maybe for a few more years to come. Mr. Rizzo was not only a little shrewd today--he also was also making a decisive move. "Riz" had a idea what he wanted to get out of the Rule V Draft. And when he didn't feel anyone better was out there--spent three weeks negotiating with The Yankees GM--Brian Cashman--for Bruney.
We'll call today a solid start to The Winter Meetings for Our Washington Nationals.
PS--We couldn't end this post without mentioning Saul Rivera, released today--unconditionally--by Our Washington Nationals (on his Birthday No Less) to make a 40-Man Roster space for Bruney. SAUUUUUUL!!, who tossed 245 games in a Nats Jersey over the last four seasons was a true rubber arm. And in 2009, all that work simply caught up to him. 54 Games in 2006 he pitched, followed by 85 in 2007 and 76 in 2008. Every single time you looked over to Washington's Bullpen, seemingly, Saul Rivera was warming up during those seasons. There were probably another 75 bullpen sessions Old Number 52 threw warming up and didn't make an appearance in the game. "Mr. Rubber Arm" was a staple for D.C.'s Team when Our Bullpen was the Heart & Soul of the early seasons of Our Washington Nationals. Unfortunately, Saul Rivera wore out last year, but he should be recognized for a job well done from 2006 through 2008.
We wish him well.
Gary Majewski, Hector Carrasco, Big Jon Rauch, Luis Ayala, Rivera & "The Most Thrilling Closer In The Game"--Chad Cordero--all were pretty solid many times pitching games for Washington since 2005. Our Bullpen rocked those first few seasons--Saul too. Hopefully, Mr. Rizzo's continued revamping will make our relief corps a strength once again.