Washington Nationals news & notes: Mike Rizzo talks Juan Soto extension talks; Josh Bell; Keibert Ruiz + more…


Bell Extension?:

Again firstly of Spring Coaching, earlier than Josh Bell and the Nationals prevented arbitration, (agreeing on a 1-year/$10M deal for the veteran first baseman), Washington GM Mike Rizzo talked to reporters concerning the potential of a long-term extension which might hold the 29-year-old, seven-year veteran in D.C. past this season, since Bell is ready to hit free company after this 12 months. At that time, nevertheless, Rizzo stated they hadn’t talked long-term with Bell’s reps.

“We haven’t mentioned it but,” Rizzo defined. “He’s an arbitration candidate for us, so we wouldn’t do something earlier than we get a deal accomplished in arbitration anyhow.”

So with that deal accomplished, he was requested on Friday afternoon, when he spoke with the press within the nation’s capital earlier than Sport 2 of 162, has there been any extension dialogue?

“Josh Bell is a man that we actually like, we made a commerce for,” Rizzo stated. “We’re concentrating on seeing if we are able to get one thing accomplished with Juan Soto first. Like I stated earlier than, he’s our No. 1 precedence, and we’re going to attempt to assault that one earlier than we transfer on to anyone else.”

Photograph by G Fiume/Getty Photographs

Soto, after all, reportedly turned down a 13-year/$350M provide earlier than the lockout started, and when he was requested earlier than the season-opener on Thursday if there have been talks, it wasn’t one thing he was serious about discussing heading into his fifth season within the bigs, with three seasons to play earlier than he may presumably hit free company.

Soto stated it wasn’t one thing he was occupied with proper now.

“By no means. If you wish to learn about it, simply name Scott [Boras] and he’ll let you know about it. For me, I’m simply occupied with baseball proper now.”

So, have Rizzo and Soto’s agent talked extra since that final provide this winter?

“We’ve been in discussions,” Rizzo stated. “We’ll proceed to be in discussions, and we would like him right here, hopefully he needs to be right here, and when one thing is newsworthy, we’ll let .”

Important Cog:

Nationals’ catcher Keibert Ruiz got here out swinging (and throwing and blocking) in his 2022 debut, with a caught stealing early, an out on a play on the plate, and two hits within the season opener.

After the sport, Ruiz’s supervisor talked about how impressed he was with the 23-year-old’s work.

“Actually, actually good. Actually good,” Martinez stated when requested to evaluate Ruiz’s evening.

“He threw [Starling] Marte out, which is hard to do, within the first inning, however he blocked some balls immediately, and he hit the ball effectively.”

“So, and I stated this all alongside,” he added, “… I actually like him offensively, and he’s realized a lot from [Catching & Strategy Coach] Henry [Blanco] catching again there, and you’ll see that his arduous work has paid off already.”

GM Mike Rizzo, who described Ruiz as the principle cog within the commerce that despatched Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to LA in return for 4 prospects final July, talked on Friday afternoon about how the catcher has developed since becoming a member of the group.

New York Mets v. Washington Nationals

Photograph by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photographs through Getty Photographs

“To me what he does off the sphere is necessary,” Rizzo instructed reporters. “His preparation and his willingness to present to his pitching workers I feel is basically necessary. He has the abilities, he’s a very good offensive participant, he’s a very good defensive participant, he blocks effectively, he frames pitches effectively, he throws effectively, and now we have now bought get him to be a game-caller, and I feel that’s the subsequent step in his development.”

The Common Supervisor within the nation’s capital additionally talked concerning the significance of getting two of the gamers included in that commerce up within the majors so shortly, to allow them to contribute and in addition give followers a glimpse of why the membership was keen to commerce each Scherzer and Turner final July.

“Nicely, I feel that was a part of our plan,” he stated of getting major-league-ready expertise from LA and the opposite golf equipment they dealt their expiring contracts (and a year-plus of Turner) to.

“That was our blueprint to contend within the very close to future,” Rizzo stated, “… and we made all of the trades that we made — for essentially the most half — for gamers who have been near the large leagues, and I feel that’s simply going to expedite us getting again into that championship-caliber window that we’re all aspiring to get to.”

Give Us Your 2022 Nats Pitch:

Mike Rizzo spoke to reporters on the second day of the common season, after rain worn out a possible on-field discuss earlier than the opener on Thursday, so although they have been already a recreation in, the GM in D.C. was requested how he felt concerning the roster they introduced north from their West Palm Seaside house.

“We’re excited concerning the upcoming season,” he stated. “Our expectations are the identical as at all times, we need to play significant video games in September, and that’s what we’re all about. Our little motto is, ‘We need to be one of many 12,’ and that’s nonetheless our expectation, and we’re trying ahead to it. We’re trying ahead to seeing the development of our younger gamers, we’ve bought a very good mixture of younger and outdated, we’ve bought some mentors on the workforce who will assist the younger gamers get to the place we would like them to be, and that’s form of the route that we’re in.”

How did they make choices between veterans and youthful skills when it got here to the 28-man Opening Day roster?

“It’s all about giving our prospects an opportunity to develop, and generally that has to occur within the minor leagues earlier than they’re main league-ready, and accidents had rather a lot to do with a few of these strikes additionally, so we’re right here to win baseball video games on the main league degree, however we’re additionally right here to develop for the longer term.”

They didn’t have that a lot time to guage gamers this spring, within the three-week ramp-up to the 2022 season, however they’ll proceed evaluating over the subsequent few weeks too.

“Particularly with quite a lot of new faces,” Rizzo stated, “… so we’re attending to know quite a lot of these guys, we’re getting to guage them each day, and we’re — once more, we had three brief weeks in Spring Coaching and we’re simply beginning the season proper now, so we’re going to see the place we’re at, however we like the combo of the workforce and the perspective and the work that these guys have put in has been nice.”

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