Mike Rizzo addressed the media on the Jonny Gomes trade a minute ago. At one point during the four-minute session, Rizzo’s cellphone rang, and he had to pull it out of his back pocket and shut it off. Must be the end of July.
Anyway, Rizzo covered the Gomes trade from a number of angles. The Nationals made a list of powerful, right-handed bats they could add to their bench, Gomes being one of them, and reached out to Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty.
“I think we’ve had a solid right-handed bat off the bench with [Jerry] Hairston,” Rizzo said. “It’s just that big presence that allows you to change the strategy of the other manager and a guy who can leave the ballpark regularly.”
The Nationals, nine games behind the Braves in the National League wild-card race at the start of the night, are not seemingly in position to be adding a piece to their bench. But Rizzo is not ready to punt on this season, and likely more important, Gomes is projected to be a Type B free agent. That means the Nationals will receive a supplementary draft pick as compensation if they offer Gomes arbitration and he ends up signing with another team. The possible draft pick was a consideration when targeting Gomes.
“We’re in it to win,” Rizzo said. “We like to win every game. This guy gives us an added boost off the bench. It’s a compensation pick for us if we don’t get something done for him long-term. We thought it was a good, prudent move in giving up part of our depth and our strength in the minor leagues. That’s what you draft players for.”
Gomes may also form a platoon in left field with Laynce Nix, who played with Gomes last season with the Reds.
The Nationals will announce a roster move tomorrow to make room for Gomes, Rizzo said. The most likely candidate to be released, it seems, would be pinch-hitter Matt Stairs.
Acquiring Gomes for Bill Rhinehart and Chris Manno was the Nationals’ first step into the trade market this season, but Rizzo believes it won’t necessarily be their last.
“We think we’re going to be active,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to be busy. If it’s a prudent deal, then we’ll make the deal. We’re looking to be buyers and sellers. If it fits us long-term, then we’ll be all ears and listen.”