Word coming out of the nation’s capital suggests the Washington Nationals may be poised to make a run on former Arizona Diamondbacks ace pitcher Brandon Webb. Nationals officials are said to be interested in meeting with Webb’s representatives during the upcoming Winter Meetings the first week of December in Orlando Florida.
The idea that the Nationals may be a suitor for Webb’s services should not come as a surprise. Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo was the person responsible for drafting Webb out of the University of Kentucky. Rizzo was then a member of the Diamondbacks front office and is responsible for much of the talent currently on the Diamondbacks roster.
When it appeared evident that the Diamondbacks were not going to consider Rizzo as a candidate for their General Manager position he left the organization and went to Washington. Along with Rizzo, several of the Diamondbacks player development personnel followed setting up almost a mirror image of the Arizona baseball operations staff.
Since that time Rizzo has become the General Manager and had several successful drafts including two overall number one picks the previous two seasons that netted Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper two impact players that should put the Nationals in the hunt for an NL East crown within the next two years.
Rizzo is widely regarded as a strong player evaluator and that shows given the free agents and draft picks he has been able to amass since going to Washington. He has not been afraid to pick up players the Diamondbacks gave up on such as left-hander Doug Slaten and first baseman Adam Dunn.
Perhaps the Diamondbacks would not find themselves in such a dire situation had they turned the reigns over to Rizzo rather than Josh Byrnes. Of course Arizona is hoping to overcome that failure with the recent hiring of Kevin Towers as their new GM.
Expect to see Rizzo and Towers talk during the Winter Meetings and don’t be surprised if the Nationals make contract offers or non-roster invitations to players with history in Arizona. These two teams are closer philosophically than you would imagine at first glance.
Let’s just hope that the Diamondbacks future looks as bright as that of the Nationals and not that these two teams will be challenging for the number one draft pick in 2012.