Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rizzo Overrules Riggles: Good for Mike

Ever since Ian Desmond first came up last fall and proved that his bat will play, Jim Riggleman has been wanting to turn him into a super-sub utilityman.

It's somewhat understandable, if you're only thinking about how to win the next game, and you believe in Cristian Guzman and Adam Kennedy (nevermind what it says about you if you believe in Cristian Guzman and Adam Kennedy). All managers, at least those in the NL, like to have a guy they can shuffle around all over, and Riggleman is correct that Desmond has the arm and athleticism to perform adequately at every position on the diamond, except presumably pitcher and catcher (though really who knows?).

Last fall, Rizzo ok-ed Riggleman's line-up noodling, even specifically signing off on the spur-of-the-moment decision to start Desmond in right field.

But this spring it appears that Rizzo has done the right thing and laid down the law: Desmond is a shortstop, he needs to focus on being a shortstop, and whether he's in DC or Syracuse, he needs to play every day.

From a development perspective, it's clearly the right decision. You don't get better sitting and watching, and it's harder to master a new level when you're also learning a bunch of new positions.

Now, if the Nationals were contending, and Desmond could help them win another game or two as the first guy off the bench, then I'd be all for using him that way. But they're not, so the priority should go on doing everything possible to set the kid up for success long-term.

Good for Mike that he's setting the right priorities and isn't afraid to make a clear and decisive call down the chain of command.


Rob B said...

Absolutely the right call. Play him everyday. Willie Harris has the any-position sub role, anyways. It will only be a matter of time before something happens to Guzman, and we will all be happy that Desmond will be used to playing SS full-time.

estuartj said...

I'm no expert on player development, but for sure Desmond needs to play and play SS every day.

I also think it helpful to give him a few more months in AAA, especially since he seem to have found his swing, to work on consistency in his Defense and gain confidence in his swing before making the final jump to MLB when (God Willing) Guz is traded.

If Rizzo is willing to eat about half of Guzman's 2nd half salary (about $2M of Uncle Ted's money to have him play elsewhere) I think a decent deal can be worked out.

Matteo said...

I'm hoping Guz can start off the year hot and maybe Riz can put on a little magic show and get him traded off to some team like the Royals who have no idea what to make of all the new metrics that are used today. Even eating half his salary for a 2nd or 3rd tier pitching prospect could be good for the team.

The Dad Report said...

I've always been a big Gooooozzzzzmmmmaannnn fan, but it is time to see Ian D. everyday, and not in Syracuse.