The Padres acquired Yonder Alonso from the Reds today as part of their massive haul for Mat Latos, which has led many to wonder whether prospect first baseman Anthony Rizzo will become a trade chip.
With that in mind, Padres general manager Josh Byrnes told Jim Bowden of ESPN.com and MLB Network Radio this afternoon that the plan right now is for Alonso to play first base at the major league level and Rizzo to continue his development in the minors.
Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez trade last December, made his major league debut this past season and batted just .141 with one home run and 46 strikeouts in 128 at-bats. However, it’s way too soon to call the 22-year-old a bust, as many still like him for his patience and power potential. In fact, Baseball America ranked him as the organization’s top prospect earlier this week. Of course, it’s possible new GM Josh Byrnes views him differently than Jed Hoyer did.
The Padres have no sense of urgency to deal Rizzo right away, but most seem to think a trade is inevitable. This is just speculation for now, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com wrote this afternoon that some wonder whether Rizzo would make sense in a package for Rays’ right-hander Wade Davis. The 26-year-old right-hander signed a four-year, $12.6 million extension earlier this year which includes a series of affordable club options from 2015-2017.
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.