Washington Nationals: Looking At Past Christmastime Deals
Five Nationals Deals From Past Decembers
During Mike Rizzo's tenure as Washington Nationals GM, there have not been many big, splashy deals made. Every move, for the most part, has been pragmatic, well-thought out and make with a purpose. As we have seen, Rizzo loves to take his time to find the best deal, then act. This is not a GM who rushes things so as to cater to other parts of his winter wishlist. This working in silence plan is what makes Rizzo one of the better and more frustrating GMs in baseball, at least from a fan perspective.
The deals Rizzo has made have been for multiple reasons, with no two deals looking alike. Some deals have been to help the major league team, and some have been to help replenish the minor league system. The one commonality within all of these deals is that nobody saw them coming, as Rizzo is comparable to a baseball ninja. Many of these deals have worked out, but every trade and free agent signing is a crapshoot, so it can be hard to judge whether or not a deal is success right away.
Take Jayson Werth's deal, for example. If judgments were to be made after Werth's first year of the deal, then the signing would have been a total bust. Of course, taking into consideration the fact that most of his offensive protection was injured, the first year is not too bad. Plus, Werth has more than made up for the first year with his next two. With that in mind, here are five Washington deals from past Christmas seasons.
December 16, 2010: Signed Chien-Ming Wang to 1-Year Deal
6-6/4.94 ERA/94.2 IP/117 H
Wang was signed multiple times by the Nationals as he rehabbed from shoulder surgery. He never panned out, and still has not for other teams. He showed major potential with the New York Yankees early on, but this was nothing more than a bust and wasted money.
December 16, 2010: Acquired Corey Brown & Henry Rodriguez from A's for Josh Willingham
Brown: .175/.250/.400, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs
Rodriguez: 4-7/4.22 ERA/113 IP/83 BB
Willingham was destined to be a full-time DH at the time the Nationals traded him, and probably was since he made his major league debut. However, the production, or lack thereof that Washington got in return for him is one of the reasons why this deal was another bust, though it's better than letting him walk.
December 23, 2010: Signed Sean Burnett to a 2-year, $3.95M extension
6-7/3.10 ERA/113.1 IP/112 H
The early part of Burnett's extension was pretty rough as he struggled for most of the first year of the contract extension, proving how erratic relievers can be regardless of track record. Burnett's departure via free agency did leave a gaping hole in their bullpen, however, and it was one of the reasons why 2013 was such a disappointment.
December 22, 2011: Acquired Gio Gonzalez from Oakland A's
32-16/3.12 ERA/395 IP/399 K
Much criticized at the time, Gonzalez has shown that he is exactly what Washington thought they were getting when they shipped four prospects to Oakland. Many considered this to be a bad deal because of how often Gonzalez walks batters, but he has all but silenced those critics, winning 21 games in his first season with Washington and being a very good second starter behind Stephen Strasburg.
December 7, 2012: Signed Dan Haren to 1-year, $13M deal
10-14/4.67 ERA/169.2 IP/179 H
Easily one of Rizzo's worst free agent signings, Haren was lauded as a major upgrade for the Nationals as the team's rotation was expected to be even better than it was in 2012. Haren was nowhere close to that at any point in 2013, though he was good when he came off his DL stint. Still, this was $13 million wasted on an all-around disappointing year in Washington.