In 1st comments since season's end, Nats GM Rizzo stays mum
WASHINGTON (AP) Whether discussing where Bryce Harper or Trea Turner might play next season, whether assessing the Washington Nationals' performance or his priorities for the offseason, general manager Mike Rizzo avoiding saying much Thursday.
Rizzo broke little new ground during a 15-minute conference call with reporters, his first comments since Washington's season ended with an NL Division Series loss for the third time in five years.
''I definitely view it as a successful season that ended poorly for us,'' Rizzo said, adding: ''But again, we didn't get to our ultimate success, which is winning the World Series.''
He declined to say what the Nationals' main needs are, noting, ''We have a very versatile roster.''
A big part of that is Turner, who had a breakout rookie season, including 13 homers and 33 steals, while transitioning to center field from the middle infield. Rizzo would not commit to a position for Turner - or even to keeping at Turner at one position - in 2017, saying can ''excel in center field at shortstop and at second base.''
Asked whether Turner could take over at second, with Daniel Murphy shifting to first base to replace Ryan Zimmerman there, Rizzo replied that Zimmerman would be the ''first baseman going into this offseason and spring training.''
If Turner were to move to the infield, could Harper move to center?
Again, Rizzo was noncommittal.
''I like Harper in right. I think that's his natural position. He's really improved in right field, but he's a terrific center fielder also,'' the GM said.
Rizzo said that right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who didn't pitch after the first week of September because of a right elbow problem, is expected ''to be full-go this offseason'' and for spring training. Other than catcher Wilson Ramos, who can become a free agent and had a right knee ligament operation this month, the team has ''no surgeries pending,'' Rizzo said.