First the straight news…
Washington Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 15-Day DL today with a strained left hamstring, following an MRI taken this afternoon. Taking his place on the MLB is roster is Anthony Rendon, the team’s top-rated prospect and first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Rice University.
Rendon had been hitting .292/.462/.500 with two home runs and seven RBI with AA Harrisburg. The 22-year-old Texan is expected to make his major-league debut on Sunday, playing third base and perhaps batting sixth or seventh against the New York Mets, a game that is currently not nationally televised.
Manager Davey Johnson told reporters that doctors said Zimmerman needs roughly 10 days of rest for the injury to heal, thus it’s possible that Zimmerman could be activated as early as May 3rd. GM Mike Rizzo said he expects Rendon to be sent back to the minors upon Zimmerman’s return from the DL, though cited the caveats of “keeping an open mind and letting the situation play out.”
Now, for the opinion…
Folks are excited about this. I get that. This is the team’s No. 1 guy, a talent that might not have gone #1 overall but probably should have, joining another phenom who made the same move almost a year ago.
And that’s what worries me.
People keep asking me when is Player X gonna get promoted, and I keep telling folks that it’s a new world order, that it’s a level a year until guys hit AA with the Rizzo FO.
Then Bryce Harper gets jumped from Low-A to AA in 2011, same for Brian Goodwin in 2012. So those are two exceptions, right? No biggie.
What happens if Rendon doesn’t have success early and often? What if he’s like Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. — who I saw more of than Rendon, for what it’s worth, but was no less convinced of his potential to make it to The Show — and struggles after an initial burst?
We’re told that Rendon will be sent back to further his development, that they don’t like to bring young guys up just to make them sit. Well, which is it?
If this is just a promotion to keep the team from being short-handed, why not just call up Will Rhymes or Carlos Rivero from AAA Syracuse and let them sit the bench while Chad Tracy and Steve Lombardozzi handle third base? They can’t be added to the 40-man roster or risk being lost on waivers?
In short, this doesn’t pass the sniff test — and given how the beat writers were lied to* by unnamed Nats officials when reports of Rendon being scratched from the Senators lineup, folks ought not to take what’s being said as gospel.* Before folks feel too sorry for them, being lied to is part of the job of being a reporter. It sucks, but it happens.
It’s okay to be excited. We’re supposed to be as fans. Even if this is too much, too soon. Rendon (and JBJ) is supposed to have the makeup to be able to endure the failure. But I question taking the risk, except as a PR move.
It pains me to write this, but this is something I’d expect from the previous GM.