WASHINGTON -- Tyler Clippard was critical of the Nationals as an organization after his fellow reliever, and close friend, Drew Storen was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on Friday night.
"I think there's a lot of things that led to this that could've been prevented," Clippard said, referring to the team's decision to acquire closer Rafael Soriano in the offseason. "You know, you basically send a guy a message this offseason for having one bad game that he's not the guy for the job. He's only human, you know? I mean, it's going to get to anybody. ... I just think it's been handled very poorly."
General manager Mike Rizzo said on Saturday that he did not agree with Clippard's view of the situation, but understood the pitcher's point of view. The two had a conversation about Clippard's comments before Saturday's game against the Mets.
"We've got an open-door policy here. His opinion means a lot to me," Rizzo said. "I disagree with his assessment of the situation, but you fight to the death to let them speak their mind and say what they want. And that's what makes these guys what they are on the mound. You've got to have a certain type of attitude and makeup to pitch in the latter end of these games. They're a competitive bunch, and the one thing I've never shied away from is when we have a discussion, we have it man-to-man, eye-to-eye, and I certainly can take his opinion. Like I said, I don't agree with it, but I commend him for having a strong opinion on it."
Manager Davey Johnson didn't fault Clippard for speaking out and said that he understands why the 28-year-old was upset.
"I understand all of it," Johnson said. "Unfortunately, a lot of the things, that's baseball."
Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @HitTheCutoff. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less