In an April 29th poll of over 28,000 MLBTR readers, 3.25% voted for the Nationals' Mike Rizzo as the best GM in baseball. That placed Rizzo 13th overall; only Billy Beane received more than 9% of the vote. A few days prior, the Nationals had exercised Rizzo's 2014 club option. On the face of it, that move was seen as a show of support from ownership for the GM, as they were not obligated to make a decision until after the season. At the time, it was reported that the two sides were working on an extension beyond 2014, and also noted that the Nats still retain a 2015 club option.
Upon deeper examination from Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, exercising Rizzo's club option may not have been a generous move by the team. The move "may have created a potential fissure between ownership and its general manager," writes Kilgore. Since Rizzo signed on in 2010 with no experience as a full-time GM, his contract was quite team-friendly, putting him in the bottom third in salary for his position and allowing for the pair of club options. As we've seen with players with less than a year's service time, such as Matt Moore and Salvador Perez, the team has all the leverage at that point.
Nationals owner Mark Lerner seemed to admit Saturday that extension talks with Rizzo have not yet taken place, despite earlier statements to the contrary. Lerner still expressed optimism for a deal, while Rizzo told Kilgore, "I’d like to be here for the long term. I hope the Lerner family feels the same way."