The Diamonbacks intend to ask the Nationals for permission to speak with executive Mike Rizzo about their open front office position, according to ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden. Any request, it seems, would come after the Nats’ postseason run wraps up.
Arizona has Rizzo “at the top of their list” of candidates to run the team’s baseball operations department, per the report. It seems that he would be considered for a president of baseball operations title. The long-time Nationals GM, who spent seven years at the helm of the Snakes’ scouting department before going to DC, declined comment and said that he’s “focused on winning this series [against the Dodgers] and nothing else.”
It’s certainly difficult to imagine Washington having much interest in making their top baseball decisionmaker available just months after picking up an option to keep him around through 2018. Rizzo has overseen the organization’s rise to a perennial contender, with his rosters having taken NL East titles in three of the last five years — driven not only by strong draft results but also a series of heists on the trade market.
Rizzo, 55, has been in D.C. since 2006 and has held the GM seat since 2009. Importantly, also, he was named president of baseball operations back in 2013, so Arizona wouldn’t be in a position to give him a promotion. (The organization just gave president/CEO Derrick Hall a new long-term deal of his own.)
Given all the considerations noted above, perhaps the only way for Rizzo to end up in Arizona is if he and the Nationals’ top brass are more interested in parting ways than is known publicly. There have been whispers about Rizzo’s status in the past, and the organization was somewhat slow to pick up his option. Certainly, the club would be in position to demand a significant player asset in return if things were to progress. And Rizzo would no doubt have the leverage to command a big contract from the wayward D-Backs.
At this point, of course, that’s all speculation. Arizona has been tied to a rather wide variety of potential executive candidates already. Rays AGM Chaim Bloom and Dodgers VP Alex Anthopoulos have reportedly declined requests for an interview. The Diamondbacks are also said to have interest in Royals AGM J.J. Piccolo, Dodgers senior adviser Ned Colletti, MLB senior VPs Kim Ng and Peter Woodfork, and Brewers VP of scouting Ray Montgomery, while also considering a promotion for current team executives Bryan Minniti and Mike Bell.