Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo addressed his contract situation today. As Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports, the veteran executive gave the clearest indication yet that he anticipates remaining in his position beyond the present season.
“I’ve had a couple conversations with ownership about my contract,” said Rizzo, who noted that an agreement has yet to be struck. “I’ve been here for 12 years. With the trust that we’ve developed over the years, I feel confident that we should get something done.”
Rizzo is entering the final year of the deal he signed with the team in the middle of the 2013 season. He has been with the organization since 2006 and has sat atop the baseball ops hierarchy since 2009.
It is difficult to argue with Rizzo’s track record. The rosters he has constructed have taken four of the past six NL East titles. Of course, the Nats also have lost all four ensuing divisional series in heartbreaking fashion. Those postseason disappointments have helped to create quite some churn in the field manager role, but Rizzo has remained a constant — and with good reason, given his track record of engineering a sustained winner.
While it has long seemed from the outside that Rizzo enjoys the trust of the organization’s ownership, led by the Lerner family, his future had seemed less certain than ever during the current offseason. When asked about his contract status in November, Rizzo said he had yet to discuss it and would not be the one to broach the subject.
Rizzo’s most recent comments, though, clearly paint a different picture as camp gets underway. The notoriously tight-lipped executive, who has always negotiated his own contracts, not only made clear that he had been engaged in discussions but strongly suggested that a new deal ought to be anticipated.
I hope he does. He brought the Nats to respectability.
Perennial playoff contenders is much better than bottom dweller, or middle of the pack.
I am not a Nats fan, but I believe sooner or later, Rizzo will take Nats to promised land —with or without — Harper.
I agree, this guy helped bring a cellar-dweller to consistent contention. He definitely has the roster to do it. They they just got outlasted last division series. I’d say give this year they go further.
You’re both right. When Rizzo took over the Nats were a joke. Now, despite the lack of postseason success, nobody is laughing. The Nationals are a competitive franchise which will undoubtedly find playoff success eventually and much of that is directly attributable to how Rizzo has managed the organization. I’d be shocked if he weren’t renewed. Then again, I thought Dusty was safe.
Agree with all the above. And Dusty should have been safe.
Dusty Baker is a terrible manager and most GM’s in baseball know it but are hesitant to say it for fear of being labeled as racist.
This is maybe the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read on this site and that’s saying a lot. If GMs believe Baker is a bad manager they wouldn’t hire him. (There have been black and other minority GMs, btw.)
Didn’t he replace the number one jerk off GM, Jim Bowden?
I don’t think you can fault the GM for the playoff failures. He’s consistently put a winning team on the field and there always seems to be good young players coming up through the system. Other teams would be lucky to have this guy.
I absolutely think you can place blame on him for the playoff failures between the mismanagement of Strasburg’s innings when they had their best chance to win, not signing a better catcher last year, and repeated years of bad bullpens when it seemed everyone across the league knew you had to be able to shorten games. He has given out a lot of money to guys that haven’t worked out but all GM’s have. He was also blessed with 2 very high picks because they were bad before that. Between the high picks and all the money spent, he should have a winning club like he has put together, anyone could have. I am just not so quick to give him so much praise as others have without making it to the world series once. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he is terrible by any stretch, just don’t think he is great. I may be in the minority but that’s ok.
Those are valid criticisms. I just think there is too much of an emphasis on playoff success when in reality any team that makes it and gets hot at the right time can win it all. The challenge for management is to assemble teams that make the playoffs year-after-year, which he has done.
I hear ya, very true. It’s kind of a crap shoot to an extent once you get in. Lerner seems to be a good owner, kind of hope he wins it all once before he passes away since he is up there in age.
Same thing goes for girardi. He didn’t win many titles with the Yankees by got them in the post season continuously. He was cut because he couldn’t take them all the way repeatedly. I was very surprised that they fired him.
I suspect Girardi’s situation is much more involved than what the public knows. At least in my opinion he over achieved most years. The team was bogged down with past their prime veterans and a bad farm system for years and they still had a winning record.
The Nats have the players to win as is seen with their record every year. What they seem to have is a mental issue when they get to the playoffs. Some of that has to be attributed to management as their job is to put players in the right mindset to win.
hindsight is 20/20.
easy to call it mismanagement of Strasburg’s innings now after the fact.
it may also be looked at as… proper, appreciated management of his innings/ future health that allowed Strasburg to have the success he did after that as well as his willingness to forgo free agency in favor of an arguably club friendly deal to stay with the team he knew and treated him in the way they did.
he gave a lot of money to Werth, agreed.
he gave a lot of money to Zimmerman, agreed as well
but the Nats were long time losers coming from Montreal where they hadn’t had success in a decade. if that is what it took to get Werth here and sign a team leader in Ryan Z? than kudos to Rizzo for having the balls to do it. in hindsight, it was an overspend in both accounts. but what GM has a crystal ball to forsee Zimm’s injuries? or Werth’s decline? they were overspends. but teams that want to success do have to spend big at times. I’ll give Rizzo a pass on both of these.
Same deal with Eaton vs. the high picks. you’re assuming the GM can foresee an ACL injury that kept Eaton off the field for 80% of the season last year. now, project those first 100 ABs over the whole season? another .300 batter in front of Murph, Harper, Rendon and Zimmerman along with less pressure on Turner and that may well have made the difference in the playoffs, let alone a complete walk away with the regular season. in exchange for… Giolito? (pretty sure the team had seen enough of him to show he wasn’t gonna be top 4 in the rotation anytime soon) Dunning? potential payout is pretty far down the road for him and that’s no guarantee. Lopez? yeah, I like his potential, but i’ll take a top outfielder that will or should play 150 games a year at near all-star level than a mildly successful reliever and a couple potential starters that one of is looking suspect.
my only regret there was… for a little more (as long as it wasn’t Robles) we might have gotten Sales. and I WOULD have loved Sales v. Eaton
yeah… I hated to see the Nats push the bullpen issue half the season before they finally went out and grabbed Doolittle, Madson and Kintzler. but the fact is… he DID go out and get those 3. and without those 3 the Nats never would have even had a shot in the playoffs. let alone getting there. prior to picking up those 3 the Nats left a lot of wins on the field. so, yeah, it took a while. but who is to say what they may have cost if they got them in May? and really… it wouldn’t have increased their playoff spot any.
I’ve been a bystander on the catching situation. I hated to see Ramos go. I wasn’t a fan of Weiters and I do like Severino. so I like that the Nationals are going to give Pedro a shot at proving his MLB ability in 2018. Realmuto may have been a great addition, but Rizzo held the line on what he would give up. and for that, I am glad.
I do think (in hindsight!!) Rizzo gave up too much for Melancon. but that is in hindsight. Rivero is proving to be an awful lot of reliever for a 1/2 year rental of a closer.
bottom line though is… the players have to perform. the GM can put together a team, and his job was proven out by having 92.5 win average, division winning/competing teams for the last 6 years. (1st or 2nd in the division). no player can guarantee playoff success. just ask Kershaw.
yeah, I’m a fan of Rizzo’s. sign me up for a 5 year deal.
It wasn’t hindsight for me and many others at the time in regards to Strasburgs innings. It was debated all over the major sports networks. They set an inning limit early on and for whatever reason they decided to burn through them before the end of the regular season, not when it matters most in the playoffs. They were huge favorites and were obviously going to the playoffs so no pass from me on that. They could’ve skipped 1 start per month and add extra time before and/or after the all star break and had him through the playoffs. When you have a chance to win a world series, you take it, you don’t sit your best pitcher bc of poor planning. In regards to the Eaton trade, I think it was a good trade for both sides (still do)and of course he can’t see an ACL injury coming. I never said anything of the sort.
I don’t think you’re giving enough credit to the Prospects the white Sox acquired in the Eaton trade. Through a small sample size both Lopez & Giolito looked good at the Mlb level & Dunning progressed well last season.
When you get to the post season it is all on the manager not the GM. I fault him for his managerial choice not rosters
Other than his managerial hires, he’s been pretty good. From a Braves fan perspective, I hope he keeps hiring the wrong manager for the pretty good group of players he assembles. =]
I dont think its him doing the manager hiring honestly.
Here’s a 1:50 video of Rizzo talking about his 2017, 2018 club options picked up. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meuGxmcNYmQ
I love the way this guy [Nationals President of Operations, Mike Rizzo] carries himself, and hope a new long-term deal can be reached now, or sometime in the near future.
As a Nats fan, I think signing Rizzo would be the best deal of the offseason by far! He is a great GM. I think he finally got the right answer at manager. I think that this one was his choice and previous ones were not.
I am not a Nats fan nor from around that area so I have no clue on this issue, just curious what you heard about who was picking the managers if it wasn’t him.
Based on how some of it went I suspect ownership was very involved. Only a suspicion.
The Lerners generally don’t meddle with personnel decisions, except when they do. Given his druthers Rizzo would have re signed Dusty but apparently ownership insisted on a change. Ted Lerner is ~93 and getting a mite bit impatient.
From what I’ve seen I get the sense he’s had to deal with several instances of ownership override.
Isn’t that exactly what he said about Dusty all last summer?
Rizzo is as vital to the Nats success as any player. Him leaving would be a huge blow that Nats ownership cant let happen.
Rizzo has done a great job, but he needs to find a versatile reliever to push them over the top. If he can find that guy this year, they’ll win the NL Pennant. They are so close to getting over the hump, but with the Cubs and Dodgers adding quality pieces in the bullpen, the Nats need to keep pace.