The Nationals announced this morning that they’ve agreed to terms on a multi-year contract extension with president of baseball operations and GM Mike Rizzo. The sides were reported as close to an agreement when manager Dave Martinez extended with the club on a two-year deal with a club option for 2026 late last month.
Rizzo, 62, has been part of the Nationals organization since 2006. He’s been at the helm of Washington’s baseball operations since 2009, and now figures to continue in that role for the foreseeable future, though the exact length of the deal has not yet been reported. Rizzo guided the club through eight consecutive winning seasons from 2012-2019, a stretch that including five postseason appearances with a World Series championship in 2019.
Recent years have been far less kind to Washington, however, as the club has finished in last place in the NL East in three consecutive seasons and is currently trending toward a fourth in 2023 with a 65-80 record. The downturn in production was thanks not only to the departure of key players like Bryce Harper prior to the 2019 season and Anthony Rendon the following winter, but also a pair of ill-fated big money contracts; both left-hander Patrick Corbin and homegrown ace Stephen Strasburg haven’t panned out since the club’s championship in 2019, with Strasburg throwing just 31 1/3 big league innings since and Corbin posting a brutal 5.61 ERA in 102 starts over the past four seasons.
With the team’s performance declining and over $300MM owed to Corbin and Strasburg in the coming years, Rizzo made the decision to kickstart the club’s current rebuild back in 2021. In doing so, he dealt not only short term rental pieces like Kyle Schwarber and Jon Lester but also franchise cornerstones Max Scherzer and Trea Turner. A year following that 2021 sell-off, Rizzo pulled the trigger on a trade of young superstar Juan Soto, shipping him to the Padres for a package of prospects and young players.
Difficult as the past few seasons have been for Nationals fans, the future is bright for an organization now brimming with young talent. MacKenzie Gore, CJ Abrams, James Wood, Robert Hassell, Keibert Ruiz, Lane Thomas, and Josiah Gray were all added to the organization at the trade deadline in recent seasons, while the draft has produced top talents like Dylan Crews and Brady House. Today’s extension announcement is not only a vote of confidence from ownership in Rizzo’s leadership, but an opportunity for Rizzo to personally see the fruits of the recent rebuild begin to manifest in the coming years.