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Nationals give extension and promotion to GM Mike Rizzo

Aug 1, 2013, 10:03 PM EDT

Mike Rizzo AP

The Nationals are in the midst of a disappointing follow-up campaign to their National League East title from last year, but general manager Mike Rizzo isn’t going anywhere. In fact, he’s getting promoted.

The team announced this evening that Rizzo has signed a new long-term contract and has been promoted to the new title of GM and President of Baseball Operations. The length of the new contract isn’t yet known, but the Nationals already picked up his option for 2014 earlier this year.

Here’s a statement from Nationals owner Ted Lerner:

“Upon purchasing the Nationals, Mike Rizzo was our first hire and he has performed brilliantly. We started with an idea about how baseball teams should be built and he translated it into a reality far faster than many could have imagined. He knows the game, the players, and is a true professional. Under his direct leadership, the Nationals have become one of the most exciting and respected young teams in baseball.”

Rizzo joined the organization in 2007 as an assistant GM and took over the main job after Jim Bowden resigned in March of 2009. The Nationals lost 103 games that year, but it didn’t take long for them to get on the path to respectability. While Rizzo was fortunate enough to be in position to draft Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper No. 1 overall in back-to-back years, he also made multiple key trades and signings en route an MLB-best 98 wins last year.

Of course, things haven’t been as rosy since Strasburg’s controversial shutdown. After being ousted in the NLDS by the Cardinals last October, the Nationals have disappointed with a 52-56 record this season, putting them 11 games behind the first-place Braves and 7 1/2 games out of a Wild Card spot. Just last week, hitting coach Rick Eckstein was fired against the wishes of manager Davey Johnson while Tyler Clippard criticized the organization’s handling of former closer Drew Storen. However, today’s announcement leaves little doubt that ownership feels the franchise is in the right hands for the long-term.

  1. edelmanfanclub - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Sounds like a chickens*** move by the Nationals – Cole Hamels

    • natslady - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:29 PM

      LOL==> Papelbon blew Hamels game tonight. Great signing by Amaro–> multiple years of velocity down, mouth open.

      • delsj - Aug 2, 2013 at 10:37 AM

        What happened to you, natslady? You used to make rational comments, but now that your team is tanking you have been reduced to pop shots and blatant homerism. I would guess that edelmanfanclub is not even a Phillies fan. Sounds like a New England handle trying to be funny. Besides, a Ruben Amaro shot is no way to strike back at Philly fans. According to, over three-fourths of the Phillies fans polled give Amaro a D or F grade as a GM. Get a grip!

  2. natslady - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    Congrats to Mike Rizzo!

    • jrbdmb - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      Yup, it took real genius to pick SS and Harper with those #1 picks. And the brilliance of sitting SS during the playoffs last year – since the Nats were built to make the playoffs every year – truly transcendent. Congrats Mike!

  3. biasedhomer - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    He is a pretty good GM. The Werth signing was horrible, but he has made plenty of good moves. Trading for Gio and Morse, not resigning Edwin Jackson.

    His biggest mistake was not letting Strasburg pitch in the postseason (if that was his call).

    • mlblogsbig3bosox - Aug 1, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      I wouldn’t call the Jayson Werth signing “horrible” since he can still give them good production (like he has this year) until the latter half of his contract when it’s bloated and he’ll be 36+ but it wasn’t a good one either. For me the worst part of that signing it’s the full no-trade clause.

      • dirtyharry1971 - Aug 1, 2013 at 11:23 PM

        hey speaking of horrible you should check out Josh “1 win” Johnson’s performance tonight. Yes he is out of the game already, he lasted a whopping 2 1/3 innings, gave up 10 hits only, 7 runs, 2 walks and a HR and it only took him 67 pitches to do it!! That’s his 4th start this year where he lasted 3 1/3 innings or less!! Please AA lock this guy up to a nice long contact! I love him!!!

      • Old Gator - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:27 AM

        Hey, check out dimwitharry’s latest post – same as the post before that, and the post before that, and the post before that, and the post before that, and the post before that, and the post before that (now cut to Jack Nicholson typing in The Shining).

        Of course, if it’s just that Harry is too dyslexic to make sense of the entry for “monotonous” in Webster’s, then I apologize. I don’t intentionally make fun of the handicapped if I can help it.

      • dan1111 - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:25 AM

        $18 million per year is terrible value for an aging good-but-not-great hitter who does not defend well.

        To me, it was the timing that really made the signing horrible. The overpay would have been defensible if Werth was the last piece for a big playoff push, but 2011 obviously was not the year–they knew that Strasburg was going to be out recovering from Tommy John surgery, and apart from him they just didn’t have the talent together yet. Despite the emergence of Jordan Zimmermann and nice performances from a number of other players, they only ended up at around .500.

        It would have made abundant sense to wait until the following offseason to make a big signing, unless they were able to make a great deal.

  4. scdocal - Aug 1, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    Don’t get why you would resign a GM on a horribly under performing team. Nice message to send to the players.

    • Old Gator - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:32 AM

      Great message to the players. Play halfassed baseball all season and be richly rewarded for it. Hell, I wish my boss could have sent me messages like that back in the day. I’d be typing this from a lounge chair overlooking the pacific in Fiji while sipping a Mai Tai.

    • dan1111 - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:11 AM

      I don’t think all of Rizzo’s moves have been great (see discussion of Werth above), but credit ought to be given where it is due.

      He inherited a terrible major league team with a farm system that was considered to be among the worst in baseball. Four years later, the Nationals are a talented young team that should compete for years to come, and a record around .500 is a major disappointment.

  5. mungman69 - Aug 1, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Rizzo sucks. The Nats had a great chance to go very far last season but Rizzo blew it. Yes, this sends a bad vibe to the Nats locker room. They should shut Rizzo down.

    • Old Gator - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:30 AM

      And what chance was that? You’re not flogging that inane Strasburg thing again, are you? That’s been disproven so many times and ways already that you’ve got to be hiding your head up your ass if you still think there’s anything to it.

  6. 12strikes - Aug 2, 2013 at 6:01 AM

    He was the main reason they lost in the playoffs last season, by sitting Strasberg. This year they won’t even make the playoffs. I’m sure the rest of the NL East is happy about this. Nats still the joke of the NL.

    • Old Gator - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:56 AM

      Another moron who thinks sitting Strasburg had anything to do with Drew Storen’s meltdown in the final game of the NLCS. I know that poor dim Harry is brainlocked, but don’t the rest of you idiots ever get tired of recycling mindless sound bytes you picked up somewhere?

      • jrbdmb - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:25 PM

        Who knows? If SS is pitching then perhaps Storen isn’t even needed, or there is no final game for the Nats to blow. Don’t know, but it is just as ridiculous for you to claim that sitting their best SP had absolutely nothing to do with the Nats losing the series.

      • 12strikes - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        Old Gator – Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

      • dan1111 - Aug 3, 2013 at 3:44 AM

        @Gator, in three of the Nationals’ games, they gave up 8 or more runs. Is it illogical to think that using their best starter in the series would have improved that?

        Starting Strasburg also would have changed their entire pitcher usage for the series, so how can you assume that it would have come down to the same situation in the final inning of the final game?

        Your argument here is quite weak, and calling someone a “moron”, “idiot”, and “mindless” on the basis of that argument is classless.

  7. ronmexicoswartcream - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    Hey natslady, nice job trying to deflect to the Phils but this articles about YOUR terrible manager. Don’t you have some crappy blog to go do about your loser Nats?

    • Old Gator - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:53 AM

      Don’t you have some warts to go cream on?

  8. eagles512 - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    Wouldn’t have extended him. Not yet at least.

  9. babyfarkmcgeezax - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Keep posting as you please, dirtyharry, and ignore that conceited douche Old Gator. You have as much of a right to comment here with Blue Jays comments as he does to litter every thread with obscure references fishing for a pat on the back. Don’t let him bully you off the HBT boards.

    • stex52 - Aug 2, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      By all means. Don’t let common sense or an inability to think rationally let anyone from commenting.

      • stex52 - Aug 2, 2013 at 9:35 AM

        or stop anyone from

  10. thenaturalmevs - Aug 2, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Okay, but the real question here is Rizzo brilliant enough to get Bryce Harper to sign with the Nationals long-term? That’s what the future of this franchise really depends on. Will Harper be a National through his prime years past 2015?

    • eatitfanboy - Aug 2, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      They’d better hope the Yankees don’t get from under that ARod contract.

  11. eatitfanboy - Aug 2, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Let’s see how brilliant he is now that he doesn’t have the #1 pick every year. What happened to ‘sitting Strasburg is absolutely the right thing to do because we are going to dominate the league for the next 10 years and we need to think about the future”?

    Well, that lasted all of “not even one year”. I said it last season and I’ll say it now- you have a shot, you go for it. The future guarantees you nothing.

  12. sumerduckman - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Once again mediocrity and non-performance are rewarded in DC.
    The Nats will never win a pennant with Rizzo in charge. The Lerners will make a lot of money in the meantime, so that’s all that matters.

  13. schumacherbill - Aug 3, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Let’s see if I can put it nicer then Gator. Anyone who still thinks that shutting down Strasburg lead them to lose the Playoffs does not know this team period. Strasburg last 10 starts saw his ERA sore plus he had lost velocity on his fastball. Detwiler took his spot in the rotation and pitched a gem. So it was not shutting down Strasburg that cost the Nats in the Playoffs. SO DROP IT ALREADY!

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