New Mascot, But Still No New GM

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, March 03, 2009 | 5 comments »

Perhaps the Nationals are still basking in the all the attention that came yesterday from the unveiling of the new Screech. Maybe not, judging by some of the comments here.

But whatever the reason, Stan Kasten is taking a measured approach to naming a new General Manager. For now, he's fulfilling the duties. In addition to his responsibilities as Team President, he's now the de facto interim GM, taking calls about trades, mulling possible free agent signings, looking over the young pitchers. He has prior experience in the job, having been the GM of the Atlanta Hawks for several years before moving upstairs in Atlanta.
"I'm doing what we need to do to keep the franchise moving forward, and I'm pleased to say that has been happening," Kasten said, via MLB.com.
Kasten has deflected any questions about possible replacements, the interview process and whether he has a preference for an in-house candidate.

It's easy to sit here and speculate about any of those answers. You have to wonder that if Mike Rizzo is Stan's guy, why he wasn't given the job immediately? Especially after all the effusive praise Kasten heaped on Rizzo for the job he did in the wake of the Dominican turnover, it seemed like Kasten was prepping Rizzo for the job.

And what about last week's rumor-fest about Tony LaCava? There were reports in both papers about how the Nats haven't contacted MLB to be able to speak with LaCava or waive the minority interview requirement to fill the front office position. Yet the rumors still exist. Other names are surfacing as well, but in no official capacity.

So now we start a different watch. I'm sure Kasten is holding his own with the GM duties, and he's already had an "all hands on deck" staff meeting to elicit suggestions and rally the troops. Will there be more turnover? Will the replacement come from in-house? Will Kasten decide to keep the job himself? All fascinating questions.

Hopefully we can at least watch this story unfold while keeping an eye out for any more fallout from the FBI investigation in the Dominican, limiting the team's exposure in that to the personnel that have already departed. It would be soul-crushing to every Nats fan if there is guilt by those left behind.

5 comments

  1. estuartj // March 3, 2009 at 1:09 PM  

    If they are actually going to do a full search for a GM, and try to get it done fast, then there is no reason to tag Rizzo as interim.

    If you don't select him he'll very likely walk and you need him for the upcoming June draft, regardless of who the GM ends up being. If he is the new GM then taging him as interim did you no real good, exactly what difference is it going to make over 7-10 days?

  2. Dave Nichols // March 3, 2009 at 3:29 PM  

    my bigger point was this: they've had plenty of time to evaluate him for the job. if he's the guy, why wait and interview others when you don't have to.

    i guess i'm insinuating that Rizzo isn't Stan's guy after all.

  3. Wooden U. Lykteneau // March 4, 2009 at 9:24 AM  

    Because that begs the question: "If Rizzo was so qualified, why didn't the Nats make the move in October?"

    Personally, I think the inevitable move will happen, but this gives the Nats the cover of a GM search when in fact they're likely looking to replace both Rizzo and Boone as assistant GMs.

  4. Anonymous // March 4, 2009 at 9:49 AM  

    "my bigger point was this: they've had plenty of time to evaluate him for the job. if he's the guy, why wait and interview others when you don't have to."

    Maybe, maybe not. Rizzo's obviously done a good job as asst GM in performing the duties he was responsible for. But does doing a good job as an assistant necessarily qualify him for a promotion without even considering others? Let them conduct interviews for the open GM position. Let Rizzo, if he is interested in the job, interview and present his case along with every other candidate. Let them choose the best candidate for the job. Then if Rizzo feels that he got shafted in the process, he can leave if he wants. Obviously he didn't mind being second banana to a lowlife like Bowden. Perhaps if they hire a vastly experienced guy like a Scheurholz then Rizzo wouldn't mind working under him.

    Seems to me that this is Kasten's mindset. He likes Rizzo - he hired him, after all. He just needs to decide if he's the right guy to be GM by evaluating him against viable alternatives.

  5. Cheryl Nichols // March 4, 2009 at 11:10 AM  

    Bill Ladson is reporting....

    "The Nationals decided Wednesday that their general manager's position will remain vacant for the foreseeable future. Team president Stan Kasten will remain the person in charge, but assistant GM Mike Rizzo will have principle responsibilities when it comes to the Major League, Minor League and scouting operations. All team matters or inquiries will be directed to Rizzo, with Kasten working closely with him."