Rizzo On the Way Out?

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | , , , , , | 2 comments »

Mike Rizzo, at spring training days after becoming "acting" general manager.
Photo 2009 © Cheryl Nichols. All Rights Reserved.

According to this Yahoo Sports story, "acting" GM Mike Rizzo may soon be looking for work. Gordon Edes cites multiple sources that the Washington Nationals may be very close to announcing a permanent general manager, speculating that person is Jerry DiPoto, Arizona Diamondbacks V.P. of Baseball Operations.

CBS Sports's Danny Knobler already has DiPoto telling friends he plans to accept the job.

I am not surprised about this in the slightest; not the idea of it or the way it’s going down.

Rizzo has done a good job with the responsibilities thrust upon him since March, when Jim Bowden fell on his sword in his last self-serving act to baseball. The then-assistant general manager oversaw the closing of Jose Rijo's training center and move of the Dominican baseball operations to a new facility.

Since, he's overhauled the bullpen (twice), obtained a true center fielder, trimmed fat from the roster, conducted a draft, participated in the firing of a well-respected manager, and was part of the signing of the savior.

Fans want to know, what more could Mike Rizzo do to prove he's worthy of the full-time gig.

Regardless of how it was presented in the media, Rizzo probably had very little to do with the Strasburg signing. The Strasburg negotiations were always between the ownership group and Scott Boras. Rizzo's involvement was as conduit. But it helped that Rizzo has a nice relationship with Boras.

What would be a shame is if the Nats were using Rizzo for his relationship with Boras to grease the skids, then send him packing.

There is an organizational house-cleaning coming. Hiring a permanent GM is the first step. Maybe it will be easier to clean house with someone fresh coming in.

Since moving to D.C., this organization has never had a chance to work properly. No one in a position of authority has been able to hire the people that work for them. Kasten was stuck with Bowden. Bowden was stuck with Rizzo. Everyone was stuck with scouting director Dana Brown.

Even the managers weren’t able to hire their own coaches.

I suspect that the new GM will come in and clean house and hire his “own people”. For once. The way it’s supposed to be done.

It sounds more and more like Mike Rizzo won't be that guy though. It's too bad.


  1. Anonymous // August 19, 2009 at 1:41 PM  

    I suspect that the new GM will come in and clean house and hire his “own people”. For once. The way it’s supposed to be done.

    Really? Name one major sports organization where this was ever done successfully. It's not like the change from a Democratic to a Republican administration. Any new GM that gets hired is going to have to hold onto the best pieces of the current organization if there's any hope for success. There's not some shadow front office out there ready to move right in if the current house is cleaned. A fully functional and highly successful front office is a journey, not a destination.

    And lest you forget, there have already been some fairly recent complete or partial housecleanings in this franchise's front office. Loria did one, and so did the Lerners when they took over and dumped Taveras and many of the other MLB folks. Think about how those housecleanings turned out before you go wishing for another one.

  2. Dave Nichols // August 19, 2009 at 2:01 PM  

    thanks for the anonymous comment.

    i am not wishing for anything. i only offered my specualtion as to what may happen, based on the limited information and contacts that i have.

    it's fairly typical for a GM to interview and hire his own scouting director and scouts, though. that's something no GM has had the luxury top do here.

    as for your reference to Loria? immaterial. and the Lerners have never had a housecleaning, since Bowden was already on board since he got here, and they never did fire him anyway.