Within the last half an hour the Washington Nationals announced (via Twitter @NatsTownNews and in a conference call) that they had signed General Manager Mike Rizzo to a 5-year extension and promoted Mr. Rizzo to the position of Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations in addition to his duties as the Nats' GM. The one-time Red and White Sox' scout joined the Nationals as former DC GM Jim Bowden's Assistant GM in 2006 after working as the Director of Scouting for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2000-2006. Rizzo took over as interim-GM when Bowden resigned prior to the '09 season, and assumed the role on a full-time basis in late 2009.
Rizzo spent the winter following the '09 campaign rebuilding the Nationals' front office, hiring scouts and executives from around the majors. Former Atlanta Braves Scouting Director Roy Clark became the Nats' Assistant GM and the Vice President of Player Personnel. Davey Johnson came on as a senior advisor to the GM. Johnny DiPuglia, who'd spent ten years in the Red Sox' scouting department, left his job as Boston's Latin American Scouting Coordinator and became the Nationals' Director of Latin American Operations. With outgoing team President Stan Kasten's help, Rizzo turned Washington into what he described to Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell in an article entitled, "This National intelligence estimate is decidedly favorable" as a "baseball shop".
Mr. Rizzo cited the rebuilding of the front office in a teleconference this afternoon, and the addition of the "best and brightest scouting and front office types" as his biggest achievement as GM, and acknowledged that the extension and additional job title provide a, "huge opportunity and a huge responsibility," but he was very pleased with the decision the Lerner family made. The Nats, in Mr. Rizzo's opinion, now have "continuity and consistency from the top down," which is something he says all successful organizations in baseball need. "There really hasn't been a shortage of my stamp on the organization," the D.C. GM said when asked if the team would now more clearly reflect his own baseball philosophy, but now, "It will be my baby," Rizzo said, "and my fingerprints will be all over the organization, more so than they are already."
In Rizzo We Trust and apparently the Lerners do too.