"There really hasn't been a shortage of my stamp on the organization," Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo told reporters in October of 2009, when he was given a five-year extension and a bump in title that made him the Nationals' Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations as well. With the organization fully behind him, Rizzo promised that the Nats would, "... be my baby, and my fingerprints will be all over the organization, more so than they are already."
The former scout, scouting director and assistant GM overhauled the Nationals' front office and their minor league system and put together a team that went from a perennial cellar dweller to the NL East Champions in 2012, three years after after took over in D.C. for Jim Bowden. There was talk of a long-term extension when the Nationals picked up Rizzo's option for 2014 this past April, with reporters, including MLB.com's Bill Ladson writing that, "The two parties are working on an extension beyond next season."
Washington Times' reporter Amanda Comak quoted Nationals principal owner Mark Lerner saying that the two sides were talking. "We’re in discussions with Mike and I think both sides are confident that we’re going to come to an extension."
According to a press release from the Nationals tonight, the two sides have agreed on a long-term extension.
"The Washington Nationals today announced that Mike Rizzo has signed a new, long-term contract with the team and has been promoted to the position of President of Baseball Operations and General Manager."
Both Managing Principal owner Theodore R. Lerner and Rizzo issued statements along with the press release:
"Upon purchasing the Nationals, Mike Rizzo was our first hire and he has performed brilliantly," stated Theodore N. Lerner today. "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."
"I am truly proud to be a part of the Washington Nationals and excited to be able to continue what we’ve started here," Rizzo said. "The task of building this club from nearly expansion level – at both the minor and major league level – has been challenging, but the Lerner family has been nothing but supportive. We’ve made significant progress toward our goal of competing for a World Series Championship, and I intend to do everything in my power to one day hand that trophy to Mr. Lerner at Nationals Park. We’ve still got work to do, but I am pleased that ownership trusts me to get it done."
The Nationals are currently 52-56 in second place in the NL East, 11.0 games behind the Atlanta Braves a year after they brought postseason baseball back to the nation's capital for the first time since 1933.
Apparently the Nationals trust Rizzo to get them back there again even if they don't make it this season.