In the Washington Nationals' press release on Mike Rizzo's new long-term deal with the team and his promotion to the position of President of Baseball Operations, the 52-year-old executive thanked the Lerner family for the opportunity they'd given him to build something lasting in the nation's capital.
"'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 was quoted stating. "'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.'"
In an interview with MASN's Bob Carpenter on Friday, Rizzo talked about the process of turning the team around since he took over as the "acting" and then full-time general manager five years ago. "This all started in 2009 when we went out and hired the best and the brightest front office staff, scouts [and] player development," the Nationals' GM said.
"We put a lot of onus on scouting and player development. We've really added to those staffs. We've really put a lot of money into out draft picks and our draft choices and really attacked our player acquisition that way. And really in every forefront that we've asked the Lerner family for, they've come up with the resources to get it done."
MASN's play-by-play man and the Nats' GM also touched on what's gone wrong this season, and why the Nationals find themselves 53-56 after 109 games. Asked what the biggest issue has been, Rizzo pointed to the inconsistent offensive output. "I think the consistency in some aspects of the offense," he said. "We've had spurts where we've gotten plenty of guys on base, you get ten hits in a game and three or four walks in a game and still score one or two runs. I think getting hits at the right time. Hitting with runners in scoring position and really having a flow and a synergy to the lineup has really been a big achilles' heel for us this year."
"We just haven't seemed to this point to get the flow going like we had last year," Rizzo said.
• Listen to the rest of the Nationals' General Manager's interview with MASN's Bob Carpenter HERE.
• Check out what former major league Jeff Nelson had to say about the Nats' long-term deal with Rizzo at MLB.com: