Mike Rizzo gets new contract with Nationals

Updated: August 1, 2013

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo received a new contract today and also a new title — President of Baseball Operations. Rizzo was hired as assistant general manager in 2006, serving under then-GM Jim Bowden. Rizzo took over the GM role in 2009 when Bowden was fired.

Rizzo was named 2012 Executive of the Year by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and Hit Club of Chicago.

“Upon purchasing the Nationals, Mike Rizzo was our first hire and he has performed brilliantly,” managing principal owner Ted Lerner said in a statement. “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.”

In a statement, Rizzo said the Lerner family has giving him nothing but support.

“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.”

Bowden received a ton of attention — positive and negative — in 2012 over his much-discussed decision to shut down star pitcher Stephen Strasburg, who was in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. He has not been the focus of so much attention this year, but perhaps he should be, considering the team’s dismal under-achievement — currently four games below .500 and 10.5 games out of first place in the NL East. The team is currently saddled with big contracts to players like 3B Ryan Zimmerman and 1B Adam LaRoche, two players whose play is not satisfactory and who are not providing the sort of power the team needs out of those positions. The acquisition of RF Jayson Werth in 2011 still does not look good and CF Denard Span has been a disappointment.

I’m glad Jim Bowden is happy about this. I’m not sure what to think.