Nationals Baseball: Mike Rizzo, not happy

Friday, January 19, 2018

Mike Rizzo, not happy

Back in the old days of 2011 Mike Rizzo said something approximating this when referring to the unhappy Jim Riggleman. "Just shut up and do your job" Well Rizzo has ceased to shut up and do his job.

Now in part, there is no off-season for Rizzo. He can't just wait until the season is over to deal with things like Riggleman could. But still - this isn't the look you want from your GM. He feels underappreciated and (likely) underpaid for the work that he's done. He's probably right.

So should he get paid? Well yes. But it's also hard for me to feel sorry for the guy given that Dusty and Davey were also underappreciated and underpaid and Rizzo in public shrugged his shoulders at that saying nothing. 

Rizzo has helped steward the Nats to six years and presumably at least seven, of competitive baseball. He has made a mistake or two, but they have been outweighed by numerous correct decisions and the Nats have found themselves in the playoffs in four of the past 6 seasons, with 5 in 7 looking likely. He got a certain amount of luck with timing in terms of the original run of success, but was able to extend that beyond when it might have normally turned.
Rizzo has managed this continued success without sacrificing success beyond today. He understands the difference between a top prospect and another guy. He has protected the best guys while being mostly reasonable in his parting with the rest. Again, it hasn't been perfect but here we are going into 2018 looking at another projected 90+ win season.

Rizzo has done this despite the peculiarities of the ownership, with it making spending like squeezing blood from a stone, peppered with high-priced Boras signings.

Another GM could have done all this but it seems more likely another GM would have tripped along the way. Maybe he would have traded Rendon for help back in 2014, or managed not to extend Strasburg after 2016. Another GM probably wouldn't have been that far off Rizzo (ok and may have gotten the nats to a CS or WS) but likely wouldn't have gotten the level of sustained success and that could mean 3 playoffs, not 4, and looking at a declining future not one with a measure of hope. 

Rizzo is worth keeping. I hope the Nats make this work.


Chas R said...

I would think ownership realizes Rizzo's services would be of interest to a number of teams. He would likely get better offers from other teams in need of someone with his experience and record of success. Pay the man.

Josh Higham said...

While you're thinking about ownership being frustrating, participate in this polling project at fangraphs!

blovy8 said...

What's the deadline for his renewal? It would be karma for the team to have to get past the first round for him to be extended.

Anonymous said...

The USA Today piece makes me weirdly hopeful. Rizzo talks as though he still thinks it's possible to make a deal. I'd be more concerned if he was totally silent and biding his time until he can leave town after 2018.

Anonymous said...

Rizzo is and has been the most important man in this organization. It would be a MAJOR disappointment if they do not give him a market-competitive deal. And you can forget any hope of resigning Harper if you don't. He's likely gone anyway, but Rizzo and the Harpers have a long and trusting relationship that Bryce and the family do not have with the Lerners. I understand not paying more than you have to, or paying money before you have to, but it is time (past time) for them to get this done

Fries said...


If I remember correctly, it's midseason (June?). So, preferably, the Lerners pay him now instead of later...I don't want an interim GM at the trade deadline

Fries said...

Oops, I was wrong. It's Halloween

Froggy said...

Being that it's the ASG year nothing bad will happen to Rizzo unless it is self-inflicted this season. Now, if the Nats don't make the playoffs, or don't get out of the first round again, Bryce will be a Cubby and Rizzo will be GM for the Marlins.

blovy8 said...

If I were Rizzo, I wouldn’t touch that Marlins job.

Robot said...

Agree, blovy8. I wouldn't go anywhere near Miami.

The Nats need to extend Rizzo more than anything else this year, especially if they don't extend Bryce (as seems increasingly likely).

Josh Higham said...

Re: Marlins

I seriously doubt those PR-be-damned penny pinchers would pay market value for a top quality GM at the "pay down debt" stage of their ownership.

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