Why the Rizzo Thing Rankles
The smart opinion on the news that Mike Rizzo seems to be out as Interim GM in favor of Arizona Diamondbacks director of player personnel Jerry Dipoto is that all's fair in love and UZR. Rizzo's done some things well, and other things less well (there are complaints about the trade deadline in particular), and the fact that he hasn't been a disaster doesn't necessarily mean he's the best man for the job. (See, for example, Chris Needham at NBC Washington.)
Impossible to argue with that, but I'd like to offer a word in favor of the doubters. The party line coming from Half Street is that this year has not been the disaster it seemed, that behind the curtain things have continued to trend in a positive direction, and that the wins are on the horizon. Here, for example, was Stan Kasten on the LaVar and Dukes show yesterday afternoon, when he called the signing a "credibility builder with our fans" and insisted that "the lion's share of this work goes to Mike Rizzo."
"You know, there's no question we've been down on our luck the last couple years," Kasten said. "Some things were just bad luck and some things have been our own missteps, no question about it, and we needed to reverse that trend and we have been reversing it kind of quietly....We have been taking bad things and turning them into good ones and this is just one more really, really good one....I want people to take a step back and look realistically at what we've been accomplishing this year. Don't look at just the record, because there are reasons for the record being what it is. Look at the progress that is being made, look at the strides that have happened."
If you grant any legitimacy at all to what Kasten is saying, you want to enjoy this Strasburg signing for a moment while considering a future that includes four actual walls, without a tear-down in between. You want to believe that optimism is acceptable. You want to buy the argument that this season wasn't a total waste. And you want the team president's words to mean something, when he says this, for example, about Rizzo and Riggleman:
"We have guys in place who are doing an excellent job, we're proud of both of them, and I'm sure everything else will take care of itself."
So if you then immediately summon the wrecking crew, the "progress that is being made" is essentially acknowledged to be a fraud, the man credited with the "credibility builder" is judged to lack credibility, and the buzz from Strasburg gets drowned out by national catcalls. The logic behind such a reaction doesn't matter--just check out the sentiments here. Bad PR is bad PR; logic has nothing to do with it. The Strasburg Bounce would have lasted less than 48 hours.
No, you don't want to make your front-office decisions based on the will of the mob, but when an optimism-challenged franchise is riding its biggest wave of positive publicity in months, it seems a funny time to jump. If you need to move on, give it a week or two, and let the Bounce keep bouncing until then.
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