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Rizzo Gets New Duties; Kasten: No Urgency for Search

Saying that his team needed "a little bit of calming rather than more change right now," Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten has given Mike Rizzo control of day-to-day major league operations for the foreseeable future. Rizzo, an assistant general manager with the club since 2006, "will have primary responsibility for all matters relating to the major league team," Kasten said.

Kasten said that the Nationals have no urgency to fill their general manager position will a permanent replacement.

The team is planning to send an e-mail this morning to all other clubs notifying them to contact Rizzo with all inquiries related to the big league team.

The rest of the front office will remain intact, too, with Dana Brown staying on as scouting director and Bob Boone staying on as assistant general manager.

"Mike is a guy that I have a lot of confidence in, our owners have a lot of confidence in, and at some point I have to do a search and a search will progress, but I don't feel in any rush at all," Kasten said. "There's no particular urgency or timetable for that."

More details coming soon.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 4, 2009; 10:49 AM ET
 
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Next: Kasten: "I'm a fan of continuity"

Comments

Why would he say all that and not say what it clearly means...Rizzo is the interim GM?

Posted by: Avar | March 4, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Chico - Is Stan Kasten still in charge of getting Mr. Zim's contract extended?

To me that is the biggest GM goal for the next 30 days. Second to that would be trading an outfielder or 2 (Kearns and Wily Mo) for some good bullpen help (that's not asking too much :>}

Posted by: dmacman88 | March 4, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

295 - there's a post for you on the "morning reading" thread dealing with Strasburg's mechanics.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 4, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Backing up a little bit (sorry). I LOVE LOVE LOVE this sentence:

"the star of yesterday's game, Roger Bernadina, who earlier received some tips from Elijah Dukes."

It doesn't say so much and it does say so much.

It doesn't say "previously troubled Elijah Dukes." It doesn't add any other gratuitous comments about Elijah's progress, turnaround, change, adjustment, etc.

What it does day, to me, is everything: Elijah's a veteran National helping out a new-ish kid with his hitting and it did some good. Period. That's all he is and that's all this is. I LOVE it.

I know even commenting on it myself sort of contradicts my whole point, but I think ya'll know what I mean.

So Chico, don't go make a big story out of it. Just leave it at that. Thanks.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 4, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I posted this over at NFA in response to something Brian said, but will raise it here as well for general discussion purposes:

I see this as a decision to let Rizzo take us through the draft and then see where things stand at midseason. That's not a terrible move in my view. It provides continuity for the moment, and lets the team evaluate Rizzo as the front-line guy, without saddling him with the "interim" title that might cause him to leave if he ultimately was not selected as the next GM. It's not like the pool of attractive GM candidates will shrink appreciably by midseason, or even by the end of the season. Let's wait and see what we have, on the field, in the minors, via the draft, and in the front office, by July, or even October. Then we can select the right guy for whatever the job appears to require at that point.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 4, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Let's just hope Boone's duties are kept to working with the minor league catchers.

Posted by: Brian_ | March 4, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

They could still use Swisher (a switch hitter). Hope they are still in the market trying to get him. Kearns isn't tradeable at this point, nor is Pena but Willingham may be.

Posted by: periculum | March 4, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

To be fair, Natscan, this is the first year with enough continuity in personnel to even be thinking about a Nationals ethos.

And we're talking about a team that just canned its GM as one with continuity.

Posted by: Section506 | March 4, 2009 9:42 AM

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

... I agree Sect506. That was my point. This is the first time we can even begin to look forward to such a team image. With things beginning to settle out (re the news about Rizzo) having a Nationals ethos is becoming a thing to be expected, not just dreamed about.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 4, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"Why would he say all that and not say what it clearly means...Rizzo is the interim GM?"

Because he's not the interim GM. He's the ACTING GM. "Interim" implies that he's only a seat-warmer until they get the real GM. "Acting" implies that he's doing the job now, and if he does it well for long enough the "acting" part might just go away. Or if they have the opportunity to bring someone on who is even more qualified for the job than Rizzo, they can do so without Rizzo losing face - thereby increasing the chances that he won't get pissed and leave.

How many years was Bud Selig the acting commissioner before MLB finally gave him the full title? The point is that someone can be "acting" for quite some time and do the job effectively. "Interim" generally implies a short shelf life for whoever holds that title. Kasten is saying two things here. (1) They're in no hurry on this process. (2) They have full confidence in Rizzo to do the job for as long as it might take. Nothing wrong with either of those. Sounds like Rizzo is on board with that too, which is good.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 4, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Going back again (sorry) about Strasburg. Alright, the kid can pitch. But how does he fail?

I saw this written in one of the many articles about him and it sticks in my mind. Can't remember who said it (Bowden? another scout?) but it's like, yea we know he can pitch. But put him in the big leagues and sooner or later he'll get lit up. How he handles that will be the key to his success.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 4, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Wow, we've got a whole slew of topics going on, but let me jump in on all of them.

Rizzo is acting GM until they can do a full search, odds on he gets the job, but if they do go outside he can still save face, worst case would be hiring someone else and have him leave and then the scouting/draft team is headless.

Trying to guess what Strasburg's injury risk based on what some online yahoo says about his mechanics is like trying to figure out if that noise your car is making will require a new transmittion by playing the tape of it on youtube and seeing what people say.

I think we are close to having a team ethos, and many won't like it, but I think it fits with the city. Bad guys who've made good. Young, Dukes, Milledge, Olsen all have bad track records, but are now "straight shooters" trying to emulate guys like Zimmerman, Dunn, etc. Chicks alway dig the bad boy who's tryinig to do what's right, hell half of hollywood's movies (and movie stars) follow that exact script.

Posted by: estuartj | March 4, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

St. Claire has altered the delivery of two other notable pitchers in the past. When the Nats acquired Ryan Wagner, they encouraged him to go back to his side-arm delivery and abandon the overarm motion stressed by the Reds.

Last Spring, he then turned to Matt Chico and worked with him on restoring the higher leg kick that was apparent in footage of the lefty in high school.

Both pitchers ended up injured, requiring surgery and lengthy recoveries.

This could be completely coincidental, sure. But it does kind of put me off messing with Olsen's delivery to gain a few more MPH on his fastball. It's just a kneejerk reaction, though, right?

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 4, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Wow, estaurtj, thanks for giving me my latest get-rick quick scheme - an online video call-in show for car trouble!

I'll cut you in on the profits, though.

-----

Trying to guess what Strasburg's injury risk based on what some online yahoo says about his mechanics is like trying to figure out if that noise your car is making will require a new transmission by playing the tape of it on youtube and seeing what people say.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 4, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

JiM, i'm going to guess that st randy has altered more deliveries than just those two. plus wagner had some injury issues *before* randy got hold of him, so it's probably a little simplistic to blame him.

Posted by: sec231 | March 4, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"Wow, estaurtj, thanks for giving me my latest get-rick quick scheme - an online video call-in show for car trouble!"

Don't go telling me I need a new transmittion by listening to a tape of it on youtube. That kind of advice is unexceptable.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 4, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Rizzo is being given the rest of the season to show what he can do and how he meshes with upper management. If all goes well I would imagine he will be named the GM on a permanent basis.

If the Nationals do not go with Rizzo, based on his work here and with Arizona, there will be a number of teams interested in his services in the personnel dept.

Posted by: leopard09 | March 4, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Part of an assistant's duties is to fill in for the person you 'assist' when they aren't around or available. Rizzo is doing just that since Bowden is gone. All Kasten is doing is re-stating what Rizzo was doing the moment that Bowden announced his resignation.

Posted by: Wallpass | March 4, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Click and Clack might have something to say about that one, JiM.

---

Wow, estaurtj, thanks for giving me my latest get-rick quick scheme - an online video call-in show for car trouble!

I'll cut you in on the profits, though.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 4, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I seem to recall reading about successfully altered deliveries, but can't bring specifics to mind.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 4, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

If Rizzo can help solve the teams pitching questions by the end of the season, draft trade or call up I don't care but just give me 5 guys who can start with out being laughed at by the other team, then the I am sold.

Posted by: alex35332 | March 6, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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