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Poll: What is the Nats' Next Move?

The Nationals now have a decision to make. Should they promote from within, giving the job to assistant GM Mike Rizzo? That has the advantage of being a quick resolution with a known quantity who seemed to handle last week's Dominican mess with aplomb.

Or should they hire from outside the organization? That has the advantage of bringing in someone not wedded to prior practices or current staffing, but would likely take longer.

By Tracee Hamilton  |  March 2, 2009; 7:27 AM ET
 
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Comments

Please interview a wide range of candidates, and if it settles on Rizzo, then great. If it settles on a young gun, e.g. Theo, great. I just want the best available candidate.

Posted by: joemktg1 | March 2, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm no Bowden basher, but last season I was so frustrated with the roster management, it seemed like Manny was always managing a player or two short.

I also think last off-season Bowden put together a better 40 man roster, but because of the major league contracts given to backup players they actually made the 25 man roster worse than in '08 and along with the injuries the results on the field showed it.

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

... the trouble with polls like this is the fact no question can adequately be answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no'. In my case, I voted to hire Mike Rizzo, but I would like to have said to hire him now as interim - for a specified length of time - with the proviso that he and others would be considered (at that time) for the job permanently.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 2, 2009 7:47 AM | Report abuse

This is one of those questions where I'm happy to check a box and vote. But even as a knowledgeable fan - I don't have a real firm idea whether Mike Rizzo or Tony LaCava is the better man for the job. What about Kim Ng, did someone steal her from the Dodgers yet? And I'm sure that there are other qualified candidates out there.

Posted by: comish4lif | March 2, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Have read that both Kasten and Rizzo and non-moneyball guys. That worries me. Would love to see a Billy Bean/Theo Epstein GM but not sure Kasten will hire someone like that.

I say Rizzo as interim and then a wide search.

Posted by: Avar | March 2, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Rizzo already knows the roster, the minor leagues, the organization, and player profiles for the upcoming draft. That has to give him an edge.

Rizzo seems like a good in-house option.

Posted by: derwink | March 2, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm wondering if Stan has something up his sleeve to bring in someone from outside, give the timeframe avaialable I seriously doubt it.

IMO you have to give they keys to Rizzo, at least till October. Then you can make a more informed decision and make a wider search. The only downside there is that you might have more competition for the top GM talent from other teams who dump their GM in the off season.

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I agree with those who say to hire Rizzo as an interim for continuity sake and then conduct a full search. I'm still not convinced on Rizzo. I haven't been overwhelmed with the Nats' draft pucks under his supposed brilliant evaluation.

Avar's Moneyball comment reminded me of something I've been contemplating for a few months. I ask this as a question; I do not state this as a conclusion. Is the whole Billy Beane/Moneyball theory at all tainted by the fact that Oakland under Beane was by all accounts "Steroids Central"? It's much easier to draw walks and then wait around for HRs when everyone is juicing. Do we need to think about other offensive theories given the clear change in the game over the last few years? I'd be interested in others' thoughts on that.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 2, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

New Screech is on Fox5 right now. Much taller, trimmer and clean! They say he is now a teenager. And his hat comes off!!

Posted by: HALjr | March 2, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I didn't vote because, as others have noted, I believe that the poll is flawed. How about an option for taking the time to do a thorough evaluation and selecting the best candidate? But that's not Internet-friendly, methinks.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

any potential gm would love this job. to sign two top 10 picks within 6 months on the job is an extraordinary opportunity.

this is a franchise that makes money and has a young core with lots of roster flexibility. i say take our time. we finally have some leverage here.

a good franchise will always lose good talent. if rizzo leaves, so be it. no reason to feel obligated to him or anyone else. just get the best person we can and everything else will be easier.

Posted by: longterm | March 2, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Hi db423,

... you might have a point in a possible connection to MoneyBall and 'the dope'.

... but my dislike of sabrmetrics is much more basic. In my (not so) humble opinion, the evaluation of players in any sport - and that surely includes baseball - can not adequately be boiled down to mathematics. There are simply far too many more imponderables which MUST be taken into consideration, but which Bill James conveniently ignored or left out in constructing his numbers racket.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 2, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I think the Nats should appoint Rizzo Interim GM, then evaluate his progress and re-evaluate the team situation in the offseason. My only worry is that I do think Rizzo is a FO talent we should try to keep, and I don't want to lose him and his skills if we decide not to name him full-time GM. However, with this June's draft being a crucial step for the franchise, I think the Nats need somebody in-house who is already up-to-speed with the team's needs and the farm system and the scouting progress. I don't think an outside candidate would have time to get up to speed to make the wisest draft choices (after Strasburg) in such a short time frame.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | March 2, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I believe Kasten when he says he has been working on some things. Perhaps he has had much more time to plan for this than most people know. There are several out of the box options available including an interim or permanent organization structure that does not include the title GM. Some organizations have successfully split the duties of a GM in two for periods of time - financial/negotiations and talent management. That might be a solution.

Also, I am not sure I want the team to duck the minority interviewing/hiring requirement. There are some very good minority candidates out there who would help this organization make a bold statement to the baseball world and beyond.

(And BTW, while it is extremely unlikely to happen, it would be nice if they could use this as an opportunity to bring Frank Robinson back into the fold at least on a consulting basis - not as GM, but something meaningful.)

Posted by: natbisquit | March 2, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Well, Cheeseburger, one would think that anyone on their short list would be evaluating talent for whatever team he/she is working for now, no? Hopefully they are already "up to speed" particularly in baseball where you rarely draft for need. This makes the job less organization specific.

Natscan, I agree with you. I heard a NL GM once say that sabermatricians are like law school professors and GMs are like trial lawyers. The law theory is nice, but once you get into a real life trial, personalities and human emotion play a huge role. My old college coach who worked in pro ball for about 25 years used to refer to the moneyball GMs as "pointy-headed briefcase carriers". He had great disdain for their lack of "feel" for the game.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 2, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"Some organizations have successfully split the duties of a GM in two for periods of time"

And some have done that unsuccessfully too. In fact, one such organization plays 40 miles up the road in Baltimore.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 2, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

new post...

Posted by: NatsNut | March 2, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The problem with giving anyone an "interim" managerial role in a large organization is that you are setting them up for failure. If they don't win the final job, its a let-down.

It must be made clear that the position goes to the best candidate.

Kasten is doing it the right way --- set up the criteria. let Rizzo apply, head hunt for other candidates, and then interview them all according to the criteria. Whoever matches the criteria best gets the job.

It doesn't do Rizzo's ego any good if he is made interim boss for, say, three months and then told "Sorry, pal, you lost the job" -- stay in as AGM.

This whole problem started with a poor selection process --- Jimbo was defaulted into it.

Let's do it right this time, get the best guy for the job. If it's Rizzo, great!

Posted by: nattydread1 | March 2, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

The problem with giving anyone an "interim" managerial role in a large organization is that you are setting them up for failure. If they don't win the final job, its a let-down.

It must be made clear that the position goes to the best candidate.

Kasten is doing it the right way --- set up the criteria. let Rizzo apply, head hunt for other candidates, and then interview them all according to the criteria. Whoever matches the criteria best gets the job.

It doesn't do Rizzo's ego any good if he is made interim boss for, say, three months and then told "Sorry, pal, you lost the job" -- stay in as AGM.

This whole problem started with a poor selection process --- Jimbo was defaulted into it.

Let's do it right this time, get the best guy for the job. If it's Rizzo, great!

Posted by: nattydread1 | March 2, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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