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Thread: Nationals About To Hire Rizzo, Sources Say

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    Member redsfandan's Avatar
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    Nationals About To Hire Rizzo, Sources Say

    Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say By Brian Shephard [August 18, 2009 at 9:43pm CST]
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/0....html#comments

    According to Gordon Edes of Yahoo.com, "multiple sources insisted" today that the Nationals are about to replace interim GM Mike Rizzo with Diamondbacks vice president Jerry DiPoto.

    Rizzo has been busy since replacing Jim Bowden as GM earlier this year. He brought in Nyjer Morgan and fired Manny Acta. Most notably, perhaps, he has been given credit for engineering the signing of pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg.

    DiPoto, who has been in charge of the Diamondbacks' pro scouting for four years, denied any knowledge that such a job change was imminent.
    "Now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that."

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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slu...ullcount081809

    The Nationals have made no announcements during the course of their GM search. Kasten is known to have interviewed Rays VP Gerry Hunsicker, who decided not to pursue the job, and contacted former Twins GM Terry Ryan, who was not interested. He also gave multiple interviews to Theo Epstein’s assistant GM in Boston, Jed Hoyer, believed to be another finalist for the job. A name floated in some circles was former Mets GM Steve Phillips, but he told associates he had no interest because of his job at ESPN.

    “I can tell you with all honesty that if this is ‘going down’ it is news to me,” DiPoto wrote in an email Tuesday. ”At this point there really isn’t anything to report that hasn’t already been reported. I will continue to be respectful of their process and patiently wait for their decision.”

    Rizzo had been with the Diamondbacks for seven years, primarily as scouting director, when the Lerner family hired him as assistant GM and VP of Baseball Operations after they took over in 2006. The Nationals’ draft in 2007 was ranked as the best in baseball by Baseball America.

    When Bowden resigned March 1 in the wake of an investigation that produced skimming allegations connected to the team’s operation in the Dominican Republic, Rizzo became interim GM. In the ensuing months he has engineered some significant roster shuffling, the most notable being the acquisition of outfielder Nyjer Morgan(notes) from Pittsburgh. He also fired manager Manny Acta; under interim Jim Riggleman, the Nationals were 17-14 entering play Tuesday night.

    The good relationship Rizzo had established over the years with Strasburg’s adviser, Scott Boras, also held him in good stead during negotiations, leading to a signing many regarded as critical to the credibility of the franchise.

    “If they let Mike go now, they really will have some explaining to do,” one Rizzo loyalist said Tuesday. “He changed the face of the club, got some of the bad apples out.”

    The Nationals almost certainly will have to make a decision soon. This is the time of year that most clubs are preparing next year’s budgets, and the contracts of most of the key people in scouting and player development come up at the end of October.

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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    You really cannot "fire" an interim guy, in the name of semantics.

    I agree that Rizzo appears to have earned his shot, but some brilliant executive(s) will go all Reds and do something stupid and bring in a "baseball man" to keep the good ole boys club alive and kicking while the franchise dies.

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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    I'd like to have Mike Rizzo in house as a potential Jocketty replacement. He'd sure beat Bill Bavasi.
    Go BLUE!!!

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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    Quote Originally Posted by Benihana View Post
    I'd like to have Mike Rizzo in house as a potential Jocketty replacement.
    a guy that broke the mlb draft is going to work for the Reds?

    the corpse of Dick Wagner would cause an earthquake
    2015, baby!

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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    Quote Originally Posted by princeton View Post
    a guy that broke the mlb draft is going to work for the Reds?

    the corpse of Dick Wagner would cause an earthquake
    Love to see it.
    Go BLUE!!!

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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    The rumors quoted in the title to this thread were false: MLB.com is now reporting that Interim GM Mike Rizzo has landed the job as the Nationals regular GM.

    I wish him luck....it would be nice to see the Nationals become competitive just for the sake of seeing another perennial cellar dweller make good.
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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    Quote Originally Posted by mbgrayson View Post
    The rumors quoted in the title to this thread were false: MLB.com is now reporting that Interim GM Mike Rizzo has landed the job as the Nationals regular GM.

    I wish him luck....it would be nice to see the Nationals become competitive just for the sake of seeing another perennial cellar dweller make good.
    Good for him. I truly believe he earned the job.
    My dad got to enjoy 3 Reds World Championships by the time he was my age. So far, I've only gotten to enjoy one. Step it up Redlegs!

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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    Fire, hire.... the f and h are close to each other on the keyboard....

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    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlifeman21 View Post
    Fire, hire.... the f and h are close to each other on the keyboard....
    "T"ire too!
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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    Go Reds Go! UKFlounder's Avatar
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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    "Dire" seems appropriate as well..

    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    "T"ire too!

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    Quote Originally Posted by mbgrayson View Post
    The rumors quoted in the title to this thread were false: MLB.com is now reporting that Interim GM Mike Rizzo has landed the job as the Nationals regular GM.

    I wish him luck....it would be nice to see the Nationals become competitive just for the sake of seeing another perennial cellar dweller make good.
    Perhaps they came down with amnesia and forgot they were about to can him. Or maybe they suffer from split-personality disorder and wanted to fire him one day, and hire him the next.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    Jerry DiPoto....now that's a name I haven't heard in a long time.
    "And the fact that watching him pitch is like having someone poop on your soul." FCB on Gary Majewski

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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    Quote Originally Posted by Brutus the Pimp View Post
    Perhaps they came down with amnesia and forgot they were about to can him. Or maybe they suffer from split-personality disorder and wanted to fire him one day, and hire him the next.
    Since it's Washington, it might have been a Lyndon Johnson thing, who was known to nominate someone else if his pick was leaked.

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    Re: Nationals About To Fire Rizzo, Sources Say

    Tom Boswell has a great column on Rizzo getting the job full time. There is a point where he writes something that the light goes on and you know, this guy is the anti-Jim Bowden. It looks like the Nats woke up and saw they had a stellar pick right in front of them.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...004530_pf.html

    'Simple' And Solid

    By Thomas Boswell
    Friday, August 21, 2009

    Last week, as the Stephen Strasburg negotiations were reaching a peak, agent Scott Boras interrupted a long tirade about how dysfunctional the Nationals were. Suddenly, he wanted to identify one person out of the entire organization to praise.

    Mike Rizzo knows his stuff, said Boras, or close enough to that. The Nats, however, probably wouldn't hire him as their general manager because he wasn't slick enough, articulate enough in TV interviews. Rizzo was too blunt, too honest and not afraid to tell you just what he thought, including what you didn't want to hear.

    The Nats would hire some young gun who had never played the pro game, but had an Ivy League degree and could quote stats. As for Rizzo, who'd beaten the bushes for 11 years as an area scout and put 26 years into every corner of the game until he had a gut for evaluating talent, the Nats would bypass him for sure. But, someday, some team a lot smarter than the Nats would pick Rizzo to run their ship.

    Just a few days later, on Monday night, Boras and Rizzo -- two failed minor leaguers with set jaws and tight lips, two men who never let anybody outwork them, two sawed-off guys who look like it costs them $20 to crack a grin and they're flat broke -- started screaming curses at each other, calling each other every baseball-brawl epithet.

    Good, good, the negotiating was finally getting down to business. With 77 seconds left before the deadline, Rizzo closed a deal with Boras for a $15.1 million deal that was almost 50 percent higher than any given before to an amateur player. But was at least $5 million less than Boras hoped he'd get.

    The deal showed all the best of Rizzo, who was officially named the Nats' general manager -- no more "interim" -- on Thursday. Through endless back channels, cross-checking and player evaluations, Rizzo had figured out Boras's hole card. Strasburg wanted to sign by midnight and follow his dream to play baseball, not fight over money. So, every Boras demand, beyond a reasonable Nats offer, would be a bluff.

    Did Boras know that Rizzo knew? Is that what he really means by "knows his stuff"?

    Minutes after Strasburg signed, Rizzo said, quietly: "The key was that we believed that the player wanted to play. We evaluated that correctly."

    The Nats' official version is that Rizzo had the GM job locked up irrespective of how the Strasburg negotiations ended. Really? There sure was a lot of gratitude on Thursday. "Let's just say Mike bailed me out on Monday," President Stan Kasten said.

    So now Rizzo, who replaced disgraced former GM Jim Bowden on March 1 and took over a franchise in every kind of turmoil, is one of the hotter properties in baseball. Rebuild a shattered bullpen so it's passable? Check. Fire Manny Acta (26-61) as manager and hire Jim Riggleman (17-17), who grew up in Rockville? All done. Steal center fielder Nyjer Morgan (hitting .362 with 22 steals in 44 games with the Nats) and reliever Sean Burnett in a trade for Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan? Done. Trade Nick Johnson and Joe Beimel for prospects, opening up first base for Adam Dunn, who may soon play it better than he ever did left field? That too. Pick Drew Storen from Stanford, who's tearing up the minors, with the 10th overall choice in the draft? Nice going.

    There's probably more, like the rebuilding of the Nats' Dominican operation. But that certainly seems like it ought to be enough to get "interim" off your name.

    At one level, Rizzo is easy to grasp. He considers "simple" a compliment. "My father is a simple man," he says of his 79-year-old dad who was a truck-driving foreman in Chicago and part-time scout, then in retirement a full-time scout. His 102-year-old grandfather, who is "tougher than all of us," worked on the railroads and the docks.

    This is the uncomplicated Rizzo who says his father gave him only one life-evaluation speech at a kitchen-table sit down when he was 25: "You can be a minor league bum your whole life. You'll never make the majors. Or you can be a good baseball guy -- a scout, a coach, a farm director or ultimately a general manager."

    Ultimately, as in the ultimate.

    "My dad only gave me one piece of information for this [front-office] job. 'Don't lie,' " said Rizzo, adding later, "Sometimes that has gotten me into trouble."

    Without doubt, the easy-to-grasp Rizzo who hates public speaking but loosens up instantly in any relaxed baseball setting is the genuine one. "I tell our area scouts, 'You better like yourself because you're with yourself all the time,' " he says. "All those years, I woke up in the morning and said, "I'm going to beat somebody today.' If I had to drive the extra 200 miles, I'd do it."

    On one trip, he discovered slugger Frank Thomas. Who were his other prizes? "Remember Bob Wickman?" he says. Area scout: cheap motels and slim pickings.

    However, there is another Rizzo who's harder to spot. It's easy to miss him. He'd make a great spy. He watches you. You don't notice him. Like any good baseball guy, he lives the game at the level of infinitely observed detail. No quirk of technique or personality is missed. Ask for a speech and he can't give it. But he can distill a player you've watched for years in a blink. "Love him. But he's getting old fast." Traded. "I can lose without jerks." Sent to AAA. "A fine athlete, not a good baseball player." Gone, too.

    It's easy to misjudge him, too, because he is friendly -- right up until he isn't. When Milledge, after being sent to the minors, showed up late for his own finger surgery, Rizzo got him and his agent on the phone and read Milledge the riot act about his wasted talent and how far his stock had fallen in the game. "I don't think anybody had ever talked to him like that," Rizzo said at the time. "He's a good kid. I hope it helped him."

    Then he traded Milledge to the baseball equivalent of Bulgaria -- Pittsburgh -- for Morgan, who is everything Milledge wasn't. The new Nats center fielder is a 29-year-old who'd never been coddled, wanted desperately to show his ability and had a perfect "80" score in "makeup" -- scout talk for attitude, work ethic, intelligence and being a good teammate.

    Morgan represents much of what Rizzo values: speed, defense up the middle, instincts as a baseball player rather than an accumulation of physical tools. And that indefinable "high character" that comes in so many different personality packages but which scouts must recognize to survive.

    Yes, scouting, for that is Rizzo's deep root system. For the last decade, baseball has had a debate between those baseball lifers with an eye for the game -- like Rizzo's dad and Boras -- and the younger, polished, generally more educated "Moneyball" types.

    "I'm a hybrid," says Rizzo, who then does his ode-to-Sabermetrics riff about the value of knowing Value Over Replacement Player and WHIP. "My dad still doesn't buy it. But there's a place for it. Why not use all the tools?"

    Then Mike Rizzo puts his hand over his mouth like he's about to tell you a secret. Remember, this is a man who thinks that it's nothing to drive the extra 200 miles, or figure out a 21-year-old's personality, then bet his team's future on it.

    "Besides," he whispers, "it's not that tough."
    “In the same way that a baseball season never really begins, it never really ends either.” - Lonnie Wheeler, "Bleachers, A Summer in Wrigley Field"

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