The Washington Nationals have locked up the architect of their 2019 World Series championship team for three more years.
According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, general manager Mike Rizzo agreed to a three-year extension with the ballclub on Saturday. Rizzo’s contract was set to expire following the 2020 season.
The extension is for three years, sources say. https://t.co/DTbcGaBec7— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 5, 2020
The Nationals have since issued a news release confirming the new deal:
The Washington Nationals have agreed to a multi-year contract extension with President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo.
Rizzo, 59, was rewarded with this contract after serving as the architect of the Washington Nationals 2019 World Series Championship. Under Rizzo’s leadership, the Nationals have transformed into one of Major League Baseball’s perennially elite clubs, winning a World Series in 2019, earning four National League East titles (2012, 2014, 2016, 2017) and one Wild Card berth (2019) in the last eight seasons.
“We are thrilled that Mike will continue to lead our club,” said Washington National’s Managing Principal Owner Mark D. Lerner. “He guided us through the early years of building this franchise into what it is today — a perennial contender that brought a World Series Championship home to Washington, D.C. last season. I look forward to continuing our strong working relationship for years to come.”
For his efforts in leading the Nationals in 2019, Rizzo was named Executive of the Year by both Baseball America and the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The last three years will ultimately define Rizzo’s time as Nationals’ general manager.
After years of falling short of expectations and disappointing postseason exits, Rizzo entered the 2017 offseason with an uncertain future. That winter, he fired manager Dusty Baker and replaced him with Davey Martinez.
The move bought Rizzo more time. On opening day in 2018, he signed a three-year extension that figured to be his last in Washington if the team didn't take a meaningful step forward.
Then came the disappointment of a mediocre 82-80 season, followed by the failed bid to re-sign Bryce Harper. Washington’s 19-31 start in 2019 looked like the beginning of the end for Rizzo, but we all know now how that story ended. Washington rallied down the stretch and finally broke through in October to secure the franchise’s first World Series title.
Rizzo’s role in putting that all together can’t be overlooked. He was part of the drafting process when Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner were brought on board. He oversaw the scouting department that helped them land international free agents like Juan Soto and Victor Robles. And he signed Max Scherzer to one of the best free-agent contracts ever signed by a pitcher.
All of those players made up the core of Washington’s championship team.
While the Nationals have taken a clear step back in 2020 — they enter Saturday at 13-24 — Rizzo has earned enough trust to oversee the next phase in Washington’s development and has earned the opportunity to cement his legacy as a baseball executive.
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