|USA Today Sports Images|
By Mark Zuckerman
One day after Mike Rizzo displayed a show of confidence in his struggling team, electing not to make any changes at the July 31 trade deadline, Nationals ownership decided to display its own show of confidence in its general manager.
The Nationals announced Thursday night Rizzo has signed a long-term contract, with a promotion included. Rizzo now becomes the club's president of baseball operations in addition to GM.
Upon purchasing the Nationals, Mike Rizzo was our first hire and he has performed brilliantly," managing principal owner Ted Lerner said in a statement released by the team. "We started with an idea about how baseball teams should be built, and he translated it into a reality far faster than many could have imagined. He knows the game, the players and is a true professional. Under his direct leadership, the Nationals have become one of the most exciting and respected young teams in baseball."
Rizzo, who initially was hired by the Nationals in July 2006 to serve as assistant GM under Jim Bowden, took over top duties in 2009 after Bowden resigned, inheriting a franchise coming off a 102-loss season and with a barren farm system. Three years later, Rizzo helped build a 98-win division champion, one built largely through the draft and several trades for young players with long-term club control.