What the Washington Nationals were in dire need of a couple of weeks ago was stability.
I think they found it when Nats President Stan Kasten named Mike Rizzo to fill Jim Bowden’s VP and GM chair as the acting general manager.
I hadn’t spoken with Mike since his new appointment, so I gave him a call this morning and the first thing I noticed was how excited he was about the potential of this year’s ballclub.
It was another beautiful day in the Sunshine State where I grew up, with temps in the low 80’s. I could hear the crack of the bat during BP as Mike and I talked about his young starting pitchers, the bullpen and a roster full of players eager to show Washington and the rest of the National League that this team should be and will be taken seriously.
No question, Mike Rizzo has paid his dues. Seven years with the Arizona Diamondbacks got the attention of a lot of ballclubs, and why not? Rizzo signed Justin Upton, Brandon Webb and Stephen Drew, just to mention a few, who have emerged as big leagues stars in just a few short years.
Mike and Stan are both on the same page; they both want to win and win now. Mike’s one goal has always been to be a Major League GM. Finally he’s got that golden opportunity, and I get the feeling he’s going to make the most of it.
There will most likely be some moves that need to be made. The outfield has an abundance of players, not to mention a log jam at first, and a hefty payroll to boot, at something in the neighborhood of 18 million spread out among Nick, Dimitri, and Adam.
Mike told me he loves the attitude, the work ethic and the positive vibes he is getting from everyone in Viera and can’t wait to get back to DC and get rolling with the 2009 season.
Mike Rizzo knows the game inside and out and once upon a time, he even had his sights set on a big league career. He did climb the ladder to Triple A, but that was it. I like Mike’s chances to show Stan Kasten that he is the man for the GM job...on a permanent basis.