Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who was given a five-year extension and added executive vice president of baseball operations to his title today, is scheduled to discuss the promotion with the media at 2 p.m.
I'll post some highlights of the press conference here, and update this post throughout the afternoon.
--Rizzo: "I'm very pleased with the decision the Lerner family made. I'd like to thank the Lerner family and the Washington Nationals organization to give me this opportunity. For a guy who loves baseball and grew up in it his whole life, this is a dream opportunity for me to kind of hone in on a franchise and build it the way I see fit."
--Rizzo will report directly to the Nationals' ownership group.
--Talks began on the promotion toward the end of the season, Rizzo said; the Nationals wanted to make this a "seamless" transition from Rizzo working under Kasten to reporting directly to ownership.
--Asked about what he's most proud of since taking over in 2009, Rizzo said, "I think if I had to put my finger on one thing, it would be the assemblance of the front office as we see it today, with the emphasis on getting the best and the brightest front office scouting and player development types that we can. It's paid dividends currently, but it's really going to pay dividends down the road. This organizations going to be built on scouting and player development, and that doesn't happen without a core of scouts, assistant GMs, scouting directors and the like."
--On whether there will be any further changes to the front office, along the lines of the makeover the Nationals' baseball operations department got last year, Rizzo said, "We're at a time now of the calendar season where you make some changes in the scouting and player development side and the front office, I don't see any major changes that are going to occur. We are going to go after the best and brightest, but as I sit and say there are going to be no major changes, if we see somebody that's an All-Star out there, we'll go after them. But as I said right now, we have consistency and a coherent operation."
--On how his relationship with ownership will change: "We've always had a good honest relationship. It's certainly much closer now, having direct contact with the ownership on a consistent basis, think we have a relationship that the baseball people recommend and suggest my views on the baseball franchise and how I see it being built. We have some lively debates, and my decisions are the foundations of that. I've had great support and we've had some great communication since this started. I only see the trust between us getting stronger."