Rizzo gets three-year extension to remain GM through 2023

As always, the Lerner family made Mike Rizzo wait. And as always, the Nationals owners ultimately kept their commitment to the man who built their baseball organization from laughingstock to World Series champion.

The Nationals announced a contract extension with Rizzo today, locking up their president of baseball operations and general manager only a month before his current deal was set to expire. Terms were not publicly disclosed, but a source confirmed it is for three years, keeping Rizzo under contract through the 2023 season.

Thumbnail image for Rizzo-Kisses-WS-Trophy-UM.jpg"We are thrilled that Mike will continue to lead our club," managing principal owner Mark Lerner said in a statement. "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."

Rizzo, whose most recent contract made him among the highest-paid GMs in the sport at $4 million per year, is scheduled to speak to reporters Sunday, according to a club spokesperson.

Manager Davey Martinez, during his pregame Zoom session with reporters from Atlanta, said he spoke to his boss this morning and learned the news.

"I was ecstatic for Mike and his family," Martinez said. "It's great news. We have an unbelievable working relationship together, and we've bonded over the years. I'm so elated for him. He deserves it. He built this organization. Good for him."

Named interim GM in March 2009 after Jim Bowden resigned, Rizzo was promoted to the full-time position that August after inking top draft pick Stephen Strasburg to a record-setting deal. Since then, he has signed four extensions, in each case agreeing to his new contract during what technically was a lame-duck season.

In reality, Rizzo's standing within the organization has never been in serious doubt. Though he and members of the ownership family have butted heads at times over baseball and financial decisions, they have built a strong working relationship in which trust goes both directions. As much as the Lerner family prefers to wait until the 11th hour to negotiate with their top employees, there has never been legitimate reason to question the group's loyalty to its longtime GM.

As managers and players have come and gone over the last decade, Rizzo has remained one of the few constants in the Nationals organization. The 59-year-old former scout inherited a team coming off a 102-loss season and had to suffer through three more losing seasons before finally turning the corner with the club's first division title in 2012.

Since then, the Nationals have enjoyed eight consecutive winning seasons, four National League East crowns and the 2019 World Series championship. Only the Yankees (27), Cardinals (12) and Dodgers (9) currently own longer consecutive winning-season streaks.

The Nats, who have been ravaged by injuries, roster departures and underperforming veterans during this abridged season, enter play tonight 13-24 and would need to go 18-5 the rest of the way to extend their streak to nine winning seasons.

With Rizzo now locked up, the Nationals should be turning their attention next to Martinez, whose status beyond this season has not yet been assured. The club holds a $1.2 million option for 2021 on their manager, who is seeking to become the team's first to survive three full seasons.

"I know they're going to do the right thing. I do believe that," Martinez said. "I have a good relationship with the Lerner family. They know how I feel about being here. I love it. I wouldn't want to go anywhere else. With that being said, Mike getting his deal could possibly open up the doors here fairly soon. But today's about Mike and us going out there today and going 1-0 today. That's my focus right now."

Game 38 lineups: Nats at Braves (Kieboom recalled)
Nationals agree to terms with Mike Rizzo
 

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