Following the most successful season in Nationals franchise history, which resulted in a first World Series title, president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo has been named Baseball America’s Executive of the Year.
The 2019 campaign was Rizzo’s 11th as head of baseball operations with the Nats and 14th overall with the organization. He has 36 seasons of professional baseball experience.
Since 2012, the Nats have posted a .562 winning percentage (730-566), the second-best record in Major League Baseball during that span, having earned five playoff appearances, including four National League East titles.
This past season Rizzo, 58, made the necessary alterations to help provide manager Davey Martinez the roster tools to help turn around an 19-31 start.
The Nats surged and eventually earned a National League wild card berth, winning 12 games in October, including a 4-3 comeback World Series victory over the 2017 champion Houston Astros. The Nats have played .527 baseball since Rizzo took over as general manager at the start of the 2009 season.
Following an 82-80 season in 2018, Rizzo made 11 changes to improve the club and add depth to the roster.
The biggest offseason move was signing left-hander Patrick Corbin. Rizzo also shored up the starting rotation with another veteran in right-hander Aníbal Sánchez. At the catching position, Rizzo picked up veterans Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki. He also re-signed first baseman Matt Adams and signed second baseman Brian Dozier.
During the season, Rizzo added pitchers Daniel Hudson, Roenis Elías, Hunter Strickland, Javy Guerra and Fernando Rodney. Veteran outfielder Gerardo Parra and infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera also were picked up to add pop to the Nats lineup and fill important depth on defense.
“Mike was our first hire when the Lerner family was awarded ownership of the Nationals in 2006. We knew then, what the rest of the baseball community knows now, that he has an unparalleled commitment to winning and is one of the savviest baseball minds in the game,” said managing principal owner Mark Lerner in a team-issued release. “On behalf of the entire Nationals family, congratulations to Mike for winning this tremendous award.”
Rizzo has worked closely and tirelessly with vice president of player personnel Doug Harris, vice president of scouting operations Kris Kline, vice president and assistant general manager of finance Ted Towne and director of player development Mark Scialabba to revamp, replenish and fortify the club’s minor league system over the years.
He also has put together an analytics department that is able to work well with coordinators, coaches, players and scouts to provide a unified system that is useful and critical to the growth at every level of the organization. Assistant General Manager Samuel Mondry-Cohen works closely with Rizzo in building the Nats research and development department.
Rizzo was previously named the 2012 MLB Executive of the Year by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.