August 19, 2009

Thanks For Strasburg, Now Beat It

If this report is accurate, gratitude ain't what it used to be. That said, whether Mike Rizzo has earned the Washington Nationals GM job is open to debate, and this quote is pretty silly:

“If they let Mike go now, they really will have some explaining to do,” one Rizzo loyalist said Tuesday. “He changed the face of the club, got some of the bad apples out.”

Why exactly would they have some explaining to do? Mike Rizzo signed players, executed trades, negotiated contracts... pretty much what you'd expect a GM, interim or otherwise, to do. As for changing the face of the club, Morgan and Burnett in, Johnson, Milledge, Hanrahan, Beimel and Hernandez out is less like a facelift than like buying a new shade of lipstick.

Rizzo got a middling at best return for Nick Johnson, and may have sold short on Milledge at the nadir of his value. He didn't shed the Kearns or Guzman contracts, despite having opportunities to do so. Yes the Nats signed Strasburg, but they didn't stretch to sign any talent in the lower rounds. The international scouting and player development operations are still underwhelming. Is it unfair to saddle Mike Rizzo for responsibilty for all of this? Perhaps, but it comes with the job of major league general manager.

A competent GM may look like a revelation to the Nats, but competence is a baseline, not an aspirational goal.

(h/t MLB Trade Rumors)

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