WASHINGTON — According to a report from a reliable source, the Arizona Diamondbacks may soon be making an offer to the Washington Nationals for general manager Mike Rizzo.
MLB insider Jim Bowden reported on ESPN that “sources close to Diamondbacks ownership” have tabbed Rizzo as the team’s top choice to fill the vacant President of Baseball Operations position.
This is a role that not all teams have and can mean different things for the teams that do. While some work in an advisory role between the team’s general manager and ownership, others have the final say on roster moves and decisions made throughout the organization.
According to Bowden, the Diamondbacks are waiting for the Nationals postseason run to conclude before asking permission to interview Rizzo. Per Bowden:
I asked Rizzo about it before the game and he said “I’m focused on winning this series and nothing else.” Out of respect to him I didn’t push the issue.
Rizzo has a long history with the Diamondbacks, dating back to the team’s creation in 1998. Between 2000 and 2006, he served as the franchise’s Director of Scouting before interviewing to succeed general manager Joe Garagiola.
When he was passed over, he joined Bowden in the Nationals’ front office as the team’s Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations. After Bowden resigned in 2009, team President Stan Kasten tabbed him as the replacement, officially the Senior Vice President and General Manager.
In 2010, he was promoted to Executive Vice President and General Manager while signing an extension. Three years later, he was promoted to President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, presumably the same title that the Diamondbacks would be offering.
Rizzo has two years remaining on his current contract after Nationals ownership picked up those option years earlier this season. It is unclear if he would be interested in leaving the Nationals in a lateral move, or if ownership would be willing to let him leave, presumably in exchange for player or cash compensation.
Typically, teams are encouraged to let coaches and front office personnel interview for jobs that would be considered a promotion from their current position. Since this is a lateral move, the Nationals could elect to simply decline giving Rizzo and the Diamondbacks permission to interview.