Stan Kasten and Mike Rizzo met with the media this morning to announce that Rizzo will be taking on responsibility for the major-league team until a permanent GM is named. Effectively, he retains his assistant GM title, but will take on responsibilites akin to those of a GM. Kasten said the Nationals sent out an e-mail to the other 29 clubs letting them know to contact Rizzo with trade proposals about the major-league club. He stayed away from giving Rizzo the interim GM title because, he said, he doesn’t like interim titles in general and prefers to keep a sense of stability in the front office for a while.
Essentially, the news jives with everything we’ve been hearing the last few days—that Kasten is leaning toward a wider search. Executives around baseball still expect Rizzo to land the job, but Kasten has received plenty of phone calls from interested potential candidates, like Rays assistant GM Gerry Hunsicker and Rangers senior adviser John Hart, according to multiple sources.
Assistant general manager Bob Boone will retain his role overseeing the minor-league operation, and scouting director Dana Brown will continue in his current role. Kasten said he expects to be more involved in baseball operations.
“Mike is a guy that I have a lot of confidence in,” Kasten said. “At some point, I have to do a search, and a search will progress. But I don’t feel any rush at all. There’s no particular urgency or timetable for that.”
Rizzo said his goal is to be a major-league GM, and though it’s not tantamount to an audition, he will get a chance to lay the groundwork for a full-time job, whether it’s with the Nationals or another team.
When asked if Rizzo will have the authority to make trades, Kasten said, “I think most people in the organization and the ownership look to me for final decisions like that. I don’t know how to answer that in a vacuum. All GMs report to their presidents and boards, especially for large-size things. I’m sure that’s going to continue. We’ve made trades in the past. We’ll be able to make them in the future.”