- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 14, 2016

General manager and president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo will be sticking around.

The Washington Nationals picked up the two-year option on Rizzo, keeping him under contract through 2018, the team announced Saturday night.

“We are pleased with the job Mike has done over the past nine years,” Nationals owner Ted Lerner said in a statement. “He and the baseball operations team have worked tirelessly to help build this organization into one of Major League Baseball’s elite clubs. We are fortunate to have him.”

Rizzo was promoted to Nationals general manager in 2009 after the Arizona Diamondbacks chose to hire Josh Byrnes to be general manager. The Nationals have averaged 82 wins per season since, and have been to the playoffs twice, which is the same number of times Byrnes has been fired in that timespan (first by Arizona, then by San Diego).

Rizzo, 55, first joined the Nationals as assistant general manager/vice president of baseball operations in 2006, working under general manager Jim Bowden. He has helped create one of baseball’s better teams since 2012. He has also reconstructed the Nationals’ farm system, which is currently ranked fifth in baseball entering the 2016 season, according to Baseball America.

The deadline to pick up the option on Rizzo’s contract was June 15.

“I am honored by the Lerner family’s continued faith and confidence in me and am thrilled to be remaining with the Washington Nationals organization,” Rizzo said in a statement. “While I am proud of the work we have accomplished, we still must achieve the ultimate goal of bringing a World Series Championship back to Washington.”

The Nationals finished Saturday in first place in the National League East.

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