(Photo of TV by Nationals Enquirer Staff. Thanks for everything, Mike, now here's your pink slip.)
"I am no help on the GM subject."
(Stan Kasten, via Yahoo Sports, 8/19/2009)
Fire Mike Rizzo? What?
Just when you thought it was safe to remove "Acting" from Mike Rizzo's job title...the Nats are about to remove Mike Rizzo from the job?
Multiple sources insisted Tuesday that the Nationals are on the verge of announcing that Arizona Diamondbacks vice president Jerry DiPoto is about to be named Nationals GM, replacing Rizzo, who has been interim GM since replacing Jim Bowden earlier this season.
"It could happen in the next 24 hours," insisted one major league executive who said he had it on good authority that DiPoto, the former reliever who has overseen Arizona’s pro scouting the last four years, will be hired by Nationals president Stan Kasten.
What else does Mike need to do?
He's been under the microscope of a seven-month job interview, handed a mop and told to clean up Jim Bowden's mess. It really started with his key role in the organization's slash-and-burn and relocation of the entire Dominican operation back in February on the heels of the the Rijo/Smiley Fiasco; he capped it off in his role as lead negotiator in the Strasburg Highwire act.
He stepped into a maelstrom, with limited authority, and has slowly but surely managed to right the ship.
Our biggest quibbles haven't been with the moves he's made (although, for the record, we're still barely lukewarm on the Milledge/Hanrahan for Morgan/Burnett deal), but the moves he hasn't made: failing to deal Willingham and waiting too long to deal Nick Johnson before the trade deadline; holding onto Guzman after floating him through waivers; botching a chance to cut ties with Kearns AND save 3.4 million in the process after AK cleared waivers and was claimed.
Boz captured this snapshot of the Strasburg negotiations, Rizzo going toe to toe with Satan himself:
"Wow," murmured Rizzo in disbelief, fresh from days of negotiations, including a shouting match between him and Boras filled with words that always get you ejected. Kasten simply listened to that one in awe: "A classic confrontation. I felt like a proud papa."
Sounds like a ringing endorsement from Proud Papa Kasten. Chico Harlan noted early this morning that a move for DiPoto would come as a shock to current Nats FO employees:
If DiPoto obtains the job, it would shock many employees in Washington's current front office, many of whom had assumed that Rizzo's performance in recent weeks -- especially with Strasburg -- would all but guarantee him the job. Kasten, after the Strasburg negotiations were completed, joked with Rizzo that he had just dispensed the largest sum of money in amateur history. "That's going to look great on your resume," Kasten said in jest.
So what happened, Stan? It doesn't add up.