Kasten happy Rizzo received extension

Former Nationals president Stan Kasten was happy to learn that the club promoted general manager Mike Rizzo to executive vice president of baseball operations and gave him a five-year extension. 

The Nationals started talking to Rizzo about an extension after Kasten resigned from his role as president of the club.

When reached by phone, Kasten said the Nationals giving Rizzo the extension is an important demonstration of stability for the franchise.

“It’s something every successful franchise needs,” Kasten said via telephone. “It a great step for the franchise and also a great indication to the fans about how serious the organization is about building long-term success.” 

It was Kasten who lured Rizzo away from the D-Backs in 2006 to become the Nationals’ director of scouting. For the next two-plus seasons, Kasten groomed Rizzo for his future role.

Rizzo would be named interim GM in March of 2009 and received full-time status a few months later.         
                                 
“Mike has a real gift for examining players and being able to tell which players are going to be successful and the ones who are not. It’s not a perfect science, obviously,” Kasten said.  “It was very clear he wanted to be a GM. He was preparing for it while he was a scouting director — learning everything he could.

“He asked good questions to the best people in the business, With addition to having all the skills to being a scout, he also did other things that he could to become a GM.”

Since becoming the GM, the Nationals are loaded with young pitchers — including 2009 No. 1 overall Draft pick Stephen Strasburg, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery — who are expected to make an impact in the big leagues very soon.

The team also has its share of sluggers in the system including Bryce Harper who is expected to be in the big leagues in two years.

“In the last two years, we’ve seen, I think, all of the good things that Mike has been able to do. And I think you could look forward to even more of that now and going forward,” Kasten said.            

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