07/24/2006 3:49 PM ET
Nationals name Mike Rizzo Assistant GM and Vice President of Baseball Operations
Former Diamondbacks scouting executive laid foundation of talent that resulted in organization's No. 1 ranking per Baseball America
The Washington Nationals today appointed Mike Rizzo as Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations. Nationals Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the announcement.
"Under new ownership and the leadership of Stan Kasten, I have been given the approval and resources to hire the best and brightest the baseball industry has to offer, and today's hiring of Mike Rizzo exemplifies this," said Bowden. "We could not be more pleased to add Mike to the Nationals' family. His track record in Arizona is well known and respected throughout baseball."
Rizzo, 45, joins the Nationals after spending the previous seven seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, primarily as Director of Scouting. Following the 2005 campaign, when eight Diamondback players were honored with individual awards and/or designations to their leagues' All-Star teams, Rizzo was promoted, earning the title of Vice President of Scouting Operations after the Diamondbacks were named Topps' Organization of the Year.
Upon being named Arizona's Director of Scouting, the Diamondbacks' minor-league system ranked 29th in baseball according to Baseball America. Five highly successful drafts and a few hundred thousand miles traveled later, Arizona's system was ranked No. 1 in baseball by the same publication entering the 2006 season.
Brandon Webb (Baseball America's 2003 NL Rookie of the Year, 2006 NL All-Star), Chad Tracy (.308 batting average ranked seventh in NL in batting last season while hitting 27 home runs), Justin Upton (first overall pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft) and Stephen Drew (recently promoted first-round selection in 2004 First-Year Player Draft) are among the numerous players drafted by Arizona under Rizzo's watch.
Rizzo, who is in his 24th season of pro ball, joined the Diamondbacks for their inaugural 1998 campaign after enjoying stints with the Boston Red Sox (area supervisor, international scout and major league advance scout) and Chicago White Sox (Midwest and Southeast territorial scout). While with the White Sox, Rizzo inked future two-time American League MVP Frank Thomas. Raised in Chicago, IL, Rizzo spent four seasons as a minor league player in the Angels organization before retiring and beginning a coaching career at the University of Illinois, were he served as an assistant coach while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.
Rizzo joins fellow Nationals assistant general managers Tony Siegle and Bob Boone working for Jim Bowden to ensure the future success of the Washington Nationals.