The Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association has named Washington Nationals General Manage Mike Rizzo the 2012 MLB Executive of the Year. It would be quite difficult to justify any other choice. The Mike Rizzo built roster has developed over the past few seasons based on a youth build model, building from within, supplemented by key free agent signings. The Washington Nationals improved from 82-82 in 2011 to 98-64 in 2012. The 98-64 record was the best record in Franchise history and the Nationals won the National League East division title for the first time in franchise history. The Nationals appearance in the playoffs was the first by a Washington baseball club since 1933.
Rizzo’s 2012 Nationals led MLB in victories (98) and run differential (+137) en route to ending D.C.’s 79-year postseason drought. Four Nationals players earned All-Star status, three won Louisville Slugger Silver Sluggers and another won a Rawlings Gold Glove. Upon entering the postseason fray, Rizzo had a hand in acquiring 21 of the 25 players on Washington’s NLDS roster.
Rizzo’s commitment to scouting and player development yielded the talent required to obtain hard-throwing lefthander Gio Gonzalez from Oakland in a six-player deal that included a quartet of home-grown prospects. Gonzalez subsequently signed a contract extension that runs through at least 2016 (club options ‘17 and ‘18) en route to leading MLB with 21 wins and finishing third in NL Cy Young voting.
n November of 2009, Rizzo convinced Davey Johnson, one of the game’s iconic minds, to sign on as Senior Advisor and help revamp the Nationals’ on-field operation. Little more than 18 months later, in June of 2011, Rizzo appointed him field manager. Last week, Johnson was named NL Manager of the Year by the BBWAA after completing his first full season at the Nationals’ managerial helm.