Rizzo has largest achievement to date
Assistant GM helps move baseball academy in three days
JUPITER, Fla. -- Nationals assistant general manager Mike Rizzo has accomplished much during his 27 years in baseball.
As a White Sox scout, Rizzo signed first baseman Frank Thomas to his first professional contract. Thomas had a 19-year career in the big leagues and hit 521 home runs.
But Rizzo thinks he may have just reached his biggest accomplishment to date. He had the task of moving the Nationals' baseball academy from Jose Rijo's complex to a facility built by Rawlings, the glove manufacturer, in Boca Chica. At the direction of team president Stan Kasten, the move had to be done in three days, and Rizzo and his staff were able to pull it off.
The team left Rijo's facility after reports surfaced linking Rijo to Carlos Alvarez David Lugo, who previously called himself Esmailyn Gonzalez. The shortstop, who received a $1.4 million signing bonus from the Nationals in 2006, allegedly falsified his name and age. In Washington's 2008 media guide, Lugo is listed as 19 but is really 23.
"It doesn't compare to anything I've ever done," said Rizzo when asked to access the move. "I said, 'Do you believe what just happened?' We had a plan going in."
The quick move has given Rizzo an even higher profile in baseball circles. It's not a secret he wants to be a general manager some day.
"I don't want to comment on my profile," Rizzo said Saturday morning. "I'm part of the Washington Nationals organization. We sink and swing together. I'm happy where I'm at in my career. At this time, we have to be about we instead of me."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.