Ranking the NL East: General Managers

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October 6, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo before game three of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

1. Washington Nationals – Mike Rizzo

Mike Rizzo has been with the Nationals in some capacity since 2006. He started as an assistant general manager and Vice President of Baseball Operations before replacing Jim Bowden as the fulltime GM in 2009, an interim move that was made permanent a year later.

The most noticeable thing, and the one point that must be highlighted to justify Mike Rizzo’s ranking at the top of the NL East, is what has become of the Nationals since he’s taken over. Since that year, the Nationals have gone from losing over 100 games and being last in the division to winning two NL East titles. Rizzo, more than anyone else, has managed to make the team from DC relevant nationwide.

Obviously, having a few top picks helps that, but it should be noted that Rizzo has managed to draft well. Strasburg and Harper are both well known, but there’s also guys like Anthony Rendon and Lucas Giolito, ranked the best young right handed pitcher by MLB.com.

Rizzo is also no slouch when it comes to deal making. He acquired Doug Fister from the Tigers and Tanner Roark from the Rangers in trades, and his creative handling of Max Scherzer’s deal will allow the team some flexibility moving forward. His acquisition of Trea Turner means that Nationals won’t be desperate for a shortstop if Ian Desmond leaves. In short, Rizzo is always two moves ahead when it comes to maintaining the talent pool.

I understand that Rizzo has yet to win a championship like Amaro or Alderson, but Rizzo’s importance to the Nationals cannot be understated. He’s single-handedly pulled them from the bottom of the league to World Series favorites, and that is no small feat.

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