Despite speculation that spread throughout baseball circles that the Washington Nationals were planning to make a front-office change, interim general manager Mike Rizzo has been given the job on a permanent basis.
Published reports out of Washington on Wednesday night say that the club will announce Rizzo's appointment at a news conference Thursday, putting to rest the assertion by multiple baseball executives that Arizona Diamondbacks vice president Jerry DiPoto was on the verge of getting the job.
Rizzo, who was the first key hire by the Lerner family when they took over the Nationals in 2006, apparently cemented his position when he brought negotiations with top draft pick Stephen Strasburg(notes) to a successful close, signing him to a $15.1 million deal just before Monday's deadline.
Rizzo earlier this season also replaced manager Manny Acta with interim manager Jim Riggleman, who has guided the club to a 17-15 record since, and made a trade for outfielder Nyjer Morgan(notes), who was batting .365 in his first 42 games since his acquisition from Pittsburgh.
The possibility that Rizzo might be replaced was puzzling to his supporters, who pointed to the changes he had made, as well as the Strasburg signing, as evidence that he deserved to keep the job. Even so, speculation had run rampant in recent days that team president Stan Kasten was planning to name DiPoto to the position.