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Nationals reward Rizzo with extension, promotion

Team adds president of baseball operations to general manager's title

DETROIT -- The Nationals announced Thursday night that Mike Rizzo has signed a long-term contract with the team and has been promoted to the position of president of baseball operations and general manager. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rizzo, who has been Washington's GM since 2009, has turned the Nationals into one of the best teams in Major League Baseball. Under his leadership, the Nats won their first division title in 2012, going 98-64. His Draft expertise is one of the reasons Washington was among the game's elite clubs entering the 2013 season. Of the players on last year's team the entire season, seven were drafted by Rizzo, including outfielder Bryce Harper and right-hander Stephen Strasburg.

Rizzo was named 2012 Executive of the Year by the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America and Hit Club of Chicago.

"Upon purchasing the Nationals, Mike Rizzo was our first hire and he has performed brilliantly," managing principal owner Ted Lerner said in a statement. "We started with an idea about how baseball teams should be built and he translated it into a reality far faster than many could have imagined. He knows the game, the players, and is a true professional. Under his direct leadership, the Nationals have become one of the most exciting and respected young teams in baseball."

In a statement, Rizzo said the Lerner family has giving him nothing but support.

"I am truly proud to be a part of the Washington Nationals and excited to be able to continue what we've started here," Rizzo said. "The task of building this club from nearly expansion level -- at both the Minor and Major League level -- has been challenging, but the Lerner family has been nothing but supportive. We've made significant progress toward our goal of competing for a World Series championship, and I intend to do everything in my power to one day hand that trophy to Mr. Lerner at Nationals Park. We've still got work to do, but I am pleased that ownership trusts me to get it done."

Last April, the Nationals picked up Rizzo's option for 2014, and he had an option for '15. Rizzo and the Lerner family had been working on a contract extension since then. In the 2010 offseason, Rizzo signed a three-year extension with two one-year options.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.
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