General manager Mike Rizzo doesn’t see any issue with how the Nationals handle the business of baseball even if others in the organization feel otherwise.
Rizzo spoke ahead of Friday’s series opener against Texas and one day after the Washington Post anonymously quoted a “key member” of the Nationals organization casting doubt on the spending decisions of Washington’s ownership group.
“The fact that anonymous sources say certain things about how we handle things couldn’t be farther from the truth,” Rizzo stated. “We’re an organization that does business the way we do it. It’s been successful for many, many years. Probably as successful as any team in Major League Baseball.”
Manager Dusty Baker’s expiring contract is among the potential distractions for the first place Nationals. Baker signed a two-year contract in 2016.
“It’s not going to be an issue. We’re not going to let it be an issue,” Rizzo said.
Washington, owned by the Lerner family, won the NL East division title in 2016 for the third time in five seasons. However, the Nationals have failed to win a playoff series since moving from Montreal in 2005.
The Nationals enter Friday with an NL-best 38-21 record. Despite a hefty divisional lead, concerns about a suspect bullpen remain.
The Post source described the owners as "the problem" in relation to not addressing the relief pitching. "The owners just don’t get it.”
Baker, the fourth full-time manager for Washington since 2011, recently told the Washington Post of his desire is to continue managing beyond this season. Rizzo described the 67-year-old manager as a "true professional."
“We’re going to continue to do business the way we do it,” Rizzo said. “We’re not going to allow it to be a distraction because we have too many things to accomplish this year and everyone is on the same page to accomplish them.”